o                               Part 1 – Overview

Vision for Cycling

Mission for Cycling

Strategies for Cycling

Funding and Economic Incentives Overview

o                               Part 2 – Proposal for a Long Range Cycling Plan


Winds of Change

Cycling Vision

Cycling Friendly City

Cycling Mission



Cycling Communication and Promotion

Safety, Education, and Enforcement

Cycling Friendly Infrastructure

o                               Part 3 – Funding

Funding Requirement For Cycling Infrastructure Program

What is a Reasonable Level of Funding?

Source of Funding – Municipal Tax Sources

Sources of Funding – Deferment of Private Vehicle Road Investment

Source of Funding – Revenue Sources – Greenhouse Gas Credits

Source of Funding – Revenue Sources – Rapid and Public Transit Revenue Growth

Source of Funding – Reduction of Health Cost Credit

Source of Funding – Business

Business and Public Institutions Incentives for Increased Use of Bicycles for Work

o                               References


Part 1 - Overview

The GVRD directs its efforts to making the Greater Vancouver Area the best place to live in the world. Achieving this sustainable living city plateau will necessitate inclusion of a comprehensive cycling infrastructure and program in TransLink’s next Long Range Transportation Plan. As a step towards to this goal, the GVRD has set cycling as its number two transportation priority, after walking. 

Within the GVRD, people’s attitudes to transportation and their preferred mode of travel for any trip needs to change.  Current emphasis on motorized vehicle trips and low residential land densities is not sustainable within a region that demands a pristine environment and that cherishes its mountains, farmlands, and seas.  High use of personal vehicles will need to give way to a greater use of “renewable energy” or long-term “sustainable” modes of travel.  Low residential land densities will need to be replaced with a more appropriate sustainable mix of high, medium, and low land densities, with most emphasis on higher densities, and with limited land set aside for low or single-home densities. Without this, a viable network of public transit, including rapid transit, will not become a mode of travel of choice, one that will replace the use of personal vehicles, including cars and SUV, on most trips. With this scenario, cycling can play an important, supportive role in connecting commuters from their homes to rapid and express transit.


Vision for Cycling

The Greater Vancouver region, a Cycling Friendly region stretching from the North Shore to South Surrey and from South Delta to Maple Ridge, is a place where people can safely and conveniently choose an efficient, accessible, healthy, environmentally friendly, and enjoyable mode of transportation and also where cycling is the preferred mode choice for at least part of any trip. 

Cycling is a mode of transportation, which contributes to Greater Vancouver being an internationally recognized World Class sustainable region with a balanced mix of economy, social, and environmental considerations. 

Alternate vision:

A livable and environmentally friendly Greater Vancouver that is accessible and safe for people of all ages and abilities to get around by bicycle and that ensures the role of cycling in a transportation system appropriately balanced among all road users.


Mission for Cycling 

A comprehensive cycling network infrastructure and programs put in place within the GVRD supportive of commuting, shopping and utilitarian, recreational and exercise, touring, and work related trips for people of all ages, skill levels, aversions to taking risk, confidence, and motivation for cycling. 

Increase cycling’s proportion of the transportation modal split to a minimum of 10% across the Region by 2021. 


Strategies for Cycling 

Strategic Areas



·      Completion of an extensive, comprehensive cycling infrastructure within 10 years.

o        Majority of infrastructure completed within 3 to 5 years.

·      A comprehensive cycling network across Greater Vancouver, where cycling facilities are not farther apart than 1 km in residential neighbourhood or suburbs and not more than 0.5 km apart within built-up urban areas (downtown, shopping streets, commercial areas, high rise residential).

·      2021 goals include:

o        Continuous growth of cycling within the Region with at least 10% of all trips made at least partly by bicycle.

o        Recognition as best region for cycling in North America, at least, and in the world, if possible.

o        Zero cycling fatalities within Greater Vancouver.


·      Establishment of teams of staff within the GVRD, TransLink, and the municipalities dedicated to the promotion and betterment of cycling within the Greater Vancouver area. Staff should have the responsibility for creating cycling programs and overseeing initiatives from concept, internal advocacy, design, and implementation to reality for any Cycling Friendly facilities. Such a program should cover a cycling vision and its targets, master cycling plan, planning, infrastructure, communication, safety, education, enforcement, and reviewing any proposed changes to the municipalities’ transportation infrastructure that affects cycling. (Refer to Toronto or Portland)

Long Range Plan

·      Long Range Transportation Plans includes a master cycling plan.

Master Cycling Plan

·      Revised Master Cycling Plan developed for 2004, with a 5-year review and update cycle.

·      Comprehensive Master Cycling Plan with defined Vision of Cycling in the Region, mission, strategies, explicit goals, and implementation plans—financial, programs, and physical infrastructure plans, including an audit of current facilities for effectiveness, capacity, and network connections.

Market Segmentation

·      Support for continuous growth of cycling within Greater Vancouver with an updated, comprehensive understanding of cyclists’ needs, preferences, and traveling patterns.

·      Comprehensive cycling traffic counts on biyearly basis.



·      Cycling to receive a fair share of transportation budgets within the GVRD and its municipalities, based on modal split as determined from the above comprehensive cycling traffic counts.

·      Kyoto Commitment – Carbon trading funding


·      Public investment in on-road and off-road cycling infrastructure proportional to cycling’s potential. (e.g. 2001 Census – GVRD cycling trips were 1.9% of all trips, thus cycling budget should be 1.9% of transportation budgets)

·      Minimum $100m cycling funding established within the GVRD and included in the Long Range Transportation Plan.

o        Minimum annual funding of $10m for the GVRD and its municipalities.

o        Large initiatives involving cycling separately funded. (ex. Burrard Bridge, new Fraser Crossing Bridge, RAV transit line project)


·      Developed and publicized strategies for improvements of road facilities, such as intersection design.

Standards, Procedures, and Guidelines

·      Standardize cycling guidelines for TransLink financially supported projects.

o        Bicycle sign standards.

o        Updated Bike Route guidelines


·    Completion of a cycling network that meets the target for coverage (spacing of 1 km in residential neighbourhood areas and 0.5 km within built up urban areas) and ongoing, high quality maintenance of cycling facilities in place.

 ·      Aggressive completion of planned Bike Lanes, Bike Routes, Bike Paths, Greenways and other cycling initiative

·      Aggressive Bike Lane programs in urban developed areas.

·      Aggressive Bike Routes program with effective traffic calming measures that slows down motorized traffic speed and limits motorized traffic through residential areas to local traffic only.

·      Aggressive Bike Path program providing an off-road network throughout the GVRD for recreational and commuting cyclists.

·      Aggressive Greenway programs with cycling facilities.

·      Network of Bike Paths on abandoned rail lines (Arbutus Corridor) and operational rail lines with sufficient right of way widths and on segregated utility corridors.

·      Cycling Friendly access to the city and the GVRD for promotion of Vancouver as a touring cycling destination.

·      Upgrade program for existing Bike Lanes, Bike Routes, and Bike Paths.

o        Spot Improvements programs.

·      Comprehensive cycling infrastructure for all existing and new rapid transit lines that support intermodal commuting – cycling and rapid transit:

o        Bicycles allowed on all rapid transit cars.

o        Cycling feeder network from home or work to rapid transit stations.

o        A continuous, collector bike path adjacent to the rapid transit lines.

o        Bike Lanes on all new rapid transit river crossings: – bridges or tunnels.

o        Bike Lanes on all new rapid transit road crossings: – under- or over-passes.

o        Bike storage facilities included in any rapid transit project.

o        Surplus capacity (road lanes) created as private vehicle commuters switch to rapid transit re-designated to Bike Lanes

·      New roads, bridges, and tunnels for any mode of transportation shall include cycling facilities.

·      Existing bridges and approaches upgraded to accommodate cycling.

·      Bike racks on all buses.

·      End-of-trip bike storage facilities, bike lockers, bike stands, bike racks, and post and ring programs at transit locations, retail business, and other cycling destinations.

·      Correctly placed cyclist activated push buttons or preferably marked hot spots at all signalized crossings that have pedestrian push buttons, as a minimum.

·      Upgrade cycling facilities and signs to level required for safe night and inclement weather cycling.

·      Annual maintenance and pavement cleaning program for all cycling facilities.


·      Communication strategy to promote the GVRD’s cycling programs and make information readily accessible to residents of the GVRD, including:

o        Communication media such as a cycling web site with frequent updates on cycling and the community and providing a forum for cyclists’ inputs, concerns, suggestions.

o        Special events, including rides.

o        GVRD cycling map, hard copy and web-accessed, updated bi-annually, at least.


·      Strategy for promoting and enhancing cycling within the GVRD and increasing cycling usage.

o        Active promotion of cycling-related intermodal commuting.

o        Cycling and shopping and enhancing the local retail economy.

o        Increasing use of bicycles within the businesses and public organizations.

o        Partnerships with businesses to increase use of cycling and to stimulate the economy (cycling touring, etc.).

o        “Share the Road” advertising to educate cyclists and drivers.


·      Policies and programs to improve the safety of cyclists.

·      Monitor and pro-active input on legislation affecting cycling, both at municipal (bylaw) and higher (provincial and federal) levels.


·      Recognition of cyclist education and training in the school curriculum.

·      Can Bike courses coordination and promotion.

·      Education related to the use of on-road and off-road cycling facilities.

·      Education of others on cycling matters including motor vehicle drivers.


·      Strategies for enhancing the interface between cyclists, pedestrians, joggers, dog-walkers on joint-use paths and cycling-only facilities through use of an ambassador or similar program and supported by an enforcement program.

·      Strategies for enhancing the interface between cyclists and motorists through better enforcement and improved understanding of cycling-related laws by enforcement officials.

Cycling and the Local Business Economy

·      Strategies for reducing commercial traffic delay costs through reducing peak-hours road usage with a private vehicle to cycling mode switch program.

·      Strategies for enhancing and optimizing the contribution to local retail trade activity level from cyclists.

·      Strategies for enhancing the private sector’s profitability and lowering cost of service for the public sector through use of cycling, not cars, for business related trips.


Funding and Economic Incentives Overview

A complete and comprehensive cycling infrastructure for the Greater Vancouver area that will have sufficient incentives for the next wave of commuters to leave their cars at home and to cycle instead may cost in the $100 million range. A significant amount of money, but not when looked at in relation to the amount that each resident needs to contribute, about $60 or about $72 per bicycle in the GVRD. Not a significant amount if the cycling infrastructure draws 10,000 people to cycle rather than taking their cars on a trip. A conversion of 10,000 commuter trips from private motor vehicle to cycling, or cycling-transit, would reduce the need for 5 traffic lanes in each direction on several arterials.

There are many channels for funding such a cycling infrastructure. Also, there are many benefits to be realized.

Funding Sources

·         Municipal tax sources equivalent to $6.00 per person for the next 10 years.

·         Deferment of private vehicle induced road investment. 10,000 additional cycling commuters would reduce the need for 5 traffic lanes in each direction and its associated construction, operating, and maintenance costs.

·         Potential greenhouse gas credit trading. An additional 10,000 cyclists could generate credits worth $3 to $11 million per year.

·         Rapid transit revenue growth with 10,000 private vehicle drivers converting to cycling / rapid transit intermodal commutes could generate an additional $10 million per year in revenue.

·         Sharing of the reduced cost to business from traffic congestion delays with potential contributions of $2 million per year plus.

·         Local retail economy health through commuting and touring cyclists’ patronage reflected through sustained retail employment, business, personal, P.S.T, and G.S.T taxation.

Funding Benefits 

·         Reduced demands on the provincial health program with less greenhouse gases produced.

·         Private and public sector opportunity for increased profitability and lower cost of delivering services and goods through greater use of work related cycling.


Part 2 - Proposal for a Long Range Cycling Plan 



The next two decades present some significant challenges for the livability of our region. 

The quality of air is at the threshold level of sustainability. Any more degradation will affect the quality of health of the residents in the region as well as the local economy. Vancouver is dependent on sub-economies that thrive on the image of a clean city: tourism, film, etc. 

There is still demand for urban sprawl by people who set aside that loss of personal time, longer commutes by motorized vehicles, and dirtier air are direct consequences of their actions. 

People’s attitudes, which affect their personal decision-making and lives, are not changing. The Canadian and British Columbian commitment to Kyoto and the resulting needed effects on our personal behaviour and decision-making has not seeped into our daily actions. 

Greater Vancouver wants to be a livable Region. Vancouver wants to be the choice of places to live within North America and the World. As part of the process to get there, local transportation priorities have been stated to be walking, cycling, and public transit, while maintaining an effective road network for commercial vehicles. The planning of roads for private vehicles has been de-emphasized as a priority for the last decade. While the priorities have been stated, the Long Range Plan and ongoing decision-making by politicians and planners have not been totally reflective of a livable city. 

Reallocation of budgets and planning away from private vehicle needs have not taken root. New bridges and roads are still being planned for capacities above that needed for public transit and commercial vehicles, and without restrictions aimed at reducing private vehicle use. Planning for these projects still include future volumes for private vehicles. Urban sprawl is still encouraged by these new facilities. Provision for cycling and walking is still being treated lightly or neglected, even though these are the top two priorities for transportation. 

The Long Range Transportation Plan should be reflective of a livable city that truly is one of the best in the world. The Plan should mirror models of European cities of 3 million-population size with lower urban sprawl and higher focus on public, rapid and semi-rapid transit. Fast efficient rapid transit focus should not only serve the downtown area but also commutes between suburban municipalities. The TransLink Transportation Long Range Plan should be a model and a showcase for the 2006 Sustainable Cites conference. 


Winds of Change 

TransLink should revisit its direction for the long range plan considering:

·         Commitment to the Kyoto protocol: The Long Range Plan should be supportive of reaching the pollution reduction target.

·         Environmental Mitigation Plans should be developed for every new road, bridge, tunnel, whether expansion or addition to the network, with a strategy that additional vehicle traffic generated from any new road facility will not degrade the air quality of the road, the neighbouring lands, or the region generally but will contribute to the Kyoto Protocol pollution reduction target. 

When new rapid transit facilities are being planned, a new bus feeder system is designed as part of the project. Now, buses are priority three in the order of transportation modes. However, no consideration is given, as part of the project, to designing a feeder system for walking or for cycling, the number one and two stated transportation priorities (Reference 15). That needs to change. 

With a changing region, considerations for the Transportation Long Range Plan should also change and should include:

·         A transportation plan with a focus on managing commercial vehicle priority on roads, starting with existing access-controlled highways and roads.

o        Priority lanes for commercial and public transit.

o        Transponder-based priority controls supported by photo ticketing.

·         New road construction designed for non-private car volumes and providing priority to rapid and public transit movement.

·         Continued focus on shifting the public attitude away from commuting trips with private vehicles

·         Continued focus on serving a higher density city, not a low-density sprawled out city.


Cycling Vision 

A cycling vision needs to be conducive to encouraging people to leave their cars at home for most trips and to choose instead the use of their bicycles for all or part of the trip. The vision of a  Cycling Friendly city, needs to address, in part, people’s hesitation to cycle for reasons of risk-aversion.


Cycling Friendly City 

What does it take to encourage people to cycle?

·         Safe and inviting cycling roads, signage, and end-of-trip facilities.

·         Mix of on-road bike lanes and bike routes, as well as segregated off-road bike paths, leading directly and conveniently to desired destinations.

·         Convenient and safe bike parking facilities at public and rapid transit stops, shopping, working, parks, and attraction destinations.

·         Infrastructure that makes cycling visible to motorists, thus advertising its presence and utility.

·         Motorist awareness and courtesy towards cyclists on the road.

·         Public education and promotion of cycling as a transportation option for all.

·         Enforcement of bylaws and rules of the road as they affect safe and efficient cycling. 


Cycling Mission 

As cycling is the number two priority for transportation modes, a visionary, aggressive program should be promoted across the GVRD through the Long Range Plan, with adequate funding and organizational support moving towards a leading edge, world - class cycling infrastructure with complementary facilities, techniques, and support programs, including education and enforcement. A desirable target would be to achieve this state within 5 years, but not more than 10 years.  

The cycling infrastructure should be designed to fit the needs of cyclists with various personal cycling preferences and for all types of trips, including commuting, shopping, other types of utilitarian trips, leisure local recreational cycling, exercise cycling, touring cycling within the region or from afar, as well as work-related private and public sectors commercial cycling. 

Such a mission will need a cycling network where a cyclist is always close to designated and improved cycling facilities. Ideal separation between cycling facilities should be not more than 1 km between cycling facilities in residential neighbourhood or suburbs and not more than 0.5 km within built-up urban areas (downtown, shopping streets, commercial areas, high rise residential). With this cycling facility grid, a cyclist would never be more than 2 minutes from a cycling facility in the suburbs and 1 minute in an urban area.  

There is a large, latent demand for the use of cycling as a preferred transportation mode, as indicated by many surveys, but conditions must be right for commuters to make the switch from their private vehicles. While some of the conditions are harder to overcome, such as hills and weather, a comprehensive cycling infrastructure will satisfy many of the conditions. However, research has also shown that limited or compromised cycling infrastructure will only attract the more dedicated (to health, hobby, the environment or the community) to use cycling as a means of commuting on a regular basis.  

The use of cycling as a transportation means has grown slowly over the past 20 years. The 2001 Statistics Canada census shows that Vancouver cycling has grown from 1.7% to 1.9% over the last 20 years. The census and other surveys show that pocket areas in the GVRD are showing cycling as the chosen form of transportation as high as 10% of the trips. Setting 10% as a target for cycling overall as part of the mission is realistic and desirable from economic, health, and environmental perspectives.  



A Master Cycling Plan for the GVRD and its municipalities needs to be created and updates on a 5-year cycle. Such a master plan must be built on a detailed and current understanding of cyclists’ needs when undertaking various types of cycling trips. The development of the Plan must also have a good and current understanding of what barriers prevent non-cyclists from choosing this mode of transportation, as well as, what causes cyclists to stop using this mode of transportation. Considerations may include geographic, physical and psychological factors. Also, the Cycling Plan development needs to be supported by current, extensive cycling traffic counts, traffic forecasts, and origin / destination statistics for all types of trips, not just for commuting to work or school.  

A Cycling Plan needs to aim for growth. There is a momentum within the GVRD for growth of cycling that the Transportation Long Range Plan and a Master Cycling Plan needs to build on and make real. The Plan should be promoting cycling for commuting, shopping and utilitarian, recreational and exercise, tourist, and work related trips, with possible focus on commercial and public institutions’ use of cycling as a replacement for cars and truck trips. A Cycling Plan should not be oriented simply to bring commuters to downtown, but should focus on movement of bicycles between all GVRD destinations.  

A Master Cycling Plan should be directed to providing a Cycling Friendly environment with trip and end-of-trip supportive facilities that will induce people to use cycling as a preferred mode of transportation.  



The Transportation Long Range Plan should promote and fund the establishment of cycling-focused, dedicated staff teams within GVRD, TransLink, and the municipalities with a mandate to promote and to improve cycling within the Greater Vancouver region. This team should have the responsibility for overseeing cycling initiatives from concept, through internal advocacy, planning, design, construction, implementation, to commissioning for any Cycling Friendly facilities, including post audit for verifying that project targets have been achieved and initiating upgrades for shortfalls. The team scope should cover cycling vision and its targets, master cycling plan, planning, infrastructure, communication, promotion, safety, education, enforcement, and also reviewing any proposed changes to the city’s transportation infrastructure that affects cycling.  


Cycling Communication and Promotion  

Growth of cycling as a means of transportation and as an alternative for car trips will require the encouraging people to change their traveling habits. Afterwards, supportive programs will be needed to maintain the focus on cycling as a preferred transportation mode for trips.  

The use of bicycles in the business world, both the private and the public sector, is slowly emerging. Promotion of cycling will provide large benefits in reducing road congestion and increasing air quality. The courier industry has been a leader in this field for years. Some dabbling into the use of the bicycle has been underway in other businesses from home delivery of groceries to cycling to business meetings instead of using taxis. In the public sector, some penetration has been achieved in the parking enforcement, police, and emergency services sectors. With business emphasis on operating efficiency and on the lowest cost of goods and services provider and with pressure on public institutions, including municipalities, to lower their budgets, the effective use of cycling as part of business and public institutions operating models is a real opportunity for promotion.  


Safety, Education, and Enforcement  

Co-operation and respect between cyclists, motorists, walkers, joggers, and all other users of these facilities will make the roads and bike paths much more Cycling Friendly and encourage people to user their bicycles more often, as a mode of transportation.  

No improvement on the road will work without some program for enforcement. Subtle cooperation sought through an effective “Ambassador” program may need to be followed with legal enforcement of laws and bylaws.  


Cycling Friendly Infrastructure  

People need to feel comfortable, not harassed, and safe on roads, bike routes, bike lanes, and bike paths in order for them to take a bicycle instead of a car for any trip. In the GVRD there is a starting level of cycling infrastructure that has managed to draw about 1.9% of all commuting trips to cycling. To move the use of cycling as a means of transportation to the next level, the cycling infrastructure must also grow in extent of road coverage, in the quality, in the convenience, and in the public awareness.  


Intermodal Public Transit Program

(Reference 15 – the VACC submission to the RAV project, March 2003)  

Intermodal trips by bicycle and rapid and express transit provides an opportunity to reduce the reliance on the use of private cars. Rapid transit needs cycling to be competitive on a trip time basis with car commuting in the 1 km to 5 km catchment area from rapid transit stations. Increased ridership and fare revenue as well as a less costly road infrastructure will be the price.  

In order to realize this potential, significant effort will be required for promotion of the concept with emphasis on raising the visibility of cycling as an integral and natural part of rapid transit intermodal travel, providing an alternative to private vehicle commuting, as well as providing a supportive infrastructure that will draw people to using their bicycles for part of the journey.  

The infrastructure improvements needed includes access to the rapid transit cars, as well as secure, locked and possibly attended bicycle parking facilities at stations, continuous collector bike paths along the transit lines, providing easy access to the stations from the neighbourhood, a bike feeder system within the neighbourhood channeling bikes into the collector bike path adjacent to the transit line and bike lanes on all transit bridges, tunnels, over-passes and under-passes.

The bike feeder systems would be made up of a mix of bike lanes, bike paths, and bike routes leading from residential neighbourhood to SeaBus, SkyTrain, West Coast Express stations and express bus loops and significant transfer points. Similarly, bike locker and secured bike parking (possibly attended and including minor technical services for cyclists) should be available at SeaBus, SkyTrain, West Coast Express, bus loops, and major bus stops transfer points to downtown express buses. Such a program should include bike lockers at the Downtown locations as well, so that a commuter may complete a trip by bicycle to work (i.e. bike-transit-bike).  Bike rack storage and daily bike locker rental should have sufficient and excess capacity for peak demand periods.    



Geographic features such as rivers, and human- made barriers such as freeways, are difficult for cyclists to surmount. New bridges and tunnels need to be built with adequate cycling facilities sufficient for cycling trip growth during the life of the structure, not just the first 20 years.  New bridges should also have cycling access that will facilitate one-way cycling on each side of the bridge.  Many bridges in the region currently need upgrades to provide safe and easy cycling access and passage for existing and future bike traffic volumes.  



A comprehensive cycling facilities program of bike lanes, bike paths, and bike routes should be included in the Transportation Long Range Plan, providing a road network with cycling facilities not more than two minutes from a home or one minute from a destination within developed urban areas.  

Any new road construction should automatically include bike lanes as part of the scope of the project. Construction costs are much lower then and better design is more easily achieved from the outset.  Cycling Friendly design can be achieved. Designs for Bike Routes need to be improved for a more friendly cycling experience.


Off-Road Cycling Facilities  

A comprehensive network of off-road cycling facilities (i.e. segregated bike pathways) for commuting as well as for recreation and other cycling trips should be part of the Plan, providing easy access to the country as well as to different communities within the GVRD. Extensive off-road cycling facilities draw tourists to a region, enhancing the local retail economy. Recreational cyclists spend much more while vacationing than motorists, and much of the expenditure happens in small, local businesses.  

 The Plan should optimize the opportunities for using rights-of-way for bike paths, such as rail and hydroelectric corridors.  As an example, the Arbutus Corridor would provide an ideal route for a bike path at easy grades, connecting the airport in the south to Burrard Bridge in the north.  The unused BC Southern Rail line, which has a better alignment than the current BC Parkway, could provide an excellent, continuous low-grade route between Vancouver and New Westminster.  

Hills have been identified as a barrier to the use of cycling as a transportation option by some cyclists and non-cyclists (Reference 8, 1, 6). Within the Greater Vancouver region there are few opportunities for extensive routes without hills or with just low gradient hills that are not a challenge to the average cyclist.  Rail rights-of-way, such as the Arbutus corridor with alignments that generally have grades of no more than 3%, are one of the rare chances to provide a good commuting route that would appeal to average cyclists and potential cyclists.  

A network of off-road bike paths or trails running through the Greater Vancouver region connecting to Horseshoe Bay and beyond, to the Lower Mainland, and to the U.S. border and also linking to the airport, and the ferry docks should be part of any Long Range Transportation Plan.


Trip Infrastructure  

As cycling and commuting by cycling is feasible year round in the GVRD, the Long Range Transportation Plan should also address the additional needs for safe cycling at night and in our frequently inclement weather.  

A comprehensive bike signage program should be included in the Plan for cycling designated streets with signage visible in all lighting and weather conditions addressing destination, direction, information, warning, and traffic control needs.  

Bike lane markings should be highly visible thus serving the dual purpose of guiding cyclists and ensuring that motorists are aware of the presence of cyclists on the road. Consideration should be given to highly visible, coloured road surfaces for bike lanes, within the intersections as well as between intersecting roads, as are found in Portland, Oregon and many other cities around the world. 


Part 3 - Funding  


Funding Requirement For Cycling Infrastructure Program  

The Long Range Transportation Plan for the GVRD and for the municipalities should make provision for:  

·         Minimum $100 million dollars should be included in the Long Range Transportation Plan for Cycling Infrastructure. Special large projects, such as new bridges or tunnels, may need to be funded in addition to this base.

·         Minimum $10 million annual funding level maintained for the next 10 years within the GVRD.

·         Annual support funding for cycling focused municipal staff in the range of $1 million per year.

·         Annual cycling communication, promotion, safety, and education programs in the range of $1 million per year.

·         Annual enforcement funding to maintain use of cycling facilities for cyclists.  


What is a Reasonable Level of Funding?

The VACC’s position on funding for a comprehensive cycling infrastructure and programs is that the funding should be commensurate with the potential of cycling as a mode of transportation. Given the current usage of cycling as a percentage of total trips, funding at a minimum level of $12 million per year is reasonable. Given the growth of the last 20 years in cycling and projecting that forward, a minimum level of funding of $14 million is also reasonable. (Reference 3)


Source of Funding – Municipal Tax Source

Proposed funding level for a comprehensive cycling infrastructure and programs from all sources, including municipal property taxes, is equivalent to approximately $6.00 per year per person living within the GVRD, for the next 10-year period. As a point of reference, the cost of the infrastructure on a per-bicycle level within the GVRD would be $72 in total or $7 per year for 10 years.


  Source of Funding – Deferment of Private Vehicle Road Investment

Converting private vehicle drivers to cycling for commuting reduces the future demand for road lanes as well as on street, off-street, and rapid transit stations parking facilities. 10,000 cyclists commuting to work, either directly or intermodal with rapid or other forms of public transit would reduce the need for about 5 traffic lanes in each direction (Reference 13).

Cycling facilities can be provided at a fraction of the cost of building motor vehicle traffic lanes or parking spots for a motor vehicle, and are much less costly to operate on an annual basis. Road investment, financing, minor and major rehabilitation, and annual operating costs for motor vehicles can be replaced by a minor investment into a cycling infrastructure.

A new, unlighted two-way bike path can be built for $225,000 per km or less. Bike Lanes on roadways can be installed for about $20,000 per km. Very minimal Bike Routes without traffic calming or cyclists activated traffic signals can be installed on roads for $2,000 per km. (Reference 2)

As a comparison, construction of a traffic lane could cost in the $1 million per km range, excluding land cost, and provides capacity for about 800 cars per hour in peak conditions.


Source of Funding – Revenue Sources – Greenhouse Gas Credits  

With the implementation of the Kyoto Accord within Canada, there should be an opportunity for the trading of carbon or Greenhouse gas (GHG) credits realized by people moving from private vehicle to cycling or cycling intermodal commuting. The resulting reduction in GHG emissions and the trading of the credits would provide funding for the cycling infrastructure.  

The Greater Vancouver region is at the threshold of serious pollution problems. The smog against the outline of the mountains is a good indicator. Private motor vehicles are the source of about 12% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Fewer cars commuting mean less pollution created and a more pristine environment in the Greater Vancouver area.  

Canada’s target reduction is 240 mega tonnes per year, this averages out to about 8 tonnes per person. Cycling will lead to quicker achievement of Vancouver’s portion of the target reduction. 2 m.t. to 7 m.t. of saleable greenhouse gas credit should be available for every person that converts from car to cycling or cycling and rapid transit commuting. Now, if a quality cycling facilities induce 10,000 commuters to leave their cars at home and cycle to work or school, then, at the E.U. value of excess GHG production, the trading credits should contribute $3 million to $ 11 million per year towards financing a cycling infrastructure. (Reference 7)  

It may be argued that some of the carbon credit should be used first to meet the car-produced portion of the 6% reduction level targets from the 1990 base of the Kyoto Protocol.    


Source of Funding – Revenue Sources – Rapid and Public Transit Revenue Growth  

Growth of rapid transit revenue would be an outcome of a cycling infrastructure and programs promoted by the TransLink Long Range Transportation Plan. Cycling provides an alternative for commuters that drive to work and who do not find the bus feeder system as a convenient or trip time competitive option.  

As has been demonstrated in Europe and elsewhere (Reference 10, 11), cycling can complement local public transportation as a feeder mode. Cycling provides an effective alternative to driving to work in the 1 to 3 to 5 km catchment area from rapid transit stations and other public transit exchanges. (Reference 12, 15, 4)  


Source of Funding – Reduction of Health Cost Credit  

Research has found that motorized vehicle emissions endanger the health of the motorists as well as people in the neighbourhood (Reference 9).  Research has also shown that motorists tend to take in more pollution than people outside of the car. Petroleum products generated pollution result in many forms of sickness that result in costs to the provincial health care system.  

Conversely, cycling tends to lead to better personal lifestyle and health, thus reducing medical costs.  


Source of Funding - Business  

Cities, as well as provincial and federal government, benefit directly from cyclists expenditures in local businesses through sustaining higher employment levels, direct business taxation, and P.S.T., G.S.T, and income taxation.


Cost to Business from Traffic Congestion Delays 

Business organizations have identified traffic congestion within the GVRD costing business $500 to $1,200 million per year. (Reference 4-c). Conversion of commuters from cars to cycling would reduce congestion time and trucking costs. While the estimated congestion delay cost per truck is $22,700 to $54,500 per year, a one-time contribution of $5,000 per trucker would pay for a cycling infrastructure that would help reduce traffic delays and provide an opportunity to persuade 10,000 to 60,000 of the 400,000 private vehicle commuters to downtown Vancouver to leave their cars at home. (Reference 13)

Traffic congestion costs should be reduced for the trucking industry by $2 million to $176 million per year.


Local Retail Economy 

Cyclists contribute to the local retail economy. Contrary to some perceptions, cyclists are shoppers too. It is easier and less expensive to stop and shop on a bike than with a car, especially at local businesses. Cyclists support the neighbouring businesses along the road that they ride. 

Cyclists shop for groceries, goods, including hard goods, restaurants, etc. by bicycle. They have more money to spend, as they are not encumbered with the costs of operating a vehicle and parking. They tend to do their shopping where access is easy, convenient, and safe.


Touring Cyclists’ Contribution to the Local Retail Economy 

A comprehensive cycling infrastructure in a city or region of bike paths, bike lanes, and bike routes tends to attract people from within and from afar to come and cycle. With touring cycling comes economic contribution to local retail and support businesses and to the less skilled labour market. 

Touring cyclists may be day-trippers living within the GVRD wanting to explore beyond their home turf .  They may wish to go to some parks, attractions, retail streets, or specialized shopping areas, such as Granville Market, Robson Street, or Chinatown. They may be weekend trippers coming to Vancouver for two or three days to enjoy the city and its offerings. These may include cyclists who would cycle to the city or drive to Vancouver, within a day’s distance from home. They may come from the Lower Mainland and up the valley from Mission, Hope and beyond, Vancouver Island, or Seattle and Washington State. They may come from further afield by bicycle or by pubic transportation. They may come from other parts of the province, or other provinces, or from the U.S. They may arrive by air from North American and international destinations intending to make Vancouver their starting point for an extended cycling trip. 

Cyclists tend to take longer to pass through an area than tourists in cars, buses, and other motorized vehicles. The distance that a car driver covers in a day may take a cyclist 5 to 10 days to cover. Thus, there are many more opportunities for local purchases by cyclists. Cyclists carry very little with them and buy on their way food, as fuel, and other supplies as well as accommodations, supplies, entertainment, and so forth. 

Based on studies conducted within North America (Reference 14), touring cyclists’ expenditures may range between $0.50 to $95.00 per day and beyond.  

                                                                        Typical Expenditures per day

Touring Cyclists                        Low Range                         Medium Range                     High Range

Day trippers




Weekend trippers




Touring cyclists - multi-day trip





Business and Public Institutions’ Incentives for Increased Use of Bicycles for Work

The private sector is constantly and correctly looking for ways to decrease their operating costs and to increase their profits. The public sector struggles to continue services at the same level with shrinking funding sources. Despite these pressures, both sectors are not embracing the opportunities that cycling and a supportive cycling infrastructure within the City would provide.

The Long Range Transportation Plan should provide a more supportive on-road cycling infrastructure and also programs of awareness that would support the private and public sectors’ realizing this opportunity. The GVRD would benefit with reduced pressure for road capacity and reduced greenhouse gas generation from motorized vehicles. (Reference 4)  

Penetration of the transportation market by persons using bicycle and variations of human powered bicycles or tricycles within the Greater Vancouver area is small and is at a starting level (Reference 4). Couriers, police, emergency services, and some delivery of goods seem to be the extent of it at this time. Bicycle rental is, however, an active business for the tourist industry providing tourists an alternative to cars for sightseeing within this city.  

The penetration level is quite small considering the difference in acquisition cost of cars and vans instead of bicycles (motorized vehicles - $20,000 to $40,000 range, bicycles - $1,000 range) and the difference in operating costs (motorized vehicles - $0.30 to $0.40 per km minimum, bicycles - $0.05 per km range). (Reference 5)  




1.       City of Vancouver, Downtown Plan 2002 Survey

What would it take to get you to leave your car at home? 

2.       Toronto Master Cycling Plan, 1999 

3.       2001 Statistics Canada Census and Translink Budget.

The VACC objective for cycling infrastructure funding – commiserate with the cycling potential.

o         2001 census commuter cycling trip                                  1.9%

o         2003 Budget Revenues – GVRD                                        $647 m

Commiserate allocation to Cycling                                        at 1.9% commuter trips, funding should be at $12 m per year. 

                                                                                                       Note – actual trips much higher including utilitarian trips, so funding should be higher. 

4.       GVTA, Long Range Transportation Plan, Context Paper, 12 February 2003

                                 i.            Bicycles Statistics

o         Region bicycle ownership                                           > 1,400,000

o         1996 Canada Census – Vancouver Region               729,000 daily commutes

o         1.7% of all commuting trips (2001 Census – 1.9%)

o         Sub-region shares

o         Low – Surrey                                         0.6%

o         High – Vancouver                                  3.3%

o         Area high – Vancouver                        10%

o         1999 - Average Commute Distance

o         Average bicycle commute                            4.7 km

o         81% projectile                                               7.5 km

o         Average all modes commute                      10.0 km

                               ii.            Air Quality and Greenhouse Gas

o         1999 emissions of greenhouse gas (GHG) in Vancouver region was 15.3 mega tonnes

o         40% came from transportation sources and mobile equipment.

o         GHG for non-goods transport in Vancouver region and forecasts:

o         1990                                                       approx. 3.8 mega tonnes

o         2000                                                       approx. 4.1 mega tonnes

o         2010                                                       approx. 4.5 mega tonnes

o         (2010 target –       1990 minus 6% Approx. 3.6 m.t.)

o         2020                                                       approx. 5 mega tonnes

                             iii.            Trucking Industry Cost of Delays

BC trucking Association estimated cost of congestion to the trucking industry, page 21,

The road system, page 2

o         Estimated cost of traffic delays to truckers             $500 to $1.200 million

o         Number of truckers registered - Lower Mainland      22,000

o         Traffic Delay Cost per truck per year       $22,700 to $54,500 for a reduction in traffic delays from 26.5 to 19.5 min.   (Average commutes to work trip time, now and 10 years ago)

                              iv.            Modal Split

o         Private Vehicle                                                                             55%

o         Passenger –n Private Vehicle                                                         20%

o         Transit                                                                                           10%

o         Bicycle                                                                                           1.9%

o         Walking                                                                                         13% 

5.       Vehicle Operating And Acquisition Costs

§          Car and Van Total Cost

o         Annual Ownership Cost                             $4,000 to $8,000

o         Financing                                                      $800 to $2,000

o         Operating                                                      $0.30 to $0.40 per km

o         Administration                                            $0.50 to $0.10 per km

§          Bicycle

o         Ownership                                                     $500 to $1,000

o         Operating                                                      $100 to $300 per year (in the range of $0.05 per km)  

6.       Most important issues when choosing transportation mode 

Reference – Engaging the Whistler Public, Emma DalSanto, 2003-03-07 presentation to the Make the Move on Climate Change, BC Climate Exchange forum 

7.       Carbon Trading Opportunity Based on Average Daily Commute Along the RAV Corridor

§          Within Vancouver

o         Average Commute – on way                                                       8 km (Reference 11)

o         Daily GHG Produce by Car – two-way commutes 2.4 kg to 5.6 m.t. per day

o         Annual GHG Produced by Car – two-way commute   1.7 m.t. to 4.0 m.t. per year

o         Annual GHG Trading Credit (EU valuation)$2.6 million to $6.1 million per year

§          From Richmond

o         Average Commute – on way                                                       14 km (Reference 11)

o         Daily GHG Produce by Car – two-way commutes 4.2 kg to 9.8 m.t. per day

o         Annual GHG Produced by Car – two-way commute   3.0 m.t. to 7.2 m.t. per year

o         Annual GHG Trading Credit (EU valuation)$4.6 million to $10.7 million per year 

8.       City of Vancouver, Bicycle Plan 1999, Reviewing the Part, Planning the Future, Chapter 5.2.1 Cycling Survey, Survey Analysis.pdf

Figure 79: Cyclists Responses to “What discourages you from cycling more often? What factors could increase the likelihood of your using a bicycle more often?”

o         Too many hills - 1% of respondent. 

9.       Motor Vehicle Emission and Effect on Health

o         Dr. M. Brauer, Associate Professor, School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, University of British Columbia, Urban Transportation Forum, 2003-02-19 

10.    Swedish research 

11.    U.S. Department of Transport, Federal Highway Administration, FHWA Course on Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation

o         Phoenix 1997 study – 2,100 daily users of bike-on-bus racks. 

12.    Rapid Transit Station Access by Modal Split

o         1999 Toronto Bike Plan, Chapter 8 Cycling and Transit

o         Distance to cycle not more than 10 minutes by bicycle. 3 km catchment area.

o         Rapid transit station access by mode split – cycling to station

o         Toronto                                          0.2% by bicycle

o         San Francisco                              1%

o         Washington                                   1%

o         The Netherlands                          44%

o         Jane Bird, RAVP Community Meeting, 2003-03-11, 60% by bus to rapid transit stations. 

13.    Scope of Opportunity – Modal Conversion from Private Vehicle to Cycling or Cycling / Public Transit Intermodal,

§          Scope of Opportunity

o         10,000 to 60,000 (2.5% to 14.7%) private vehicles commute trips opportunity to conversion to cycling

o         Congestion reduction should be 2.5% to 14.7% at a minimum.

§          Statistics

  i.                  From Reference 3 and 4

2001 census commuter cycling trip          

1.9% - GVRD

 3.3% - City of Vancouver

 0.6% - Surrey

10.0% - Area High in Vancouver

  ii.                  From Reference 4

Region bicycle ownership                           > 1,400,000

Daily Commutes – all modes                       729,000

§          Data

Commuter Cycling Volume at various cycling mode splits:

1.9% level                              13,851

3.3% level                              24,057

10.0% level                            72,900

Private Vehicle Commute Reduction Potential at various Cycling Mode Splits 

   Commutes  - Cycling Modal Splits                                      Private Vehicle Commutes Reduction

1.9% level                                                        Base

3.3% level                                                       10,206                   2.5% of private vehicle trips

10.0% level                                                      59,049                   14.7% of private vehicle trips 

14.    Cyclist Oriented Road Signs – Signs Targeted to Touring Cyclists


§         Touring Cyclists - Daily expenditures based on studies 

                                        Range                            Low          Medium             High

Day Tripper


to $8.25

to $17.00

Weekend Tripper


to $38.25

to $53.25

Touring Cyclists


to $71.25

to $95.00

Business Trip Cycling Extended Stay


to $180.00

to $270.00

Commercial Cycling Tours


$115 range


15.    The Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition submission to the Richmond Airport Vancouver Project Team:

Richmond Airport Vancouver Rapid Transit Project, Increasing Intermodal Commuting, Cycling and Rapid Transit, What is Required to Make it Grow?, submitted March 21, 2003

§          Funding sources:

o         Revenue growth from private vehicle commuting replaced by cycling and rapid transit intermodal trips. 1,000 commuters would generate $1 million per year in revenue growth. 

16.    Revenue Generation Opportunity per 100 Commuting Trips from a Neighbourhood 

§          Cost of monthly transit card              $87.00 per 2 zone

§          Neighbourhood Commuting – Intermodal Trip Split

Source – 1999 TransLink Trip Diary Survey

o         Private Vehicle –                          75%

o         Cars                                               58%

o         Passengers                                     17%

o         Transit                                           10%

o         Cycling                                          2%

o         Walking                                         13%

§          Potential conversion to Rapid Transit / Cycling Intermodal Trips from Cars

o         Low estimate                                10% of private vehicle trips

o         High estimate                               20% of private vehicle trips

§          Potential Revenue Generation per 100 Commuter Trips per Year

o         Low estimate                                $7.8k

o         High estimate                               $17

Cycling as a Transportation Option, Our Contribution to a Better, Healthier Future