On October 31, 2012, Vancouver City Council adopts a comprehensive blueprint for transportation planning, setting out long-term strategy and specific policies on vehicular and pedestrian traffic, parking, biking, transit and even boating.
Transportation 2040 is a strategic 30-year vision statement aimed at improving transportation for all by shifting the share of trips within the city from private vehicles to foot, bike and public transit, reducing the city’s dependence on fossil fuels, and aligning development with the city’s Greenest City policies and planning practices. The plan fits in with the regional growth strategy.
The policies are intended to guide land use decisions and public investment according to transportation planning. Among the goals are to shift the majority of trips in Vancouver from vehicles to foot, bike or transit by 2040, to achieve zero traffic-related fatalities, to expand the cycling network and to consider impacts to transit, commercial vehicles and general traffic flow before reallocating road space. The plan includes a requirement to monitor and assess progress toward the goals.
Broad public consultation begins in 2011, focusing on generating ideas on transportation and growth in the context of environmental considerations. A second public review in 2012 leads to city council approval of a detailed plan for 2040. Transportation 2040 lists several new projects, study areas and initiatives to meet the issues expected to confront a rapidly growing city and region over the following 28 years.
Five years later, it is clear that Transportation 2040 has resulted in significant changes in the city.
- Rapid Transit: Vancouver won regional support for an extension of the Millennium Line subway along Broadway in 2016 with the adoption of the Mayors’ Council 10-year vision for transportation in Metro Vancouver. The regional plan reflects the consensus of 23 local governments and is supported by the largest coalition of community, environmental and business stakeholders in BC history.
Preconstruction and community consultation of the Broadway extension of the millennium line begins in 2016. The following year, federal and provincial governments each commit to covering 40 per cent of capital costs. Preconstruction work continues until all funding is secured.
The regional 10-year vision also includes a Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rapid transit line, 10-per-cent increase in bus services across the region, 15-per-cent increase in HandyDART service, and 20-per-cent increase in passengers on the Expo Line, Canada Line, Millennium Line and West Coast Express. Improvements to roads, cycling and walking are part of the plan.
- Land Use: In November 2015, Council unanimously adopts the Renewable City Strategy, which includes directions to use land use and zoning policies to develop compact communities and Complete Streets that encourage active transportation and transit. On May 6, 2017, city council approves a Complete Streets policy that requires a holistic approach to street design for all modes of travel, all uses and all ages.
On Oct 21, 2017, Burrard Bridge re-opens following three years of work that transforms the crossing into the downtown peninsula into a roadway for bikes, cars, transit and pedestrians of all ages and abilities. Reconstruction of the bridge protects heritage features and resurrects historic pedestrian lampposts. Also, suicide-prevention fencing are attached to the bridge.
- Mobility Pricing: In October 2017, an independent commission, appointed by the regional Mayors Council on Regional Transportation and Translink, releases a report on mobility pricing, an innovative approach to reducing congestion that was in line with Vancouver’s Transportation 2040. Translink undertakes an extensive consultation in advance of formal policy recommendations.
- Cycling: Transportation 2040 envisages bike routes that are more convenient, comfortable, safer and fun for people of all ages and abilities. In 2016 and 2017, the city upgrades and adds new bike lanes in the downtown peninsula, West Point Grey and elsewhere. On July 20, 2016, a City-supported bike-sharing service is launched. Once fully implemented, the bike-sharing program called Mobi by Shaw Go will have 1,500 bicycles available at 150 stations for short-term use for a fee.
- Greenways: Development of the Arbutus Greenway is the most high profile greenway undertaken among several since 2012. Part of making Vancouver a greener and more sustainable place to live is making it more comfortable and attractive to walk or bike. The city’s current greenway program stems from the work of the Mayor’s Urban Landscape Task Force of 1991, which issued a report called Greenways – Public Ways. After consultation, Council approved the Vancouver Greenways Plan in July 1995. The city purchased the 42-acre- Arbutus Corridor from the Canadian Pacific Railway in March 2016 and a temporary greenway was completed by the end of the year.
- On May 29, 2013, city council approves a plan to allow taxis to use but not stop in bus lanes.
- City of Vancouver. Transportation 2040 web page. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2018.
- City of Vancouver. Bike lanes in downtown Vancouver.
- City of Vancouver. Allow taxis to use but not stop bus lanes (pdf). May 29, 2013.
- Translink. 10-year transportation vision.
- City of Vancouver. Millennium Line Broadway extension.
- City of Vancouver. Cycling map (pdf). Retrieved from:
- Mobi Bikes. Retrieved Jan. 28, 2018.
- City of Vancouver Greenway map (pdf).
- City of Vancouver. City Council minutes: Complete streets (pdf).
- City of Vancouver. Burrard Bridge re-opens October 21, 2017.