Reducing Transportation Costs

Housing and transportation costs are closely linked.

Transportation costs can vary widely, depending  on where housing is located and whether people are driving, carpooling, walking, cycling or taking public transit.

Reducing transportation costs by living near transit, or close to work, and not having to own and operate a vehicle can significantly improve affordability.

Alternative Transportation and Land Use

There is more walking and cycling when communities provide a mix of the following elements:

  • a broad mix of housing types
  • local shopping and community amenities
  • employment opportunities nearby
  • green spaces
  • appealing routes for walking and cycling

When this form of development happens near transit, communities have found that:

  • transit ridership levels increase;
  • public and rapid transit becomes more viable; and
  • costs are reduced by making the best use of existing municipal infrastructure.

Parking Strategies

Some local governments have also explored options to reduce vehicle parking requirements and offer better bicycle parking. Parking facilities add to the cost of housing, especially in multi-family housing developments with extensive parking lots or garages.

Reducing the required number of parking spaces in residential developments lowers construction costs and can reduce housing unit prices. It helps if parking spaces are sold separately from residential units, so purchasers don’t have to buy a parking spot if they don’t need one.

Providing plenty of appropriate bicycle parking in communities also encourages cycling as an alternative mode of transportation.

Mid-Size Community Examples of Parking Strategies
Esquimalt: the Township indicates that they may consider bonus density floorspace, parking relaxations or other development variances where a development proposal includes affordable or special needs housing. This may apply to both market and non-market housing, and mixed-use proposals. Read the Official Community Plan (PDF) MB

Large Community Examples of Parking Strategies
Saanich: in conjunction with bicycle parking standards found in Section 7 of the Zoning Bylaw (PDF) – bicycle parking guidelines address the under-supply of appropriate facilities for bikes (e.g. not secure or sheltered, conflict with pedestrians or vehicles). Read the bicycle parking guidelines (PDF)

Vancouver: to encourage the development of (unstratified) rental housing, the City, through its parking bylaw, provides reduced off-street parking requirements in areas with less demand. This measure is intended to reduce the cost of constructing new rental housing and it part of the City's secure market rental policy (PDF)

The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: February 20, 2018.