Transportation

Vehicle Use Growing Faster than Population

By Ted Mitchell
Published November 29, 2006

The Hamilton Spectator once again covers a critical issue without presenting it in an easily understood fashion.

Read the article "Traffic will grow with Mountain development", Monday November 27, 2006.

There are lots of numbers presented, but what is the big picture? Is the conclusion obvious? How about this analysis of the same numbers, which took me less than ten minutes:

403 - Linc QEW - 20 QEW - 403 Rymal - Centennial Cars Registered Pop Growth
start yr 1998 1988 1988 2001 1994 2001
end yr 2003 2003 2003 2005 2004 2011
net yrs 5 15 15 4 10 10
start flow 48100 77000 64200 14080 265696 490000
end flow 60100 127300 107500 16600 294874 540000
multiplier 1.25 1.65 1.67 1.18 1.11 1.10
annual % growth 4.56 3.41 3.50 4.20 1.05 0.98
check 60100 127300 107500 16600 294874 540000

The key here is the equivalent annual percentage growth.

We are growing in numbers and buying cars at about the same rate of about 1 percent annually. But on the roads, the use of vehicles is increasing about 3 to 4 times the rate of population growth.

One can also look at this from an economic standpoint (we all know that Council can do little else). As I understand it, real GDP growth is around 2-3 percent annually for Ontario. Likely, Hamilton is far below that. (Does anyone have an exact number?)

So whatever way you look at it, relative to dollars or people, we are now using cars very inefficiently.

Ted Mitchell is a Hamilton resident, emergency physician and sometimes agitator who recently completed a BEng at McMaster University. He is fascinated by aspects of our culture that are harmful, but avoid serious public discussion.

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By jason (registered) | Posted November 29, 2006 at 13:32:19

I'm sure a new big box centre at the QEW/Hwy 20 will help that area keep pace with the other areas as well. Right now, that's the lonely 'intersection' below 3.5% annual growth rate.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted November 29, 2006 at 13:54:36

That's what passes for a "balanced transportation system" in the Hammer. :P

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