Envisioning a Transportation Transformation
Just in time for Earth Day, CCPA has a new release from the Climate Justice Project, Transportation Transformation: Building Complete Communities and a Zero-Emission Transportation System in BC. The report is perhaps the most visionary of our CJP publications to date (and has lots of great graphics to illustrate that vision), a necessity given that 40% of BC’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the transportation sector.
While the paper focuses on BC, the key issues and strategies are applicable across other parts of North America, where auto-oriented development currently supports living patterns that are a big contributor to climate change. As we release the paper in the midst of a federal election that has made almost no reference at all to climate change, I would urge our federal leaders to contemplate a national transportation strategy as Canada is one of the only countries in the world that does not have one.
We outline a strategic framework to get to zero emissions by 2040, starting with $2 billion per year of major new investments in transit and other infrastructure — the carrot to go along with the stick of a carbon tax. But we acknowledge that the really big long-term reductions must come from changes in land use patterns towards “complete communities” — where people live closer to work, shops, parks and public services — in all parts of the province, from urban centres to small towns. We also outline the major social justice issues in a transformation transformation, such as the need for affordable housing as part of those complete communities, the leveling of the playing field that comes from reducing auto dependence, and how an aging population can help “drive” the change we need.
The report is a co-publication with the Wilderness Committee, who were early supporters of this project (special thanks to Ben West), and is a co-authored by Patrick Condon, Eric Doherty, Kari Dow, Gordon Price and myself. A number of other members of our Climate Justice team also informed the project in early stages and helped develop the vision of our transportation transformation. From my end, it was a real privilege to be able to work with so many of BC’s top transportation experts.
The great thing about the timing of this report is that the Wilderness Committee is making shifting from spending on highway expansion to investing in transit a key part of their Earth Day focus, see http://earthdayparade.ca/
Others in the lower mainland are doing the same, see StopThePave.org
I look forward to reading this. I have been struck recently by the massive consensus in the mainstream economics literature of huge returns to investment in public transit.