Land use and transportation

Local Governments have an important role to play in creating complete, compact and connected communities through plans and decisions about land use, housing, open spaces, and transportation.

These plans and decisions influence future directions in built form, travel behaviour, and access to amenities that impact human well-being, resilience, and equity.

Planning and land use decisions can “lock-in” growth patterns in the built environment directly and indirectly. In many BC communities, low-density, single-use, and dispersed growth patterns are increasing car dependency and resource use while fragmenting natural landscapes with roads. As personal vehicle use increasingly becomes the most viable option for getting around, a self-reinforcing cycle of increased automobile dependence and sprawling, single-use development patterns results. To address this, planning and land use decisions should support a mix of complementary land uses, appropriate density, a variety of housing types, access to transportation choices, and a connection to nature.

Integrating transportation planning into land use decisions enables people to walk, bicycle and take public transit more often to access jobs, services, and places of interest rather than needing to drive. With complete street design, trip distances, kilometers travelled in single-occupant vehicles, and transportation emissions are minimized [1] while greater access to amenities is supported. Planning that encourages the use of alternative transportation modes also contributes to better health outcomes [2], reduces infrastructure costs [3], and benefits other community sustainability outcomes such as preserving natural areas and agricultural land. [4]

Success stories

New Westminister's Waterfront Park (image courtesy of City of New Westminister)
November 22, 2018
New Westminister transforms an industrial brownfield into an urban waterfront parkland benefiting the environment and enhancing community liva...
Revelstoke’s Resort Shuttle Bus (image courtesy of City of Revelstoke)
June 7, 2018
Revelstoke's collaborative approach to meeting the demand for transportation between the resort and the community helps reduce traffic in the ...