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Moving In Metro: A discussion on mobility pricing


Mobility pricing refers to the decisions that our region needs to take on how we can balance taxes and user fees when paying for different parts of the transportation system. One such type of user fee is road pricing: a tool used to manage demand and increase the efficiency and fairness of our transportation network, while raising funds for transportation infrastructure.

Why Road Pricing?

Road pricing has the potential to reduce congestion and to develop transportation infrastructure, acting both as a revenue generator and a demand management system. While mobility pricing systems as they relate to roads, have been successfully implemented in other jurisdictions, they have also been met with serious criticism due to privacy, cost, and equity concerns.

Road Pricing – Five Facts

  • Metro Vancouver is looking at the future of its transportation system, and road pricing may be part of that future
  • Road pricing is a system where users pay for use of the roads in a way that’s equitable, fair, and efficient
  • There are economic, environmental, and societal benefits to a well-designed road pricing system
  • Some people are concerned about the costs of road pricing, the privacy implications, and how it may affect their day to day lives
  • Many other cities around the world have successful road pricing systems that are widely supported by drivers, transit users, businesses, and government

What is Moving in Metro?

Moving in Metro, a program of the SFU Centre for Dialogue, convened a series of citizen and stakeholder dialogues to look at the potential for road pricing to solve some of Metro Vancouver’s transportation challenges. The process began with a series of citizens’ dialogues on road pricing and culminated with a stakeholder summit on November 29. Moving in Metro released reports for the Regional Dialogues and the Community Summit in February, 2014.

Road Pricing in Metro Vancouver

The transportation network in Metro Vancouver is extremely important to the economy of the region. It’s used to get to work, visit friends and family, and run businesses; our economy relies on the goods and services that are delivered to and from the region every day. Metro Vancouver endorsed the use of road pricing in 1993, and this policy was reaffirmed in Transport 2040 and the Regional Growth Strategy. The Mayors’ Council has also confirmed its support for road pricing in the long-term and the Regional Transportation Strategy strategic framework specifically calls for road pricing as one of three price signals to manage demand, along with transit pricing and parking pricing.

Road Pricing Systems

There are a number of road pricing systems that are in use throughout the world. Three of these systems include corridor schemes, area schemes, and full network pricing.

Corridor Scheme
charges a set fee for using a road, bridge, or tunnel with the general objective of paying for the piece of infrastructure. Examples of a corridor scheme include Highway 407 in Toronto, and the Port Mann and Golden Ears Bridges in Metro Vancouver.

Area Scheme
charges a fee for driving into or within a specified area, often within urban centres. Examples of successful area schemes include Singapore and London. This is also referred to as a cordon scheme, or sometimes a congestion charge.

Full Network Pricing envisions a fee for the use of roads over the entire transportation network, typically measured in terms of distance traveled. New legislation in Oregon will see cars with greater than 55 miles per gallon of fuel efficiency charged a “vehicle kilometres traveled charge”.

Regional Dialogues

Moving in Metro began with a series of citizens’ regional dialogues that were held in Surrey, Burnaby, Vancouver, and Langley. In these sessions, citizens identified their likes and dislikes for a variety of road pricing schemes and the principles that they would like to see govern any potential system for Metro Vancouver.

Surrey – October 22, 2013 (includes White Rock, Tsawwassen, and Delta)

Burnaby – October 24, 2013 (includes New Westminster, and the Tri-Cities)

Vancouver – October 28, 2013 (includes Richmond, the North Shore, Lions Bay, Bowen Island, and Electoral Area A)

Langley – October 29, 2013 (includes the City and Township of Langley, Pitt Meadows, and Maple Ridge)

Community Summit

Moving in Metro culminated with a 150 person community summit held on November 29. This dialogue convened a diverse group of citizens and stakeholder to look at the barriers, challenges, and opportunities for road pricing in Metro Vancouver. Participants included citizens from our regional dialogues, local elected officials, and MLAs as well as representatives from transportation networks, regional planning departments, public health, unions, academia, heavy road users including shipping and trucking industries, and transportation and environmental advocacy groups.


José Luis Moscovich, former Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, offerred a key note speech on his experience of road pricing in the city of San Fransisco.

Presentations from panelists are available below:

José Luis Moscovich, former Executive Director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority
Chris Quigley, Senior Transportation Planner, TransLink
Claire Havens, Program Manager, Moving in a Livable Region
Robin Lindsey, Professor, Sauder School of Business, UBC
Richard Walton, Mayor, District of North Vancouver and Chair, Regional TransLink Council of Mayors
Bob Wilds, Managing Director, Greater Vancouver Gateway Council

Moving in Metro: Documents

Discussion Guide for Regional Dialogues
Community Summit Broadsheet
Regional Dialogue Report
Community Summit Report

To view the resource library which contains reports, case studies, and other documents on road pricing, please click here.

Media Coverage

Moving in Metro raised the profile of the concept of road pricing in Metro Vancouver. The regional dialogues and community summit prompted public discourse and garnered significant media attention:


Claire Havens - Bill Good CKNW (24 min mark) - November 28, 2013
Jose Luis - Bill Good CKNW - November 29, 2013
Jose Luis - CBC Early Edition - November 29, 2013


Tolling considered to pay for aging crossings | Michael Mui | 24 Hours - November 21, 2013
The inequity of Metro Vancouver's bridge tolls | Pete McMartin | Vancouver Sun - November 23, 2013
Opinion: Road pricing in Metro Vancouver makes sense
| Michael Goldberg | Vancouver Sun - November 24, 2013
Road pricing: What’s not to love? Opinion: ‘Free’ streets, highway network an illusion
| Gordon Price | Vancouver Sun - November 25, 2013
Opinion: Road pricing has moved beyond transportation wars
| Claire Havens | Vancouver Sun - November 26, 2013
Rethinking transportation to create the communities we want | Robert Paddon | Vancouver Sun - November 28, 2013
Editorial: Road pricing could ease traffic woes but raising cost of commuting would strain family budgets | Editorial | Vancouver Sun - November 28, 2013
The road to hell is paved, but will we pay for our sins? | Pete McMartin | Vancouver Sun - November 29, 2013
Experts advocate tolls to relieve road congestion | Sing Tao | November 30, 2013
Use common sense with road pricing | Douglas Adams | Vancouver Sun - November 30, 2013
Caution: Bumpy road ahead | Pete McMartin | Vancouver Sun - November 30, 2013
Pros, cons to road pricing | Gerald Moss | Vancouver Sun - November 26, 2013
Border tolls could claw back leaking gas tax, summit hears | Jeff Nagel | Surrey Leader - December 1, 2013
Toll U.S. crossings to keep gas taxes in B.C., says expert | CBC News – December 2, 2013
SFPR needs a toll to realize full economic benefits: experts | Anita Bathe | News1130 - December 2, 2013

Letters to the Editor

Road pricing already here | Corrie Kost | Vancouver Sun – November 28, 2013
Road pricing: will it be fair?
| Mavis McLean | Vancouver Sun – November 29, 2013
A road pricing alternative
| Alec Caruth | Vancouver Sun – December 6, 2013
Adopt funding formula to balance roads, rail | Isidor Buchmann | Vancouver Sun - December 30, 2013

Blog Posts

Follow-up on Moving in Metro: A discussion on mobility pricing | South Fraser Blog
Which Choice of Road Pricing?
| Third Wave Cycling
A week of Road Pricing News | Metrobabel
Road pricing: What’s not to love
| Stephen Rees’s blog

Who is Moving in Metro?

Moving in Metro is a project of the SFU Centre for Dialogue with support from TransLink, Metro Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation, the North Growth Foundation, and the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia.

Program Staff

Shauna Sylvester
Fellow, Centre for Dialogue

Claire Havens
Program Manager (Media Contact) | 778-781-3310

Keane Gruending
Communications Manager | 778-782-8851