On the wrong track?
The case against subways
Vancouver is a city that enjoys basking in its own press. Each year, when the Economist or Mercer puts out its “best” or “most livable” list, Lotusland regularly cracks the top five. But every so often, a contrarian report puts Vancouver in a less flattering light.
Such appeared to be the case when the 2017 Sustainable Cities Mobility Index, produced by Arcadis, was released last fall. The Amsterdambased consulting firm ranked Vancouver 28 out of 100 global cities on urban mobility, with Hong Kong, Zurich and Paris taking the top three spots.
Although there are several big caveats with the findings —including the fact that the top 25 cities are separated by about 10 percentage points—the analysis points to Vancouver showing weakness on issues of “people” (see sidebar), especially the share of trips taken by public transit, where it ranks 71 out of 100.
“What’s really important for us in the Mobility Index is accessibility of public transit—and the investment of public funds into those forms of transit,” explains John Batten, global cities director at Arcadis. Hong Kong ranks first, Batten adds, because its transit system, the MTR, “is by far the most superior form of public transit in the world. And it has to be, because it moves so many people a day.” At the same time, he admits, “Hong Kong is terrible when it comes to bicycles.”
CASH AND CARRY For Vancouver, expensive subways may not be the best plan to get more people out of cars