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By Douglas McLeod, P.Eng., Transportation Planning Manager, City of Surrey
We live in a world constantly on the move. In a city like Surrey, that means 570,000 people all moving in different ways. By 2050, that’ll be about 850,000 ways.
Our best hope for a truly sustainable transportation future is a mobility evolution.
To people in the suburbs, this might sound like a war on cars… but it’s not. We can’t just eliminate cars. Why? Suburban land use planning of 30 years ago favoured auto dependency. That’s not going to change completely over the next 30 years.
Through automation, electrification, and car sharing, we can reshape road transport. However, we must also evolve from our dependency and prioritization of cars in suburbs. But how?
Freedom to move
Public transportation will be the backbone of people movement. In the past, Surrey, like many suburbs, has long associated transit with waiting at bus stops to commute long distances.
But when bus transit became frequent enough to eliminate those waits, people climbed on in eye-popping numbers. In fact, Surrey and its neighbours have seen the highest growth in annual boardings between 2010 and 2018 in the entire region.
Transit. From anywhere to everywhere
Imagine accelerating this growth with an expansive, fast, and frequent transit network with dedicated or transit priority bus lanes. A network that connects and compliments comprehensive rapid transit: including SkyTrain on Fraser Highway and separated or exclusive rapid transit corridors on King George Boulevard, 104 Avenue, Scott Road, 72 Avenue, and more.
We’ll evolve transit to be the foundation of going from anywhere to everywhere – without a schedule.
Safe cycling without breaking a sweat
Couple cycling improvements with transit to help break our old, established habits. In Surrey we’ll evolve beyond spandex warriors training for race day to making cycling an everyday transportation option. For most of us, making the switch requires that we believe that cycling is truly safe.
As we widen roads throughout the City to serve our rapidly growing population, we’re also investing in separated cycle tracks and building complete streets. We’re planning and designing streets to enable safe, convenient, and comfortable travel for road users of all ages and abilities.
We can also help overcome the scale of Surrey’s vast size by leveraging the power of electric-assist bikes. Imagine being able to cover 8km in about 20 minutes – getting to places like Surrey City Centre, Guildford, Fleetwood, Whalley, Newton, New Westminster, and even parts of Coquitlam!
One App to rule them all
Finally, imagine combining all these transportation options into a single app with a rich user experience. A Go Compass coordinating the full range of options – bus, rapid transit, bike share, car share, ride hailing and more – helping us navigate our cities seamlessly and sustainably.
The content presented here is meant to promote discussion and are the personal reflections of the writer. This information does not represent the views or opinions of TransLink.