Building blocks for livable cities: Highlights from CITE Annual Conference, Vancouver

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What is CITE?

CITE is home to Canada’s largest community of transportation professionals. Their annual conference brings together the best and brightest in Canadian transportation practitioners to exchange ideas, share experiences, and connect. Its aim to help us work towards building livable cities and communities. 

The 2022 annual conference in Vancouver covered many areas impacting success of shared mobility, including key topics on:

  • Active transportation user behavior and infrastructure
  • Parking and curbside management
  • Transportation Demand Management 
  • Integrating new technology to improve transportation efficiency

CITE was one of the first major in-person transportation conferences in Vancouver since the pandemic and movmi was excited to attend. Focused on transportation engineering, the conference was full of learnings about how cities are increasingly aligning sustainable living in their projects and planning.

Keep reading for a breakdown of movmi’s CITE Vancouver conference highlights!

How can cities improve their non-private-car mode share? What factors influence mode share for micromobility (or cycling)?

Referring to HUB Cycling’s State of Cycling in Metro Vancouver report (2019), Angie Weddell presented an analysis of rider preferences showed that infrastructure ranks quite high in encouraging cycling commute mode share. 

The analysis was done by categorizing cycling lanes into categories rated as per rider comfort;

  • Comfortable for Most
  • Comfortable for Some
  • Comfortable for Few
  • Comfortable for Very Few

Although cycling infrastructure within an area or a neighborhood may be rated under ‘Comfortable for Most’ the lack of connectivity between multiple neighborhoods deters riders from adopting cycling for their commute or other mobility needs. Creating a network of ‘Comfortable for Most’ rated cycling lanes holds the key to driving mode share. 

Compared to a city such as Montreal where all bikeway types are seen to have a positive impact on cycling mode share, in Vancouver only local street bikeways and cycle tracks did so. The network connectivity is more important than the type of bikeways installed. 

Residents living 1km closer to bikeways are 4X more likely to choose a bike commute. In case of women riders, the effect increased to up to 7X. For infrastructure rated under ‘Comfortable for Most’ this multiplier effect skyrocketed to 11.1X for women (6.6X in general).

As cities look to increase active transportation mode share, AAA infrastructure is what one imagines to have. However, by merely creating a well connected network of (most level of) bikeways all around the city, mode share can be influenced greatly. Bringing a network of shared micromobility and transit access to the equation, cities can move quicker towards their climate action goal of reducing the private car VKT.

Want to understand more about launching an e-bikesharing service for your city? Here’s our whitepaper summarizing what policies work well.

Transportation preference data is another critical factor to improve sustainable mode share. The findings from a custom transportation survey supported the idea of introducing shared mobility services in the North Shore region (City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver and District of West Vancouver). While mode share was still found to be majorly with private vehicles (driver and passenger), the survey helped identify the mode shift potential within those trips. This was possible since in this granular survey, factors unique to the North Shore could be incorporated for e.g. access to e-bikes, e-bikeshare, parking, employer transportation programs etc. Blair Underhill from the City of North Vancouver emphasized that the survey outcome proves that mobility patterns are hyperlocal and could be understood better with a granular view. Case in point, the overall Metro Vancouver transportation survey (2017) shows mode share of sustainable mobility (walk, bike, transit) at around 22% for the entire region, the granular survey showed this varied through the zones in the North Shore from 12-44%.

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Presentation: Better data for more resilient planning (R.A. Malatest & Associates, City of North Vancouver and Associated Engineering)

Using on-demand transit data to improve your TMP in the longer term

Transportation data helps shape services better. With shared mobility services such as on-demand shuttles (a.k.a. microtransit) PTAs and municipalities can benefit from the anonymized data to create future expansions to fixed route services. These are also critical to understand multimodal use cases.

The town of Innisfil utilized this data and evaluated the following;

  • Future ridership forecast, fare structure and service hours
  • Identify demographics that utilized the service and understand demand across locations and accessibility services demand
  • Cost implications of the service

Steps to introduce an on-demand service in a small town to planning for a future fixed route service can be summarized as follows;

  1. Introduce subsidized ridesharing service (e.g. even ridehailing) to understand demand, acceptable wait times and cost effectiveness
  2. Introduce an on-demand transit for a catchment area based on the findings for a relatively larger population
  3. Beyond a few years, as the on-demand service ranks higher on reliability and creates consistent demand, fixed route services can be introduced in phases. Important to note that for the initial years, both services will run parallelly to allow for the fixed route ridership to scale up. The fixed route service could also be shared between neighboring municipalities.
  4. Depending on the demand in the later years, the municipality can choose fixed over on-demand transit. On-demand transit may still serve suburban communities and feed into the fixed route. 

Throughout the phase-wise implementation, shared micromobility (e.g. bikesharing) could prove to be highly effective in providing first/last mile trip connectivity equitably.

More information through movmi’s on-demand microtransit e-learning course here.

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What are we designing (our transportation systems) for?
“…our lives in the future” – Mariam Bello, City of Calgary
Source: CITE Workshop on Integrating Lived Experiences into Transportation Planning (City of Calgary & Dillon Consulting Ltd.)

How can cities nudge people to embrace sustainable mobility options? By bringing these options to places where people live and work

Or in other words, introducing Neighborhood Mobility Stations across communities. 

movmi is excited to see cities and planning experts increasingly talking about connecting different areas within the city with sustainable transportation options (other than just public transit), making it more convenient for micromobility and rethinking the curb use and parking. The Neighborhood Mobility Station builds on that but brings  shared mobility services directly to resident’s doorsteps: it is part of a private community or development and hosts one or more shared mobility services for the user. 

The Neighborhood Mobility Station becomes a showcase of sustainable and livable transportation, proving that reducing car dependency can help create a more vibrant, active and healthy community, supporting the municipality’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions and congestion. This new type of community also has economic benefits for residents because they will have more disposable income (private vehicle ownership is the second largest expense in Canada) yet still have the same freedom of getting anywhere they want using on-demand mobility.

What goes into executing successful mobility hubs in cities?

  1. Context based designing which focuses on integration of safe and accessible shared mobility options for all
  2. Aligns with the TDM strategy and measures and supports daily needs of users and the community
  3. Economically feasible for all stakeholders involved – cities, shared mobility operators and property developers

With multiple projects under the belt, we at movmi look forward to helping more property developers and real estate companies launch shared mobility stations. If you’re interested to know more about the mobility stations, email us at info@movmi.net for your copy of the Neighborhood Mobility Station Handbook.

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TAC Conference & Exhibition: movmi’s Highlights

The TAC Conference & Exhibition was hosted by Alberta Transportation in partnership with the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary from Oct 2-5 at the Edmonton Convention Centre. movmi’s Venkatesh Gopal attended on behalf of movmi and was part of the ‘Curbside Management and Design Solutions for New Mobility’ panel.

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Struggling with profitability of your shared mobility service? Get in touch