Vancouver, a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia, is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities and ranks third for quality of life globally.
A popular filming location, Vancouver has also become home to a broad range of ethnic groups, who have each contributed to this city’s vibrant and distinct assemblage of cuisines, heritage, belief systems and artwork. While only a very small percentage of Vancouver’s current population is comprised of First Nations people, the culture of the region’s aboriginal people permeates the city — from towering totem poles located throughout public green spaces to contemporary aboriginal art galleries located in downtown.
Unlike many large metropolises, Vancouver has no freeways into or through the downtown area. As the city is surrounded by water on three sides, it has several bridges to the north and south. Although similar to most other cities in that the automobile serves as the primary mode of transportation, it does have alternatives such as the SkyTrain system which is the longest fully automated light metro system in North America (second longest in the world) as well as an extensive network of bike routes.
Vancouver is one of the only major cities in North America without ridesharing services (such as Uber), due to a provincial law banning their operation.
In March 2016, carsharing service car2go hit a major milestone after Vancouver became the first city in the world to have more than 100,000 members. Additionally, they claim to have the largest fleet amongst the other car share companies in the region. car2go has about 1,250 Smart cars (and some Mercedes B-Class MPVs) in their fleet while Evo, Modo and Zipcar have 1,000 cars between them.
Vancouver is the third highest ranking city on Urban Density on the North American SMCI, following San Francisco and New York City.
Almost 70% of Vancouver’s population is using the car as means of transportation, more than 15% are using public transit and almost 4% are walking. Although hailed as bike-friendly city, less than 2% are using a bike for transportation. Vancouver scores 6 out of 10 points on Mobility Patterns.
Vancouver is one of the higher scoring cities in the SMCI on Sustainability. The city has a sustainability plan that includes addressing mobility as well as goals towards CO2 reduction. Vancouver has special parking permits for station-based carshare and free-floating carshare as well as incentives for developers to provide parking spots for carshare in new buildings. Vancouver scores 8 out of 10 points on Sustainability.
Shared Mobility Services
Vancouver also scores high on Shared Mobility Services. The city has global and local carshare providers, both free-floating and station-based carshare and so far lacks only a bikeshare provider (and is among North America’s largest cities without one). Potential bikeshare providers are facing a big challenge due to the British Columbia all-ages helmet requirement law. Currently the city is seeking a new contractor capable of installing and operating a cycling infrastructure.
Updates in 2016:
-The city signed a five-year agreement with Vancouver Bike Share Inc., a subsidiary of CycleHop in February 2016 and launched Mobi Bike Share July 20th, 2016.
-Once fully implemented, 1,500 seven-speed, adult-sized bikes will be available at 150 solar-powered stations, spaced every two to three blocks on streets, sidewalks, plazas, parks, and private property within the service area. Because anyone riding a bicycle in BC must wear a helmet, helmets are available with bikes at no additional cost.
Vancouver Parking Cost accumulates to 7.4% of the median annual household income, giving Vancouver a score of 3 out of 10 points.
Find out more about the SMCI.
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