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David Suzuki Foundation calls for mobility pricing to 'drive down' Metro Vancouver emissions

FILE - Traffic in Vancouver along Broadway. (Photo credit: Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

The David Suzuki Foundation says mobility pricing can help drive down emissions if implemented as part of a broader plan

Group says mobility pricing should encourage alternative modes of transportation, avoid punishing low income earners

David Suzuki Foundation lists most effective, fairest road pricing policies after Vancouver passed climate plan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Charging drivers to use Vancouver roads can help cut down carbon emissions, but mobility pricing needs to be done fairly and in conjunction with other measures, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.

The environmental group says case studies and other cities’ experiences have shown the move can reduce congestion and emissions and “stringent climate policy is needed to avert the most dangerous impacts of climate change.”

The organization released a report, Monday, that looks at fuel taxes and per-kilometre fees as well geographic-based tolled areas or “cordon areas.”

The report includes a review of studies on the topic of mobility pricing and the authors say “most studies”, including a study that showed a potential reduction of 27 per cent of congestion impacts in Los Angeles.

However, the foundation says mobility pricing alone will not work.

The group says mobility pricing needs to be part of “a broader mix of transport and climate policies” and that any plan “must be fair.”

“Most centrally, we recommend that these regions implement road pricing among their leading mechanisms to reduce GHG emissions from road transportation,” the report, which also examines the Montreal area, reads.

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Vancouver city council voted in November to have staff report back in two years with a feasibility plan on road pricing for all of the downtown peninsula and part of the central Broadway corridor.

The David Suzuki Foundation says any strategy should both push people toward alternative modes of transportation and avoid punishing people with low incomes.

“Using revenues to create a credit for low-income households and to support public transit, active travel and exemptions and/or tax cuts are ways to level the playing field,” says Tom Green, the foundation’s climate solutions policy analyst.

The Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council has not moved much on the issue since a study on mobility pricing emphasized the need for much deeper study and a commitment to equitability in any pricing program.

In part of its report, the David Suzuki Foundation focuses on “opposition among stakeholders,” which was evidenced by the public’s reaction to Vancouver’s Emergency Climate Action Plan which introduced the city’s solo-approach to pricing.

The foundation highlights a need for “meaningful” inclusion of the public and stakeholders in the planning process, as did the Mayors’ Council report and recent City of Vancouver staff reports on the same topic.

Read the full report from the David Suzuki Foundation: