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Gathering examples of sustainable transportation from around the world could improve the quality of life for people here in the Lower Mainland.
Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) is a Vancouver-based association that educates people about environmental, health and community issues surrounding transportation.
Since 1991, BEST has advocated for clean air, safer neighbourhoods, and environmentally-friendly transportation choices. It's done this by offering innovative programs (such as Go Green Choices, Commuter Challenge, Bike Month, Bike Share, and Idle-free Workplaces) that motivate people to cycle, walk, carpool, and use public transit.
The goal of this small organization is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, slow climate change, and ultimately to "lead the transformation to sustainable transportation."
Over the last decade, BEST has received six grants totalling more than $186,000 from the Vancouver Foundation. This level of support shows that BEST is considered an important organization when it comes to issues of climate change and environmentally-sound transportation.
With the latest grant from Vancouver Foundation, BEST will research successful examples of transportation demand management (TDM) across North America and will publish a summary of these "best practices" that are workable for the Vancouver region.
According to Margaret Mahan, Executive Director of BEST, this is a two-part project that first involves a survey of innovative TDM initiatives, and then a comprehensive analysis of "congestion pricing" models (an example of "congestion" or "road pricing" is London's toll for vehicles entering the downtown core). As part of the study, BEST continues to research alternatives to vehicular travel in communities.
The study has already found that "public response has been noted in the European applications to be a positive one, once the system was implemented, and a visible reduction in congestion could easily be perceived. European examples illustrate how an effective congestion charging program can serve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of air pollution."
The "Best Practices and Better Policies" project aims to increase public understanding and support for sustainable transportation in the Lower Mainland.
“Funding from Vancouver Foundation allows us to expand the scope of our work as conditions change in the world. The fact that they are 'first' funders of so many initiatives makes it possible to find new solutions to our efforts in addressing climate change.”
According to Mahan, "Funding from Vancouver Foundation allows us to expand the scope of our work as conditions change in the world. The fact that they are "first" funders of so many initiatives makes it possible to find new solutions to our efforts in addressing climate change."
BEST website: www.best.bc.ca
(Originally aired: 2007)
(Story written: 2007)