Induced Demand: Predictions on Port-Mann Traffic

The New Port Mann (Under Construction) is expected to save commuters an hour a day according to the Transport Minister.

BC’s New Transport Minister has spoken. The Port Mann will open months ahead of schedule, soundly shattering the record for the world’s widest bridge, and will be “free to use for the first week. This toll-free period will allow drivers to experience time-saving benefits of reducing commute times by up to 50 per cent and save drivers as much as an hour.” Really?

The bureaucrats in Victoria clearly have never heard of Induced Demand.

So the point is: Port Mann will open cost free with 4 lanes for one week and the duration until December, and during the 1st Weekday with the 8 lanes, Traffic will be congested to an unimaginable extent. Transit will surely be almost completely empty, as commuters even from N. Delta will surely take a detour to try out the new Port Mann.That means hour long waits on the 1st day.

Now, the 2nd free day.  News and Media report front page news on the traffic headaches of the 1st day, which deters many. Significantly less traffic than the 1st day, but still, the “Induced Demand” concept still applies. Commuters that otherwise take transit or take the Pattulio or Queensburough would continue to try out the new bridge that otherwise be a buck to cross. Traffic steadily increases throughout the week and gets to similar, but slightly lower levels to Monday on Friday.

So in other words, my guess is that the 1st day on the Port Mann will be like the 1st day for the Canada Line: Busiest in its history. Therefore, I conclude that the Port Mann, the widest bridge in the World, will experience its maximum usage for its lifespan on the very first day.

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But it’s not over yet. The Transport Minister must see the effects of Tolling on Traffic Levels: [Here] and [Here]. In other words, the Port Mann will become exactly what the Golden Ears was: a failure. The 8 lanes (and 10 after the first few months) will carry the volume only needed with 4 lanes. So what I am saying: Motor Traffic will be LOWER than current old bridge levels!

Heck, the biggest groups who will increase usage would be: 1) Tourists wanting to cross a record breaking bridge including bike riders and people out for leisure rides; and 2) Transit Users… that is, as long as the Property tax increase is approved by the mayors.

So in conclusion, the transport minister is right in a sense. The port mann WILL save commuters up to an hour a day, not because of a wider bridge, but because of the traffic discouraged by the tolls, and the commuters that switch to the 555 Braid bus.

So my question to Mr Falcon and Polak is: Why build a new bridge for a few billion dollars when traffic levels will be lower than the old bridge? Lets wait and see.