How can we build our homes and communities so that they co-exist harmoniously with Nature? What does it mean to create a sustainable house, a sustainable community, a sustainable city? For each additional day that we live, design and build unsustainably, we pull another fibre out of the fabric of Earth’s ecosystems.

Bamberton Transportation &
Trip Reduction Plan

Draft Position Paper (Incomplete)

Bamberton is a proposed new town that will be built over 20 years on the site of the old cement works on the Saanich Inlet, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. It will be a different kind of town. It is being designed to engender human community, a sense of belonging, and a positive vision of the future. It will embody ecological sustainability, community values, traditional style neighbourhoods, and its own local economy.

Bamberton is only 40 minutes drive from Greater Victoria (pop'n 300,000), and as such, is within easy commuting reach of the city. An increasing number of residents in the South Cowichan Valley, where Bamberton is located, are commuting into Victoria on a daily basis, almost all in single occupancy vehicles. There are increasing complaints about congestion on the roads, especially in the rush hour periods.

Bamberton is being designed as a town where people can live, work and belong, as far as is practicable, and enjoy an environmentally sustainable, satisfying pattern of living.

With this in mind, the following strategies are being pursued :

1. A comprehensive strategy to design and build a self-contained community and local economy at Bamberton.

The average citizen makes 10 'trips' a day, to go to work, school, shopping, the corner store, etc. By being designed with its own schools, shops, recreational facilities and businesses, 6 of these trips will be contained within Bamberton, representing a 60% reduction of traffic on the highway, when compared to a normal subdivision which has none of these facilities. 215 people have so far expressed an interest in establishing a business at Bamberton, in 8 different sectors of activity (construction & development; added-value wood products; environmental technologies; telecommuting & computer services; education & ecotourism; community services, retail & home-based businesses; the arts).

2. Pedestrian & minibus for internal travel

(a) The village and street design encourages pedestrian travel, as the houses are designed to be within 5 minutes walk of a village centre. A neetwork of footpaths and cut-throughs is also being designed.

(b) The possibility of a biofuel community minibus to service the community for longer trips inside Bamberton is being explored.

(c) Bamberton is on steep land, which is not cycle-friendly. The minibus will carry bicycle racks, so that those who cycle down to the town centre can put their bikes on the bus for the return trip.

(d) Electric golfcarts for internal trips are also being considered.

3. A sustainable transportation and trip reduction strategy.

There will be residents of Bamberton who wish to commute into Victoria. The process of commuting in a single occupancy vehicle has few advantages, and many drawbacks. The advantages are personal, in that it allows freedom of movement once in Victoria, and personal independence. The disadvantages are personal, social and environmental : (1) the TransCanada Highway (the road in question) is fast and dangerous, especially at night and in wintery conditions; (2) the congestion of cars entering and leaving Victoria at rush hour is chronic; (3) the negative effect on the quality of life in Victoria from too many cars is increasing every year; (4) ground level pollution due to commuter traffic is noticeable, especially in the Colwood area; (5) each car which commutes daily from Bamberton to Victoria will use 1444 litres of gas, and release around 5.2 tones of carbon dioxide.

The Bamberton Sustainable Transportation and Trip Reduction Strategy has 4 main components :

(1). To develop a 'Park and Ride' facility on Bamberton land near the highway interchange, to encourage and facilitate car-pooling and the use of transit for the region as a whole, educing the number of cars on the TransCanada Highway.

(2). To establish a Community Car Pool, using the 'Easy Rider' software, which every resident will be invited to join as soon as they move to Bamberton. To develop a community culture which makes it feel odd to drive into Victoria in a single occupancy car, without first checking to see who else might want a ride in.

(3). To develop a Transit service into Victoria and Duncan, either with Island Coach Lines, or by establishing an independent transit service. The existing region is very poorly serviced for transit, as the houses are scattered so widely, through bad land-use planning. Bamberton will have a more dense population, which makes it 'transit-friendly'.

(4). To appoint a Community Transportation Administrator, to coordinate and maximize carpooling, transit, flexiwork otions, worksharing, telecommuting and teleconferencing among the residents, with back-up, training and support from BC Transit's 'Go Green' programme.

4. A strategy to develop Bamberton as a centre for telecommuting.

When a satellite office was opened recently in Langford, 30 minutes drive west of Victoria, 80 people applied for the 14 places. Many of the people who currently commute into Victoria from the Cowichan Valley work in large provincial government offices which are ideally suited for decentralization to satellite offices. The appropriateness of satellite office development as a substitute for daily commuting offers one of those rare situations where everyone gains, including the environment. Teleworking brings increased productivity, improved quality of working life, reduced absenteeism, increased personal and family time, less ground-level pollution, reduced parking pressure, and a decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. Being wired with fibre optic cabling, and designed to encourage a strong sense of neighbourhood and community, Bamberton is well situated to become a centre for teleworking.

The overall goals of the sustainable transportation strategy, as a whole, are a 65% reduction in the level of automobile traffic normally associated with a town of this size, and a 65% reduction in CO2 emissions, over 20 years, compared to the BC average.


From the Industrial to the Information Age

Bamberton is being planned as a new town for 12,000 people, to be built over 20 years, on the site of the old cement works, 20 miles north of Victoria. Where the cement works is a 'perfect' representation of the industrial age, Bamberton will in turn become a showcase for the post-industrial age, or the Information Age.

One of the key differentials between the two ages lies in the technology base. The Industrial Age was based on non-renewable fossil fuels and resource extraction. The Information Age is based on light, and the electromagnetic spectrum, which are renewable and inexhaustible.

In the peak years of the Industrial Age, 60% of the working population worked in factories and workshops, and we had to travel to our places of work. In the Information Age, the work can travel to us. We can "commute" along the telecommunications system, instead of along roads. One of Bamberton's central design elements is that residents will be able to live, work, play and learn at Bamberton, without having to travel into Victoria or Duncan on a constant basis. 60% of the working population now works at informatin processing of one kind or another, and the home is the No. 1 source of economic development. (70% of all small business start-ups are happening in the home, University of Manitoba Faculty of Management Studies, 1992).

In the Industrial Age, we took resource-use for granted. Generally speaking, we were ignorant of the environmental impacts of our actions. To this day, highways engineers are not expected to produce a CO2 impact statement for each highways project, or to correlate their plans with the plans being made by the Ministry of the Environment to reduce CO2 emissions by 20%. Both motoring itself, and parking specifically, are heavily subsidized, which further removes the incentive for people to plan transportation alternatives in a rational manner.

As a consciously post-industrial town, Bamberton has four features which distinguish it from most other subdivisions and developments which will have an impact on Bamberton's Transportation and Trip Reduction Plan :

1. The commitment to community wholeness.

The community is being designed to encourage people to know each other and to "look out" for each other. Proposals for car-pooling or shared transit are likely to be popular, since people will know each other, just a they used to in most pre-war communities, and there will be a higher level of inter-personal trust than is the norm in most modern suburban neighbourhoods.

2. The commitment to ecological sustainability.

This entails an unusual degree of care and attention to issues such as soil-use, energy, water, air quality, ozone depletion and global warming. Worldwide, CO2 emissions are responsible for 50% of global warming, and emissions from motor vehicles are among the greatest contributors : each pasenger vehicle contributes an average of 5 tonnes of CO2 per year. In keeping with the commitment to the goal of ecological sustainability, it is therefore important that a strategy be developed to reduce CO2 emissions stemming from the use of fossil fuels in transportation. ("Car-use boom to rival population crisis as world threat - United Nations study").

3. The commitment to the development of a sustainable local economy.

Since commuting is such a major source of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, and also detracts from the quality of community life, plans are well advanced to develop a mixed, diverse post-industrial economy at Bamberton. A Bamberton Business Network has been formed, with over 140 members (as of Nov 28th 1992) who have expressed an interest in locating a business at Bamberton. The overall goal is for 5,000 jobs to be established within Bamberton, over 20 years. The existence of a local economy is the single biggest contribution which Bamberton can make to reducing the impact of traffic at peak hours on the Malahat.

4. The commitment to building a high-intelligence infrastructure

The use of a fibre-optic grid to build high capacity telecommunications facilities and wide band-width serving the community as a whole is anticipated. This will facilitate the establishment of satellite offices at Bamberton, and enable existing Victoria commuters from the CVRD's South End to work from offices in Bamberton, instead of commuting into Victoria over the Malahat.

Some basic statistics

Bamberton will have 12,000 residents, over 20 years, with 250 units being built each year, accomodating 600 new residents per year.

On South Island's estimates, based on a combination of market and community economic analysis, 30% of the units will be occupied by people working within the Bamberton economy, 30% will be occupied by people who are retired or early retired, 30% will occupied by people commuting into the Duncan or Victoria area, and 10% will be owned by 2nd home owners, and rented out. For the purposes of this analysis, we shall assume that those renting out are 1/3rd working locally, 1/3rd commuting and 1/3rd retired. With a 55% workforce participation rate, some 330 out of each year's 600 people will be part of the workforce, 50% of whom will work locally, and 50% of whom will commute (since the retired will do neither). The work breakdown will look approximately as follows :

Working Commuting Total

locally working

1994 165 165 330

2004 1650 1650 3300

2014 3300 3300 6600

Of the 5,000 jobs created at Bamberton, it is being assumed that 3,300 will be taken by local Bamberton residents, and 2,700 by other local people living in the region. The number of potential commuters from Bamberton into Victoria or Duncan, by this calculation, is 2,700 per day, after 20 years.

Two Scenarios

To highlight the choices confronting Bamberton, it is useful to examine three alternative scenarios, both from the year 2014.

In Scenario A, the habits, values and attitudes of the Industrial Age are assumed to continue. The 2,700 Bamberton residents who work in Victoria or Duncan travel there each day in single occupancy vehicles, and park in downtown Victoria or Duncan.

A : Total commuting vehicles leaving Bamberton = 2,700 per day

In Scenario B, there is a gradual shift in habits, values and atitudes, as people become more conscious of environmental issues, and as the post-industrial age begins to become established. Out of the 2,700 commuters, 5% (135) now work from a satellite office located at Bamberton, and do not commute at all. 25% (675) travel either to Victoria or Duncan by regular organized transit. A further 35% (945) choose to carpool 3 to a car, avoiding both the strain of driving and the cost of parking. 35% (945) still drive in single occupancy vehicles.

B : Total commuting vehicles leaving Bamberton = 1283 per day.

Buses : 23 (30 pasengers per bus)

Cars : 945 s.o.v. + 315 car-pooled = 1260

In Scenario C, values and attitudes have made a major shift, assisted by policy decisions designed to encourage community and environmental sustainability. Of the 2,700 would be commuters, 15% (405) now work out of satellite offices; 50% (1,350) travel by transit; 30% (810) carpool, and 5% (135) use single ocupancy vehicles.

C : Total commuting vehicles leaving Bamberton = 450 per day.

Buses : 45

Cars : 135 s.o.v + 270 car-pooled = 405

2. Existing transportation arrangements; costs; environmental factors; future growth; Malahat widening cost projections. Heavy subsidization of parking in Victoria, and its role in attracting the s-o-v car option.

3. 20 year projections : Bamberton & South End traffic flows, problems, goals. 1990 - 37,500 vehicles per day, Mill Bay - Victoria

4. The Transportation Plan

(a) Park and Ride

Use of land by the highway underpass; effects on car-pooling & transit potentials in the South End. Practical issues involved. The bicycle connection. Motorized bikes. Golf carts.

(b) Commuter Club / Car-pooling

'Commuter Connections' existing activities, using 'Easy Rider'. Scope for expansion; possible expansion activities we could assist with. Forming a Commuter Club at Bamberton.

(c) Transit arrangements

Existing Duncan- Victoria run. Possibilities for special up-market 'Bamberbus'. Extension of existng service. Costs; take-up possibilities.

(d) Satellite Offices

Figures on the benefits of telecommuting; potentials and costs of installing satellite offices at Bamberton.

(e) Other Options

E & N Railway. Metropolitan Rail (LRT). LUTRAQ. Marine transportation.

(f) A Regional ETA for Bamberton + South End

BC Transit's 'Go Green' program; training of ETAs. Role of a regional ETA in coordinating a trip reduction strategy. Costs, possibilities.

Guy Dauncey

Environmental consultant, Bamberton

May 4th 1993