In Metro Vancouver, congestion-induced delays are the norm on the region’s roads and bridges. If nothing is done, these problems will only worsen. This report explains that mobility pricing is one solution to Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges.
Mobility pricing is based on the principle that drivers must pay for what they use, taking away the illusion of “free roads.” It’s well known that public transit is subsidized, but there are substantial public costs for infrastructure and services for cars, including road and bridge construction and maintenance and policing. There are also external costs to society as a whole: carbon emissions, air pollution, urban sprawl, noise, and the environmental costs of upstream fuel extraction and processing.
But fairness needs to be at the core of any mobility pricing scheme. For example, the high cost of housing in Metro Vancouver means low- and middle-income households may be forced to move further away from the central city to find affordable housing and spend hundreds of hours a year commuting.
Using mobility pricing revenues to create a credit for low-income households is one important way of addressing fairness issues. Expansion of public transit is also widely seen as essential to ensuring accessible mobility.