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Anthony Perl of Simon Fraser University was interviewed in the Georgia Straight regarding “transit road pricing” or the practice of charging Transit passengers for the distance they are travelling.

If transit fares were also coupled with vehicle  “distance-based road pricing…the most efficient way to go,” Perl told the Georgia Straight by phone. “I think it would encourage people to work and live close to where they need to be or want to be…and…discourage sprawl.”

But here’s the challenge-you  also have to price automobile users for using the road. The problem is that we tend to look at these two systems separately but, of course, it’s an integrated mobility network,” he said. “And people make decisions about how to move and what to do and where to live not based on one piece of it but the whole system. So if we change one without the other, then we have the risk of unintended consequences, I think.”

Citing Victoria transportation expert Todd Litman, Perl noted it costs taxpayers a lot to subsidize automobile use  as compared to transit. “Road socialism” means recognizing this disparity.  Transportation costs are often not factored in examinations of housing  affordability in suburban communities. “In a critique of a 2015 international housing-affordability survey by U.S. think tank Demographia, Litman wrote that households spend 20 to 25 percent of their budgets on transportation in car-dependent communities.” 

A cheaper house farther out may incur higher transportation costs, while housing closer to work may mean multi modal transportation options can lower costs.  “Perl said transit users who can afford housing only in suburban areas should be “rewarded for not driving those long distances” and “not punished” through distance-based fares.”

Can a comprehensive review of road pricing for all users in Metro Vancouver be far behind?

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