BC's Clean Transportation Action Plan
To: Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation
By email: email@example.com
From: BC Sustainable Energy Association
Date: 5 April 2023
Re: Input Toward a BC Clean Transportation Action Plan
The BC Sustainable Energy Association (BCSEA) is pleased to submit these comments toward the development of a BC Clean Transportation Action Plan (CTAP).1
BCSEA welcomes the Provincial Government’s development of an action plan that will introduce new measures, and strengthen existing measures,2 to reduce GHG emissions from BC’s transportation sector. As stated in the Ministry’s consultation document, transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in BC and emissions in this sector are rising. BCSEA considers that achievement of the Government’s GHG reduction target for the transport sector3 will be critical to the overall success of BC’s climate action work.
In this letter, BCSEA makes four general comments, and then addresses the questions in the consultation document.
First, BCSEA supports the broad definition of the transportation sector set out in the consultation document: “The transportation sector comprises all classes of on-road vehicles, and off-road vehicles such as those in mining, agricultural, forestry, port/airport, and construction, domestic marine vessels, domestic aircraft, and domestic rail.” Notably, this definition includes the movement of goods and materials as well as the movement of people. And the definition includes off-road, marine and air modes in addition to road transportation.
Second, BCSEA supports the multi-faceted themes identified for the transportation actions in the Roadmap: “Reduce distances traveled (vehicle
2 E.g., Zero-Emission Vehicles Act, Low Carbon Fuels Act, Active Transportation programs, initiatives to integrate transportation and land use planning, and the suite of Go Electric programs.
3 A transportation sector GHG emissions reduction target of 27-32% by 2030, relative to 2007.
kilometers traveled (VKT)), Shift to more efficient modes, Improve vehicle efficiency, Adopt zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), and Use cleaner fuels.”4
Third, regarding the target reduction of 25 percent in vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) BCSEA commends to the Ministry the BC Climate Solutions Council’s recommendation to prioritize policies that have the greatest promise to deliver not just reduced VKTs but also the GHG reductions need to meet B.C.’s target.5
Fourth, BCSEA suggests that the action plan should address the “resiliency” of the BC transportation system. This would include:
- identifying climate-related and other threats to BC’s transportation system, • developing resiliency criteria for BC’s transportation system, and • Developing a vision and conceptual framework for resiliency planning for BC’s transportation system.
Responses to Questions
- Reduce Distance Traveled and Increase Mode Shift
a) What are the key Provincial policy actions that need to be considered to achieve the VKT reduction and mode share targets, including in relation to the built environment/community design?
BCSEA suggests that the BC Government should:
- prioritize its support for transit, active transportation, micro-mobility and walkable communities, and reduce its spending on highways; • strengthen its measures aimed at increasing the compactness of urban and suburban design; and
- increase its support for inter-regional bus and rail connections for passengers, for example, passenger service on the Vancouver-Whistler rail line and on the Victoria-Courtney rail line.
b) What are the barriers, if any, in achieving these targets?
BCSEA highlights the following barriers to reducing BC’s VKT and shifting transportation modes:
- It takes time to reduce VKT through densification and reducing urban sprawl.
4 Consultation Document, p.1.
- Implementing multi-mode transportation systems and shifting the focus land use planning requires coordination and buy-in from many different governmental and non-governmental entities.
- Meeting the provincial targets for reducing VKT will require education and motivation of the general public.
c) What are the key actions your organization or sector can do to help achieve the VKT reduction and mode share targets, including actions in relation to the built environment/community design?
BCSEA can help reduce BC VKT by providing information and public discussion of climate change and energy transition issues that can help to build a social consensus of the need to change. For example, BCSEA provides the Cool It! Climate Leaders program in middle and high schools; BCSEA provides public webinars on topical issues; and BCSEA advocates for sustainable energy in BC Utilities Commission proceedings.
2. Adopt ZEVs
a) What are the key Provincial policy actions that need to be considered to achieve the ZEV targets?
BCSEA suggests that the BC Government should:
- Increase the effort to reduce GHG emissions from short range commercial freight transport and heavy duty freight and material movement. This would include electrifying drayage and the increased use of short-sea shipping (electrified if possible) as an alternative to road transportation. Support this work with incentives and tax credits;
- Increase ZEV rebates and purchase incentives for new light, medium and heavy-duty ZEVs; and
- Expand the EV fast charging network in the Province in accordance with the goals set in B.C.’s Electric Highway to ensure full coverage in rural and remote communities as well as urban and suburban centres.
3. Use Clean Fuels
a) What are the key Provincial policy actions that need to be considered to achieve the low carbon fuel target?
BCSEA recommends that the BC Government:
- Continue work to decarbonize liquid fuels,
- support the development of low carbon liquid fuels, and
- develop a vision and concept for the end game for liquid fuels, i.e., how the necessary GHG emissions reductions beyond 2030 will be achieved and how liquid fuels will fit in.
4. Prioritization of recommended actions
Which of the actions you have identified in questions 1-3 should be prioritized and why?
BCSEA would prioritize:
- Shifting taxpayer spending toward transit and active transportation and away from highway expansions.
- Developing a convenient multi-mode provincial transportation system, focused on transit, active transportation and walkable communities, with good connections between modes.
- Extending the ZEV Act to cover larger pick-up trucks and medium duty commercial vehicles.
5. Affordability and equity
Do you have any suggestions to help improve affordability and equity in British Columbia as part of the CTAP?
BCSEA considers that the best way to improve affordability and equity for clean transportation in BC is to foster a convenient multi-mode provincial transportation system, focused on transit, active transportation and walkable communities, with good connections between modes.
Tom Hackney, Policy Advisor