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Mass Transit Needs Mass: Urban Density Thresholds for Cost-Effective Fixed-Guideway Investments

Oct. 28, 7pm

SFU Vancouver, Segal Graduate School of Business, 500 Granville St., Room 1300

This lecture is free of charge and open to the public, but reservations are required and the event is expected to fill up quickly. Reservations can be made online at www.sfu.ca/reserve.

Speaker: Robert Cervero, Friesen Chair of Urban Studies; Professor of City & Regional Planning, University of California at Berkeley

Urban density thresholds needed to support cost-effective fixed-guideway transit investments are investigated based on empirical experiences for metrorail, light rail, and bus rapid transit investments, drawing on experiences mainly in the U.S. Factors that interact with urban densities, such as car parking prices and transit service quality, are examined. High employment densities, combined with mixed land uses and walkable neighborhood designs, are found to be important, though by themselves insufficient, factors in predicting cost-effective transit investments in the world’s most auto-dependent country, the United States. The need for articulating densities in rapidly developing cities, especially as part of bus rapid transit cities, is also discussed, drawing on several international case studies.

Moving the City Lecture Series

This event is part of the SFU Urban Studies program's Moving the City lecture series: Vancouver and its Canadian counterparts (Montreal and Toronto) were founded to facilitate the movement of people and goods between international seaports and inland mobility infrastructure (portages, canals, and railways). What can we learn from their extended engagement with local and global mobilities? And what can the world’s experience with building, deconstructing, and repurposing mobility infrastructure teach Vancouver in its quest to become the greenest city by 2020?

The Moving the City lecture series is made possible through the generosity of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, Langara College, the University of the Fraser Valley, and SFU's City Program.