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Connecting Transportation and Livable, Resilient Communities

Beyond Electric Vehicles Discussion Paper

In collaboration with ACT – Action on Climate Team and Moving in a Livable Region, SFU Renewable Cities led the development of ‘Beyond Electric Vehicles’ a discussion paper emphasising the imperative of thinking together to reach our climate goals. 

The discussion paper explores the opportunities of more holistic approaches—beyond zero-emission vehicles— to reduce B.C.’s transportation emissions. Opportunities include more efficient, less car-reliant land uses in our cities and communities with more multimodal, equitable transportation options. The paper also seeds discussion about key challenges to their development.  

This discussion aims to seed and support conversations to form a common understanding of our challenges and to build shared paths forward. 

In the coming months, Renewable Cities, ACT—Action on Climate Team and Moving in a Livable Region plan to convene advocates, researchers, and practitioners to discuss next steps, and we are interested in engaging with other impacted and interested groups. What are the crucial conversations and challenging conversations that you see as opportunities to move toward shared understanding and action? 

Read our discussion paper, ‘Beyond Electric Vehicles,’ here 

Share your perspective with us and let’s continue the conversation. Email us at renewable_cities@sfu.ca 

Project Overview

SFU Renewable Cities commissioned an initial analysis of provincial data in B.C. on vehicle kilometers travelled, vehicle ownership trends, and current policies, to project likely greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles out to 2050, with an emphasis on non-commercial, light-duty vehicles. 

In its CleanBC Roadmap to 2030 climate plan, the Province of B.C. committed to reduce carbon pollution 40% below 2007 levels by the end of this decade. With transportation contributing a larger share of greenhouse gas emissions than any other single sector, the Roadmap includes a number of transportation-specific commitments including a goal to reduce total kilometers driven by personal vehicles 25% below 2020 levels by 2030.  

To foster and inspire constructive dialogue on transportation emissions, SFU Renewable Cities commissioned an initial analysis of provincial data on vehicle kilometers travelled, vehicle ownership trends, and current policies, to project likely greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles out to 2030, with an emphasis on non-commercial, light-duty vehicles. Without major changes to our land use patterns and despite public policies around electric vehicles, fuel standards and carbon taxes, from 2007 to 2030, we project: 

  • About 60% more personal vehicles 
  • About 50% more distance driven 
  • About 10% more emissions from personal vehicles 
  • Greater congestion 
  • Greater per-household spending on transportation 

Rather than using these findings to prescribe solutions, our aim is that they act as a connection point for conversations, such as how to ensure less car-reliant land uses and more multimodal, equitable transportation options.

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