Improve the Commute and Transportation in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Investment in transportation and the transit system is the key to managing traffic growth. An efficient system offers commuters more choice and helps minimize pollution.
Factors That Play a Role and Shape the Transit System
Several factors play a role when designing an efficient system, among which inter-regional and regional travel markets, travel demands, land use patterns, and demographics. For example, 4/5 of the population today lives in three municipalities, and this percentage is expected to increase. This means that more people will use the local transit system to commute. Travel demands are also an important factor. Today, there are more than 800,000 trips in the Fraser Valley Regional District on a daily basis. Driving accounts for about 90 percent of all trips, however. Clearly, there is a need for a quick and efficient transit system to connect municipalities and minimize traffic and congestion. To this, some travel markets and communities are under served. The transit system only serves Chilliwack-Agassiz/Harrison and Mission-Abbotsford while up to 10 percent of all trips are between local communities within the Fraser Valley. Moreover, the percentage of vehicle owners here is higher compared to other areas, and this has to change. The good news is that the amount of investment in public transit has increased over the last years, and projects are funded jointly by local municipalities and BC Transit. Funds mainly come from property tax and fares or are offered by the provincial government.
Priorities and Prospects
One of the key priorities is to build a transit system that connects Metro Vancouver and the Frazer Valley. The TransLink, Central Frazer Valley, Chilliwack, and Agassiz-Harrison systems will soon be connected by the Frazer Valley Express or FVX. It is a partnership between the City of Chilliwack, City of Abbotsford , BC Transit, and Fraser Valley Regional District. The goal is to offer efficient service between Langley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack. Students, local communities, and commuters will benefit from a direct express service. In fact, FVX is a limited-stop service that covers six stops - Downtown Chilliwack, Vedder at Luckakuck, Lickman Park & Ride, McCallum Park & Ride, Highstreet Shopping Centre, and Carvolth Exchange. The express is scheduled to make 17 round trips on workdays.
When it comes to priorities, the main goals are environmentally-friendly transportation, mobility, and efficient and sustainable use of resources. Services fall in several categories, including:
- - West Coast express services
- - Custom transit
- - Suburban and rural transit
- - Neighborhood transit
- - Conventual transit
- - Frequent and bus rapid transit
Handy DART (custom transit) services are designed for commuters with severe disabilities who will be otherwise unable to access standard services. There are also public and private taxi or subscription services that are designed for low-demand communities and areas. Express transit offers intra-regional and regional services. Comfortable coach-style vehicles are used. Neighborhood transit also connects and serves low-demand and low density communities through demand-responsive, flex route, and shuttle services. The goal is to connect communities as efficiently as possible and to provide viable transportation alternatives in the Fraser Valley Regional District. For this to happen, however, new infrastructure is required, including park-and-ride facilities, bus depots, stations and stops for passenger safety and convenience, transit signal coordination, queue jumpers, bus lanes, and so on. More funding is required to invest in infrastructure improvements, and there is a need for more frequent and rapid transit corridors. The rail system should be expanded as well to serve all Fraser Valley residents.