No Car City: Measure and reduce car passenger miles: If we drive less, a green city can emerge.
What kind a lever can we pull that automatically creates a cascade of green behaviours?
It would seem that very few us would choose to trade our lives for a daily commute, but we do because we don't have much of a choice.
If we aimed to reduce per capita passenger car miles traveled in our cities, we'd be able to begin to free up some of the 30% of city surface area used for cars; it would mean we'd be doing everything closer to where we live, including work. We'd burn less oil, and we'd walk and ride more. Our communities wouldn't be cut up by streets filled with steel machines.
Not one of us will get old wishing we'd driven more, except perhaps Fernando Alonso.
One of the 2020 targets for Green Transportation is to reduce distance driven per resident 20% from 2007 levels. One of the major challenges is data — better data sources are needed to monitor progress and set more detailed targets. Odometer readings would be one way to get better VKT numbers, and would be possible with support from the Province and ICBC. Improved regional travel surveys are another possible approach.
West Coast Express style service at skytrain-like frequencies, on at least three routes into Vancouver, is what would be required to make Vancouver a no car city. If doesn't really matter what kind of finacial incentives are provided, people won't give up their cars until there is a viable alternative.
Although judging by the recent letter to 24hrs (the news daily) complaining that the nelson street bikeway increased his car-commute from the westend to downtown, by 3 whole minutes, some people will need financial incentives (or a gun to their heads), to get them out of their cars.