2021 Budget Recommendation: Invest at least $100million/year on cycling projects.

April 14, 2021

Only 46% of the bikeway network in the region is comfortable for most people. HUB Cycling recommends that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's (MoTI) investment in cycling projects be increased significantly to at least $100 million per year.

Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2007 levels by 2030.

The provincial government, via the CleanBC plan, committed to putting our Province on the path to a cleaner, better future with a low-carbon economy that creates opportunities for all. B.C. committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 2007 levels by 2030. To meet this target, the transport sector’s decarbonization should be our most urgent focus. The current transportation system is a heavy fossil fuel user, and the carbon-intensive infrastructure, including roadways and vehicles themselves, makes our communities more car-dependent. Research shows that people who cycled daily had 84% lower carbon emissions from all their daily travel than those who did not. Further, an average person who shifted from car to bicycle for just one day a week can cut their carbon footprint by 3.2kg of CO₂ – equivalent to the emissions from driving a car for 10km1.

Promoting active transportation should be a cornerstone of strategies to meet net-zero carbon targets, while also improving public health and quality of life. To reduce transport emissions quickly, which account for 39% of carbon pollution in Vancouver2 alone, we must encourage more people to adopt active transportation modes like cycling and walking instead of driving.

To accomplish this goal, HUB Cycling recommends that the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s (MoTI) investment in cycling projects and programming be increased significantly, to at least $100 million per year.

Invest in a sustainable, resilient, equitable future.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have adopted a behavioural change to walk, use bicycles, and other modes of active transportation more for their daily commute3. MoTI must introduce a dramatic increase in funding complete cycling networks that are comfortable for most people, to help create a long-term shift to a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future.

Build safe, comfortable, and connected facilities for people to use all forms of active transportation.

Research shows that increases in cycling rates, and declines in crashes, are directly tied to safe and comfortable bicycle infrastructure. The recently released HUB Cycling and TransLink’s State of Cycling report shows that only 46% of the bikeway network in the region is comfortable for most people. Thus slightly more than half of the bike network is not comfortable for most people. The areas that showed the most significant growth in ridership levels were the ones that built infrastructure that was comfortable for most people. More needs to be invested in Metro Vancouver and across the Province to ensure safe, comfortable, and connected facilities for people to walk, cycle and use other forms of active transportation.

In addition to more funding via the Active Transportation Infrastructure Grants Program, this increase will ensure that the Province meets its mode share and sustainability goals.

Only 46% of the bikeway network in the region is comfortable for most people. HUB Cycling recommends that MoTI’s investment in cycling projects be increased significantly to at least $100 million per year.

Empower racialized communities by funding targeted active transportation projects.

Transportation is the linchpin that allows us to function in our daily lives. The lack of active transportation options in racialized communities has become increasingly apparent. Lack of access to safe active transportation infrastructure has contributed to rising obesity and diabetes rates and contributes to a mounting toll of injuries and fatalities to people walking and cycling without other options than traveling on unsafe streets. Research shows that people with low-income walk and bicycle more than people in the upper-income brackets, but there are limited active transportation options for low-income individuals and families. Lack of transportation options often leads to restricted employment possibilities and low school attendance4.

Providing safe and convenient walking and cycling infrastructure in racialized and marginalized communities can help overcome these challenges. The Province must ensure that funding for active transportation projects is targeted for these communities and not encourage the philosophy that communities that already bike the most deserve priority for additional resources. This philosophy perpetuates a vicious cycle where cycling proliferates in some neighborhoods while underserved communities continue to stay underfunded.

Invest in promoting shifts towards active modes.

Encouraging people to adopt active transportation works best when implemented in comprehensive packages; including infrastructure improvements along with education and promotion programs to achieve substantial shifts towards active modes. The Provincial Government should include a mandatory minimum amount of project funding (1-5%) to promote new infrastructure, similar to the BICCS cost-share funding criteria at TransLink. The BC Government should also provide funding for cycling programming including Safe Routes to School, AT education, and public awareness campaigns.

Triple benefits of investment in cycling.

Any investment you make in cycling has a triple benefit of creating good jobs for British Columbians, social and health benefits, and reducing GHG emissions. With this in mind, funding for AT should increase so that total government spending (all levels) on AT is at least $21/person/year to complete cycling networks and an additional at least $2/person/year on cycling promotion enabling and education. The BC Government currently spends about $1.50 per person, per year on active transportation. By comparison, the Netherlands spends $48 per person per year on active transportation programs; Denmark $34, and New Zealand $24.

Provincial funding for MoTI’s active infrastructure projects is far below demand and is missing out on the enormous benefits of potentially more people using active transportation. As HUB Cycling has identified, Metro Vancouver’s cycling network is full of gaps—or areas lacking cycling infrastructure—and safe, connected infrastructure is needed now, more than ever before, to #UnGapTheMap. 

HUB Cycling encourages the Province to increase cycling investment to ensure environmentally and economically healthier communities, assisting the Province in reaching its goals for active transportation, the climate plan, poverty reduction, and providing innovative, equitable, and sustainable public health. 

 

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1 University of Oxford: The climate change mitigation effects of daily active travel in cities
2 City of Vancouver: Climate Emergency Action Plan
3 IEA: Changes in transport behaviour during the Covid-19 crisis
4 www.saferoutespartnership.org