Traffic to Downtown

April 11, 2011

Following the last week forum, I will blog on the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaduct, to eventually provide a “dissident” voice to the opinion expressed here or there, but as a preliminary, I have gathered the data below I will eventually rely on to support my opinion

Following the bridge traffic data gathering for metro Vancouver, below is a map overlaid with the traffic volume on the main accesses to Vancouver Down Town peninsula.

Traffic on main access arteries to Vancouver Downtown Peninsula (click on the map for more detail)

Some comments on it:
Traffic

  • Traffic volume distribution is hourly, and based on the latest numbers provided by City of Vancouver [1]
  • While most of the traffic Data provided by the city date of 2006, the actual capacity is considered. i.e. 2 lines West on Dunsmuir and 2 line South on Burrard
  • For reference, the skytrain inbound traffic is also provided (numbers from [3]). notice that skytrain trips are not up to scale with vehicle trips

A Note on the road Capacity.

While, at the counting location, Pender street is 4 lanes... Further East, the road capacity is severely constrained by different lane allocation choice and street artefact, we have not accounted for. credit (4)

Very certainly numerous factor like traffic light, left turn, other road artefacts… affect the road capacity which are probably more complex to compute in urban environment than in rural one. We are not a professional in that field, and want to have to rely on ball-pack numbers. the suggested road access capacity are arbitrary, and given to provide a rought idea of probable congestion level which is also probably subject of different perception according to whether we come from Toronto or Prince Rupert.

  • Red line indicate the capacity of the access, assuming a 1400 vehicle/hr capacity per lane. To allow comparison with previous study
  • The orange line assumes a may be more realistic capacity of 1000 vehicle/hr per lane in some urban context
  • Number of lanes per road assumes the lanes also used for off peak parking, this at he counting location
  • For the skytrain, the dash line provides the actual capacity of it, while the red provides the “ultimate” one [3]

Mismatch with Traffic data provided at the April 7th Viaduct forum.

At this forum, Dave Turner of Halcrow had presented some traffic data as reported by Stephen Rees. While the number presented for Dunsmuir and Georgia viaducts are in line with the one provided here. Unless things have dramatically changed since 2006, All other numbers seems incorrect. Probably Dave Turner, was wanting to speak of number of trip and not number of person, so basically all numbers need to be divided per 2:

  • Unless you include the Canada line, there is ~120,000 skytrain trip to/from Down Town [3], that is 60,000 people and not ~110,000 as reported at the forum.
  • We assume that a similar confusion has been done for the number of incoming bus riders, it is probably not 34,000 but more realistically twice less (Someone could have noticed whether Hasting buses were as busy as Broadway ones)
  • And from data traffic we present here, we can probably say the same for it

Regarding the level of congestion- Dave Turner was reporting road like Pender close to capacity- It is not what says our map: We can’t argue on it and the reader will report to the previous section for why.


[1] City of Vancouver OpenData catalogue, When several series exist for a counting station, he most recent available on April 8th, 20111 is used…. That is usually 2006

[2] Traffic capacity of Urban roads, Design manual for roads and bridges, Feb 1999.

[3] TransLink’s Rapid Transit Model, PTV America Inc Report to Translink, Feb 2007

[4] Picture from City of Vancouver

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3 Responses to “Traffic to Downtown”


  1. […] is not much surprising in fact. As illustrated in my previous post , there is lot of unused road access capacity in Vancouver; hence there is apriori little reason to […]


  2. […] Traffic to downtown and traffic on Metro Vancouver’s […]


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