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Transport in Vancouver

Having recently returned from holiday (or should I say vacation!)  in Vancouver, Canada, a number of transport-related concepts from across the pond piqued my interest, not just the fact that they drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road!

The first thing that becomes overtly evident is that Canada is a very green country – and that’s not just the trees! For example, car idling is illegal, improving air quality. Pedestrians and cyclists have more right of way than back in the UK, and the majority of buses are electric, promoting sustainable transport choices. 

The city also benefits from EVO, a car share service akin to the electric scooter hires popping up left, right and centre in UK cities. With EVO, members can hop into any EVO car across the city (either hybrid or fully electric) and drive them for around $0.45 per minute, minus tax. Insurance, petrol (…gas!) and even parking are included for free. In fact, EVO-only parking spaces are spread across the city and with bike/ski racks included on every car, they are a very enticing option for sustainable travel. 

Designated cycle lanes (above) are located on virtually every road, with advance cycle stop lines at each set of traffic lights, of which there are many. The road structure (designed in very linear blocks) lends itself to signalised intersections, rather than roundabouts such as in the UK – which themselves tend not be very cycle friendly. I did, however, see one small roundabout, at which I observed many local motorists without a clue who to give way to! Red ‘stop’ signs are also used instead of road markings to indicate where to give way at a junction (below). 

A car parked on the side of a road

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The use of more traffic lights than you could ever dream of does also mean that a couple of other concepts can be introduced to improve the flow of traffic. On busy roads, left turns are prohibited during busy hours to ensure that traffic does not build up waiting for gaps in the oncoming traffic. All vehicles can also turn right on red lights – given that no pedestrians are crossing, or vehicles are approaching from the left – reducing queue lengths (or ‘line-ups’, apparently). On-street parking is also available or prohibited, depending on the time of the day and on how busy the road is, either freeing up the highway for traffic, or space for parked vehicles. 

Are there any interesting transport concepts you’ve come across on your travels that seem alien to the UK? Let us know @DynamicTP on Twitter!

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