BC Southern Interior Regional Ground Transportation Study Released
The Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC) is pleased to announce the release of the BC Southern Interior Regional Ground Transportation Study final report.
Funding to carry out this study was announced in May 2023 by the Province of BC. Funding was provided to ETSI-BC along with its counterparts, Northern Development and Island Coastal Economic Trust.
The objectives of the Southern Interior Regional Ground Transportation Study were to identify existing ground passenger transportation services in the region, with a focus on the connections between Southern Interior BC communities and in rural areas not served by existing public transportation. The study also sought input on what is working, priorities for change, and potential stakeholder roles in future transportation options.
The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) will use the outcomes of the study to help inform next steps for developing options on transportation solutions in rural communities. ETSI-BC hopes the report will also support communities in the Southern Interior to make progress on their transportation goals.
ETSI-BC engaged WATT Consulting Group to carry out the study with support from Toop Consulting, overseen by a Working Group encompassing community representatives from around the region. The project team carried out engagement sessions and a survey of stakeholder organizations to identify regional ground transportation challenges and opportunities across the Southern Interior. Engagement participants included representatives from First Nation communities, Regional Districts and municipalities, academia, tourism and economic development practitioners, transportation providers, and institutions including the Passenger Transportation Board, Interior Health, and BC Transit.
ETSI-BC and the consulting team on this study sincerely appreciate the contributions from our 17 Working Group members, 24 Roundtable Meeting participants and 186 Survey Respondents.
Some of the region’s ground passenger transportation challenges identified in the study include: limited regional transit connectivity, gaps in public transportation to access medical services, lack of transportation options to support both tourism and economic development, need for transportation to access housing opportunities, and other region-specific challenges related to climate, geography and existing infrastructure.
Two key opportunities are outlined in the study. First, a public transportation service framework and communication tools that can more easily enable access to the three layers of services that are already present in the region: inter-regional connections, regional connections and local connections. In addition to better conveying what is already present, each layer has gaps to be filled. The other opportunity is the ecosystem of existing public transportation funding. All known funding programs are detailed in the study on pages 42 and 43.
Study recommendations are summarized in four categories: technology & coordination, funding, policy & regulatory frameworks, and technical studies. Each recommendation outlined in this study requires collaboration and partnerships, demonstrating the importance that we all work together to enhance ground transportation services across our region. The potential partners are identified for each action in the study recommendations. ETSI-BC will be launching a funding program early this fall to address a portion of the funding recommendations.
Click here to read the BC Southern Interior Regional Ground Transportation Study final report.
Laurel Douglas, CEO, ETSI-BC said, “We would like to thank the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI) for the funding to undertake this study. As a regional economic trust, we know that inter-city ground transportation is important to the economic and social needs of our residents. We’re pleased to have been able to contribute to the region’s understanding of this topic, and we will work to encourage the relevant parties to act upon the recommendations in this important study.”