Tracking our commuting habits to make better transportation planning decisions

By District Staff on Monday, Dec 2, 2019

TransLink published its 2017 Trip Diary this fall, and the findings show that while DNV residents are walking and cycling more, there is still work to be done to make taking trips on transit a more inviting option.

In our every day life, we take time when it comes to making big decisions.

Think about the last time you planned a big trip: you probably spent time researching the best time of year to go, speaking with others who traveled to where you went, and looking at the top-starred places to eat on Yelp.

In the end, your vacation was likely a lot more enjoyable because you made decisions based on the data you gathered.

Think about TransLink’s Trip Diary like the research you did before buying a plane ticket.

The Trip Diary gathers data using a combination of online and smartphone questionnaires from commuters across the Metro Vancouver region so that TransLink, governments, and other stakeholders can work toward providing a transportation system that actually works for those who use it.

What our transportation habits tell us

So, what does the 2017 Trip Diary tell us about our commuting habits in the DNV? We've highlighted five key findings, as well as what we recommend for next steps based on this data:

We move more than before

Across the region, substantially more trips were reported. In Metro Vancouver, the overall number of trips increased by 21 percent and growth in most modes (cycling, walking, vehicle, transit) out-paced population and employment growth.

We use different modes to travel more

In the DNV, the total number of trips across all modes increased by 20 percent from 2011 to 2017. While the majority of trips were still made by vehicles, overall there was a decrease in auto driver trips and an increase in walking, cycling and auto passenger trips.

We still drive cars, a lot

While more people are choosing sustainable modes of transportation, since there are more trips overall, there is still more driving.

How we commute may depend on our income level

Higher income households take more trips than middle and low income households.

There is still more work to be done

While non-automobile transportation is rising, more progress is needed to hit the region’s targets of 50 percent trips made by sustainable modes and 30 percent decrease in vehicle kilometres traveled per capita by 2050.

For a full data overview, take a look at the DNV's TransLink Diary profile.

Now that we have the data, what’s next?

Based on the data, here is what we recommend.

Collaboration is key

There was an increase in the number of vehicles moving across the North Shore and across the Second Narrows bridge.

Working with TransLink on a rapid transit study to the North Shore and working with the Ministry of Transportation on a North Shore Highway 1 corridor study is critical to address these growing numbers.

Transit needs to be a competitive option

With a decline in number of transit trips in the DNV, working with TransLink to improve transit competitiveness and convenience will be vital to bringing these numbers back up.

Implementing measures such as more B-Lines will be an important part of addressing this issue.

We can build our way to more cycling and walking

The data showed us that more people are cycling and walking. We can make efforts to increase these numbers further by implementing more sidewalks to connect our walking network, investing in more bike facilities, and improving the cycling network.

Some of this work is being done right now, with projects such as the 29th Street safety and mobility improvements.

We're going to learn more about your unique commuting habits

While this data is helpful, there is still more we can learn about North Shore commuting habits to design better transportation systems.

The three North Shore municipalities have recently completed a specific travel diary survey to capture residents’ travel behaviours. The survey will be conducted every two years in fall with the aim of having data available to staff and public in early spring. This will be an excellent to measure our transportation behaviours on the North Shore and we look forward to sharing this information when it becomes available.

Take a closer look

Interested in digging in to the data yourself? Take a look at TransLink's 2017 Trip Diary

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