In this report, PSD – together with project partners Vancouver, Surrey, and TransLink – explores the problem of congestion and demonstrates how Canadian communities specifically identify, measure, and act in response to the congestion challenge.

The first section of the report defines congestion using a literary scan of definitions that have been published by various traffic organizations. We find that the congestion is a layered term with two prominent aspects: a physical one and a relative one. The second section explains how congestion is measured. Some indicators measure congestion intensity, some measure travel time, others measure fuel consumption statistics and multi-modal delays across a wider transportation network. In the third section, findings are presented from our traffic congestion survey completed by 29 municipalities and organizations across Canada. Most survey respondents representing different communities answered that congestion is a problem and most have a means of measuring congestion in order to better grasp and tackle the challenge. Consequently, every surveyed community reported to have implemented some type of method to reduce congestion. The type of measures used, however, varied.

Lastly, in this report we showcase innovative solutions – HOT lanes, road charge programs, and smart parking – that leading North American communities are implementing in order to address the congestion challenge. We demonstrate that despite political and financial hurdles, these are measures that have been implemented successfully by other communities.