Green Infrastructure & Other Actions
B.C.’s 10-year transportation plan includes committing one third of the funding for new rapid transit projects, expanding compressed natural gas fleets and investing $312 million in operating contributions over three years. Building on the success of the 2009 rapid transit Canada Line, the new Evergreen rapid transit line will link the communities of Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam with Vancouver, increasing transit integration and capacity in Metro Vancouver.
Pacific Gateway Strategy: Improving Transport by Land and Sea
The Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy 2012-2020 seeks to support new trade opportunities and growing volumes of imports and exports. Infrastructure improvements such as rail overpasses reduce traffic congestion and vehicle idling, and increase efficiency of rail operations. Trade areas in the lower mainland (North Shore, South Shore, Roberts Bank and South Fraser) have all benefited from new rail overpasses. B.C.’s ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert are Asia’s closest ports of entry on the west coast of North America. This natural advantage offers shippers one more way to reduce fuel and emissions.
Greening the Border
The Province of B.C. and the State of Washington are greening the border, reducing emissions through new infrastructure and better traffic management and traveler information. B.C. constructed new southbound lanes to accommodate the FAST and NEXUS programs, a Canada-US initiative that lets pre-approved travelers cross the Canada-U.S. border more quickly, avoiding waits and associated tailpipe emissions. Nearly three million people cross the Peace Arch and Pacific Highway borders annually using NEXUS and FAST, saving an estimated 6,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of about 48,697 long haul airplane flights (of about 1,108 km each).
The Advanced Traveller Information System (ATIS) uses in-pavement sensors and other digital technologies to estimate wait times at the Peace Arch, Pacific Highway, Aldergrove and Sumas B.C./U.S. border crossings. Under this program, average vehicle idling time on the B.C. side of the border can be reduced by about 20 minutes, resulting in a reduction of about 639 tonnes of GHG emissions per year.
High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes
High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes were created to move more people in fewer vehicles, reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. HOV lanes are in place on several provincial highways and urban corridors in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna.
Dynamic Message Signs (Advanced Traveller Information Systems)
Dynamic message signs provide real-time travel time information at border crossings, bridges and tunnels. This information helps drivers choose what routes to take based on posted delay and travel times, reducing wait times and idling.
Solar Highway Infrastructure
Maintenance of lighting and webcams can be both energy-intensive and expensive in remote parts of the province. B.C. is using solar power to run over 20 highway webcams that monitor weather conditions at high mountain passes and other remote locations. This provides critical information for road maintenance workers and reduces the cost of bringing power to remote parts of the province. Other solar installations include signage at the B.C./Yukon border and rest stop lighting at Mine Hill on Highway 3 west of Princeton.
Building Greener Roads
Through a partnership with the B.C. road construction industry, B.C.’s road builders and maintenance workers have adopted greener practices into their daily activities, such as use of alternate fuels, aggregate tarping and warm-mix asphalt, as well as LED lighting and high efficiency vehicles. Read about best practices for reducing GHG emissions in the B.C. road building & maintenance industry.
Low Carbon Fuel Standard
At approximately 37%, transportation is B.C.’s largest source of emissions. B.C.’s renewable and low-carbon fuel requirement mandates a 10% reduction in the carbon content of fuels by 2020, 5% renewable content in gasoline and 4% in diesel. The use of renewable and low carbon fuel in 2012 saved 904,868 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the environment, the equivalent of about 190,499 cars being removed from the road.
Pacific Coast Collaborative
Leaders from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and California joined to create the Pacific Coast Collaborative, a framework for co-operative climate action. Leaders from these five jurisdictions have agreed to align carbon policies, where feasible, in areas that include: clean energy, emergency management, regional transportation, research and innovation, and sustainable regional economies.
West Coast Electric Fleets
West Coast Electric Fleets is an initiative of the Pacific Coast Collaborative. Its mandate is to facilitate the expansion of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in public and private fleets by 10% by 2016. West Coast Electric Fleets helps fleet managers assess opportunities for the use of ZEVs through technical assistance, a peer-to-peer network, toolkits and other resources.
Right-Sizing Vehicle Fleets
Several B.C. government ministries have sizable vehicle fleets that are used for ministry operations. All fleets are now managed under the “right-sizing” principle in which older vehicles nearing the end of their service life are replaced with the smallest and most fuel-efficient vehicle that will do the required job. In 2014, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure replaced twenty large half and three-quarter tonne trucks with smaller, more fuel efficient Toyota Tacoma pick-up trucks. Replacing vehicles with smaller and more fuel-efficient models will impact average emissions from the vehicles, as well as cost of fuel.