Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists

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Vancouver Transport and insights for Australia

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Vancouver is a big city, geographically spread and has its own transport implications. Many of the challenges we see in Australian towns can also be found here, though there is a variation in structural approaches. Vancouver (and other Canadian cities) can play a significant part in understanding Australia's transport future based on population growth of Canada over the years where it jumped from around 25m people,and most people know that Canada experienced significant population change in a relatively short space of time, something that Australia will also experience over coming decades. An automotive client has used Canada as a clear 'line of sight' to Australia's transport future.

For Australia's transportation the clues sit within the similarities of places like Vancouver, not in the differences.  There's calls for more buses and public transport, traffic flow management in peak times and a vast network of cycling opportunities.  In assessing how Vancouver coped with a spike in population and the stress and pressure applied to transport infrastructure, we can formulate an idea of what Australian cities will have to deal with in the coming ten to fifteen years.  Whether we rely on the past or assess a potential future will be of critical importance.  Australian cities (and our general population) may be able to rely on history as its guide, and my bet is that any approach that ignores lessons from others, is one that risks a future based on sunk costs and trapped planning assumptions.  I'll write more as I complete the tour


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