Topic Resources

Tools Used
Initiated By
  • Vancouver General Hospital
Partners
  • B.C. Cancer Agency
  • B.C. Teachers' Federation
  • B.C. Rehab Hospitals
  • B.C. Centre for Disease Control
  • Children's and Women's Health Centre of B.C.
  • City of Vancouver
  • Insurance Corporation of B.C.
  • Providence Health Care Society (includes Brock Fahrni Holy Family Hospital Mt. St. Joseph Hospital St. Paul's Hospital St. Vincent's Hospitals - Heather, Arbutus, and Langara, and Youville Residence)
  • VanCity Savings
  • Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Centre
  • Vancouver Police Department
  • Vancouver School Board
Results

Single occupancy vehicle drivers dropped by 1.6%, transit use increased by about 25%, and cycling increased to 5.5% from 4.5%.

Improving Employee Transportation: The Cambie Corridor Consortium

The Cambie Corridor Consortium (CCC) was the first transportation management association (TMA) established in Canada. A TMA is an alliance of business, government, and other groups that aims to reduce traffic in a particular area by pooling resources and expertise. Cambie's aim is to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles commuting to the Cambie/Broadway area of Vancouver and improve air quality by providing alternative transportation solutions and information. Approximately 25,000 employees are represented through CCC's 21 members.

Background

Over the last ten years, the Cambie area, which includes the Cambie Bridge to 33rd Avenue and Main to Granville Street, had become Vancouver's second largest business district, combining business, shopping, and residential areas. The area also includes several hospitals and medical centres. In the early 1990s, the B.C. Teachers' Federation and one of the Vancouver Police Stations moved into the area, increasing traffic even more. Because of the nature of the businesses in the area, parking was becoming more and more of a challenge because hospital workers work 24 hours a day.

A transportation consultant and other staff at the Vancouver General Hospital had been meeting with some of these partners for the last several years, and in 1995, they decided to form the Cambie Corridor Consortium to address some of their transportation problems. From those meetings, a trip reduction expert developed a transportation management plan that was used as the basis for the CCC's programs and services.

Setting Objectives

CCC's objectives were to:

  1. Reduce single occupancy traffic by 20%
  2. Restore livability in the area, and
  3. Improve air quality

Getting Informed

In 1994, a baseline survey was conducted of employees at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia. CCC also had access to a traffic flow analysis that was done of the area by the City of Vancouver. Of the employees who completed the survey, over half were single occupancy drivers, with the remainder using transit, cycling, walking, or carpooling. According to Bett Lauridsen, transportation management coordinator for CCC, the average commuting distance for the majority of employees is about 10 kilometres.

The survey found that three-quarters of all respondents said that the car was the quickest way to get to work, and one-third believed that transit took too much time. Half of all staff who responded to the survey would not take transit, even if it were free. The primary reasons for this attitude was that staff felt that the additional time taken in transit cut into their family time, and shift workers felt uneasy taking late night buses. The survey did, however, show that many employees were willing to consider transit if schedule improvements were made.

Delivering the Program

Vancouver General Hospital already employed Ms. Lauridsen as a part-time transportation consultant. A planned expansion of the hospital would have meant increasing the number of parking spaces. On average, each space costs $15,000 to $25,000 to build, maintain, and administer. Instead, the CCC hired Ms. Lauridsen to also serve as the part-time transportation management coordinator, making her the primary point of contact for its members and their employees. Transit kiosks were erected at each member's work site where employees could easily obtain information on transit fares, shuttle bus schedules, and other information (Vivid Personalized Communication).

A shuttle bus service was implemented to transport hospital staff between sites, and today the bus makes approximately 2,100 trips per month, carrying 9,000 passengers. The CCC also uses the shuttle bus to transport equipment, supplies, and documents between sites, saving member hospitals approximately $200,000 each year in courier costs.

Van pooling services were arranged through the Jack Bell Foundation (www.ride-share.com) and are used by approximately 200 employees. Another 500+ staff members carpool.

CCC worked with B.C. Transit on an 18-month pilot project that implemented a payroll deduction program that allows employees to purchase their bus pass at a 15% discount (Financial Incentives and Disincentives).

To respond to the needs of employees, and address some of the barriers expressed in the initial surveys, an emergency ride home has been implemented. CCC has a contract with a local taxi company and employees are given vouchers if they need to leave work in case of illness or emergency. To avoid abuse of the program, employees are allowed up to four emergency rides home per year (Overcoming Specific Barriers).

Also in response to employee requests, additional shower and change facilities, and secure bike cages were installed at some of the members' work sites (Overcoming Specific Barriers).

The Board of Directors meets every six weeks to discuss policy issues, set goals and plans for the future, and to evaluate its programs and services on an ongoing basis.

Promotion

Summer students have been used to distribute pamphlets to members and to other interested businesses in the area. Five pamphlets, each detailing a different method of transportation and its benefits, are available (Vivid, Personalized Communication).

Regular transit fairs are held at different member sites to promote active and sustainable methods of commuting, and promotional items such as mugs and t-shirts are offered as prizes (Vivid, Personalized Communication).

Financing the Program

Environment Canada provided a grant of $60,000 with the provision that the CCC's members contribute an equal amount in in-kind donations. Each new member was given a one-year exemption from any fees, but the CCC was planning to solicit annual dues based on the number of employees from current and future members.

The Cambie Corridor Consortium initiated the shuttle bus service. Before the service was implemented, hospitals were paying parking fees and mileage to employees who drove their cars between sites. These savings paid for the new shuttle service for their employees.

Measuring Achievements

Two surveys, (1994 and 1998) were conducted, and represent the views of staff at Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia. The average response rate for the two organizations was about 30% (about 1,500 people; note that the low response rate calls into question the representativeness of the data collected). The surveys measured attitudes, habits, barriers, and other opinions on the programs and services offered by the CCC.

In the case of the member hospitals, staff using the shuttle bus service completed an entry in a log book. CCC regularly tracked how many people were using the shuttle bus for trips between sites.

Feedback

The Transit kiosks set up at each member's work site were an effective way for employees to provide feedback on the programs and services. The primary kiosk, located at Vancouver General Hospital, was staffed seven hours a day.

An annual report on the transportation management plan from Vancouver General Hospital reported on changes in behaviour, survey results, staff levels, membership, and other details. The report was available to members and other interested parties.

Results

Results from the second survey conducted in 1998 showed increases in the use of alternative transportation. Since the initial 1994 survey, single occupancy vehicle drivers had dropped by 1.6%, transit use had increased by about 25%, and cycling had increased to 5.5% from 4.5%.

The number of walkers had increased tremendously since 1994. Previously, employees who lived a short distance away would drive to work so that they would have a car available during the day to make trips between sites. Almost 10% of all survey respondents said that they regularly walked to work. In addition, of the people responding to the 1998 survey, 85% said they no longer brought their car to work because the shuttle bus allowed them to travel between sites.

Eight hundred employees from the CCC members were using the reduced transit fare program in 1998. B.C. Transit has since expanded the program to more employers where employees can purchase a bus pass at a discount through payroll deduction.

Contacts

Ms. Bett Lauridsen
Transportation Management Coordinator
Cambie Corridor Consortium
855 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Z 1M9
Tel: 604-875-4118
Fax: 604-875-4608
E-mail: blaurids@vanhosp.bc.ca

This case study was written by Sharon Boddy, an Ottawa writer and editor, specializing insustainable transportation and energy efficiency issues. Contact Sharon at sboddy@ftn.net.

Funding for the addition of this case study was generously provided by the Government of Canadas Climate Change Action Fund, Suncor, Syncrude, Enbridge Consumers Gas and TetraPak Canada.

Notes

Lessons Learned

In its latest annual report, CCC offered several suggestions to overcome barriers to active and sustainable commuting. Some are specific to the Cambie area, but others are more general and would need support from all levels of government to establish a significant paradigm shift. TMAs are uniquely qualified to lobby municipal and provincial governments for changes as they represent a greater number of people than a single organization.

  • Legislation is needed to require employers to put trip reduction programs in place. This would make transportation management associations more attractive as they would reduce the overall costs of implementing trip reduction programs.
  • Transit services need to be improved in such areas as reliability and connections. In the case of Cambie, shift workers would benefit from 24-hour transit service.
  • High occupancy vehicle lanes for carpools should be established, and monitored regularly to avoid abuse of the lanes.
  • Auto insurance rates should be amended to encourage people to leave their car at home for part of the week.
  • Parking rates should be increased and bridge or highway tolls should be implemented.

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