Chair Update – Reducing Our Climate Footprint in How We Get Around

Metro Vancouver residents have a number of choices for how to move around our region. The primary modes of transportation include car, transit, walking, and cycling. However, not all modes are equal in terms of climate change impacts.

chair update cycling image 2

The Climate Footprint of Our Travel Choices

Travelling by car, for example, can have particularly negative impacts on our environment according to the 2010 emissions inventory for the Lower Fraser Valley, 32 percent of greenhouse gas emissions were from cars and light trucks.

GHGs emitted

* permitted industrial sources **from burning, refueling, agriculture and other sources

Several types of greenhouse gases (GHGs) negatively affect our environment, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is the primary contributor and has the most-relevant implications for climate change. Driving accounted for nearly half of the region’s CO2 emissions in the 2010 inventory.


Driving and CO2 graph

Source: 2010 Community Energy and Emissions Inventory 

private driving trips graph

Metro Vancouver has set a target to reduce GHG emissions from 2007 levels by 33 percent by 2020, and by 80 percent by 2050. Because we have so many cars on the road that produce most of the CO2 in our region, reducing the number of private vehicle trips is one of our best chances to reach these targets.


mode share graph

Reducing our Climate Footprint through Coordinated Land Use and Transportation

To reduce our GHG emissions, we need to develop compact, complete communities, and to reduce the share of trips by private vehicles through providing more sustainable and desirable transportation choices.

Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future, our regional growth strategy, establishes the land use framework to improve how we move around the region and get more residents out of their cars. TransLink’s complementary Regional Transportation Strategy Strategic Framework targets at least 50 percent of trips to be by transit, cycling or walking, and the Mayors’ Council Transportation and Transit Plan establishes a vision for investing in regional transportation. These three plans all work together in a coordinated way to provide a robust regional strategy for reducing emissions from major sources, including transportation and development.

Investing in Sustainable Transportation Options

To get more people out of their cars and achieve our GHG reduction targets, residents must have sustainable transportation options that don’t compromise their ability to move around effectively. The Mayors’ Council Plan will provide Metro Vancouver residents with better choices by:

  • Adding 25% more bus service, and 11 new B-Line Rapid Bus routes throughout the region.
  • Building Light Rail Transit in Surrey and Langley.
  • Increasing service on the Expo Line, Millennium Line, Canada Line,
    West Coast Express, SeaBus, HandyDART, and NightBus.
  • Building the Broadway Subway.
  • Expanding the region’s pedestrian and cycling networks.
  • Building a new Pattullo Bridge.
  • Maintaining and upgrading the region’s major roads.

Transportation choices have a major impact on our region’s climate footprint, and we now have a great opportunity to invest in more sustainable options to reduce that footprint.

Metro Chair Greg MooreThis is part of a series to highlight the connection between investing in transit and achieving the goals of our regional growth strategy. These stories will demonstrate the long-term benefits of planning for growth and investing in transit for communities across our region.

Greg Moore
Chair – Metro Vancouver

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