UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Suburb-to-suburb commuting and transit planning : a case study of Surrey, B.C. Murray, Peter S.


Rapid growth in suburb-to-suburb commuting has created a problem for transit providers: the dispersed commuting patterns are very difficult to serve with transit, and are characterized by low transit use. This thesis aims to determine which markets have the best potential for transit, and what factors could increase this potential. Surrey, B.C. is typical of the rapidly growing areas where suburb-to-suburb commuting is most prevalent. Commuting between Surrey and other suburban areas has increased sharply in recent years. A detailed examination of commuting patterns within Surrey revealed the highly dispersed nature of the work trip flows; the only flows which were concentrated to any degree were those between nodes with relatively high population and employment densities. A correlation was found between density, especially employment density, and transit use. Inter-nodal trips, which already have the greatest transit use among suburb-to-suburb trips, will be a key market for transit in the suburbs. Inter-nodal express service would help to address complaints that suburb-to-suburb transit service is too slow and indirect. Trips to and from the nodes will also be an important market. Intra-nodal trips, which presently have low transit use, form another key market which could possibly be served by a paratransit shuttle service. In Surrey, efforts have begun to address the issue of suburb-to-suburb transit in a comprehensive manner, but there has been little substantive progress to date. The case study results were used to develop a conceptual framework for suburb-to-suburb transit planning which could then be applied to other suburban areas facing similar problems. The framework calls for a wide array of transit and paratransit services, each filling a different market niche, which can be combined to create an integrated but flexible system. This system must be reinforced with land use strategies to promote greater densities, and more pedestrian and transit friendly design. Transportation demand management must also be used to encourage transit use by increasing the costs of driving an automobile. This three-pronged, comprehensive approach should allow transit to compete successfully in some suburban markets.

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