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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 9 | Sep. 4, 2003

First ComPASS Study Begins

By Brian Lin

For the first time in Canada, researchers will study if a community transportation pass will reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Led by UBC’s TREK Program Centre and funded in part by a $100,000 research grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the current phase of the pilot project will give 14 families in the UBC neighbourhood a free community transportation pass for two months this fall.

The ComPASS will be modelled after the student U-Pass, approved by a student referendum with the largest voter turn-out in UBC’s history. Starting this month, U-Pass gives students access to transit across three zones and costs $20 per month, less than one-third of a one-zone bus pass.

The families’ experiences will be documented by video and an in-depth study will determine whether access to low transit fares, car-sharing, bicycle programs and a guaranteed emergency ride home will increase transit use, says TREK Director Gord Lovegrove.

A preliminary study last fall surveyed 250 families in the Vancouver West Side. Half the families then received a free bus pass and researchers recorded changes in their transportation use.

“We chose this neighbourhood because we know it is already well-served by public transit,” explains Lovegrove. “A main component of any community transportation pass program is reliable transit service.”

Later this year, a random survey of 1,000 families in the GVRD will help determine the overall response to such a program.
“TransLink and the City of Vancouver are both partners in this project,” says Lovegrove. “The results of all three phases of this project will be used in future discussions with TransLink and other community partners, such as Co-operative Auto Network, about the possibility of providing community transportation passes to the entire GVRD area.”

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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