An example of a multi zone distance-based charge mobility pricing system. (Independent Mobility Pricing Commission)

Seven ways mobility pricing could work in Metro Vancouver

Independent commission maps out possible scenarios based congestion point or distance-based charges

Drivers are getting a preview of how mobility pricing could work in Metro Vancouver.

Maps recently released by the Independent Mobility Pricing Commission outline possible pricing scenarios based on the two proposed models – congestion point charges or distance-based charges.

When commission chair Allan Seckel and executive director Daniel Firth revealed the two options in a media briefing last month, they emphasized their work was still in the early, hypothetical stages.

The maps come with disclaimers that they are merely possible ideas to spur public engagement.

Seven possible scenarios are outlined:

  • Downtown Vancouver congestion point charges – Similar to systems in London and Stockholm, the goal would be to discourage people from driving into Vancouver’s congested downtown core. The commission is still exploring possible discounts for lower-income people, as well as the impacts on smaller businesses in the area.

  • Metro Vancouver crossings congestion point charges – Seckel and Firth were quick to point out last month that congestion point charges did not necessarily mean charges at bridges, but this map looks similar to Delta Mayor Lois Jackson’s longtime “buck a bridge” proposal. This would address concerns that people living south of the Fraser River were paying an unfair amount to head west across the Fraser.

  • One-zone distance-based charges – Drivers would pay some sort of fee wherever they drove in Metro Vancouver, and it could vary by time, location and direction. The commission is still exploring discounts for those with fewer public transit options.

  • Burrard Peninsula congestion point charges – Similar to the downtown Vancouver proposal, drivers going into a specific area would be charged. This idea would expand it to all of Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster.

  • Two-zone distance-based charges – This would create two tiers for distance-based charges: one for drivers on the Burrard Peninsula and one for those who are not. Again, this could vary by time, location and direction.

  • Metro Vancouver hot spots congestion point charges – A regional hot spot proposal would address Metro Vancouver’s spread out urban cores – something the commission has called a challenge. At the January briefing, Seckel and Firth acknowledged more work would need to be done with this idea to avoid negatively affecting the region’s city centres.

  • Multi-zone distance-based charges – A more complicated version of distance-based charges. All drivers would pay, but they would pay more in congestion in the identified “hot spots.”

Online consultation is scheduled to start mid-February and the commission will release its final report in April.


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