A congestion charge and distance tolling could help solve Metro Vancouver’s traffic problems, according to an independent commission tasked with finding solutions.
The new Mobility Commission, which will eventually make final recommendations to TransLink and the Mayors’ Council, published its first report last week.
After analyzing different policies, the report said, the Commission believes the following could “reduce congestion, promote fairness, and support transportation investment”:
- Fuel tax – increasing the amount of tax added per litre of gas sold in Metro Vancouver
- System of congestion point charges – drivers are charged at congestion hotspots, like specific bridges or intersections
- Congestion charge – drivers are charged to enter defined congestion zone, usually downtown city areas
- Distance, time and location-based charges – drivers pay lower or higher fees based on where, when, and how far they drive
The report comes after Phase 1 research and engagement of the It’s Time project, launched by the Commission in October last year.
Allan Seckel, Chair of the Commission, said the report was part of their commitment to being transparent about the potential for decongestion charging.
“We’re very pleased with the response we’ve received so far, with thousands of people taking time to learn about the project and give us their feedback,” said Seckel.
The report outlines what the public told the Commission about congestion in the city, in a survey of more than 6,000 people. Unsurprisingly, not many people were happy.
Some 89% of those polled said they were frustrated by traffic delays and 81% said these delays caused them lost time every week. Meanwhile, 80% of respondents were frustrated with the unpredictability of travel times.
The report also lists a number of traffic hotspots with the worst congestion problems in Metro Vancouver:
- Bridges and tunnels crossing the Fraser River
- Bridges between Richmond, Vancouver International Airport, and Vancouver
- Major arterials in Vancouver and western parts of Burnaby
- Urban centres – for example New Westminster, Metrotown, Surrey City Centre and
Richmond City Centre
- Various points across the North Shore
- The northeast part of the region – for example Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody
- Regional highways – for example Highway 1 and Highway 91
- Metropolitan core of downtown Vancouver
The Commission will publish their second report in February, with their final report and recommendations due in Spring.