What is the full cost of your commute?
This was originally published as part of Moving Forward, an independent journalism project produced by Discourse Media.
The 003 Main Street bus, which runs between downtown Vancouver and Marine Drive SkyTrain station, is such an efficient way of moving people that it actually saves society two cents every time a passenger travels one kilometre.
That is just one insight from the Cost of Commute Calculator, an interactive tool we developed that aims to capture the full cost and benefit of driving, taking the bus, cycling and walking in Metro Vancouver. Big ticket items like the cost to build road infrastructure or operate buses typically dominate debate over the ongoing transit referendum in Metro Vancouver. In addition to those, this calculator also considers the costs of less obvious impacts like emissions, climate change, accidents, congestion and even noise pollution.
“Although these costs are easy to overlook, that doesn’t make them any less real,” says George Poulos, a transportation engineer and planner who analyzed the data behind the Cost of Commute Calculator. “Sometimes we pay them upfront, other times indirectly. But, at the end of the day, we still pay them, so we should consider them in our calculus when making big decisions.”
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