Study: developer incentives have major impact on transit
The results show that developer-granted incentives can lead to more transit use.
Sunlight hits residential towers on the SkyTrain’s Evergreen line. – Province of B.C.
- Transit passes issued by a developer to residents in transit-oriented buildings increased their transit use by 10%
- Approximately 50 percent of the participants did not own private vehicles, indicating a reduced reliance on personal cars.
- TransLink is actively seeking partners to support a larger-scale study conducted over an extended period.
The Whole Story:
Early research conducted by TransLink and PCI Developments (PCI) suggests that incentives provided by developers can significantly increase the use of public transit among residents and employees of transit-oriented developments.
Moreover, the study found that these incentives also create a new source of revenue for transit services. Officials say the findings shed light on the potential of encouraging developers to offer transit passes as part of their projects to promote sustainable transportation options and enhance the financial sustainability of transit systems.
“This study gives us a clearer picture of how people travel when they work or live near SkyTrain,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. “These results show that developer-granted incentives would lead to more transit use, less car-dependency, and a new revenue stream independent from taxes.”
The study involved PCI providing Compass Cards with $150 stored value to 300 residents or employees of King George Hub, a transit-oriented development located near the King George SkyTrain Station. TransLink closely monitored the travel patterns of the participants before and after the subsidy was implemented, while also conducting surveys to gather valuable insights. The results of the three-month study revealed an increase of approximately 10 percent in transit use among the participants.
Prior to receiving the subsidy, 82 percent of participants reported using transit twice a week or more. However, after the subsidy was introduced, this number surged to an impressive 92 percent. Officials said that the growth suggests that individuals who choose to live or work near rapid transit options like the SkyTrain are more inclined to use public transportation when provided with subsidized transit passes.
TransLink stated that it intends to share these results with regional municipalities, highlighting the potential benefits of developer-sponsored incentives. In addition to promoting increased transit use, the study revealed several other findings. Approximately 50 percent of the participants did not own private vehicles, indicating a reduced reliance on personal cars. Furthermore, about 40 percent of the participants reported owning only one vehicle per household. Over the course of the three-month pilot, the 300 participants collectively took more than 12,000 transit trips.
While these initial findings are certainly promising, officials noted that they are based on a relatively small sample size and a short timeframe. Recognizing the need for further research, TransLink is actively seeking partners to support a larger-scale study conducted over an extended period. They believe that by replicating these results on a broader scale, transit authorities can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential impact of developer-sponsored incentives on transit usage and revenue generation.