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Background and Guiding Principles

Transportation Working for Everyone


We believe that transportation cannot be thought of as just a means to an end but as a key influence on very many aspects of our lives. Surrey is a diverse, vibrant and growing City and we are working hard on making it an even better place to live and work by tackling crime, incorporating sustainability principles in our decision making, providing the right conditions for employment, enhancing the environment in which we live and improving the liveability of our neighbourhoods and town centres. How the transportation system is planned, improved and operated is fundamental to making these changes happen.To reflect the importance transportation has in delivering these goals, we developed 6 Principles that we believed represented what a good transportation system should achieve.

  • Effectively and efficiently managing the road network
  • Providing more travel choice
  • Improving the safety and health of our communities
  • Supporting the economic well-being of the City
  • Protecting the environment
  • Integrating transportation with land use

Adoption of these principles will help Surrey move towards a sustainable, efficient, cost effective, affordable, accessible and environmentally sound transportation system. They also allow us to properly examine the issues around transportation, develop strategies to deal with these and provide a framework for monitoring and communicating our progress.


The Transportation Vision reflects Surrey’s social, environmental, sustainability and economic aspirations that are all key parts of our overall community objectives and which are described within the 6 guiding principles and shaped by our consultation. It seeks to establish important directions and outcomes explaining what we will achieve and why. The detailed how, who, when and where will be addressed through the various policies, programs, funding systems and targets contained in the Strategy.

It is the Year 2031 and Surrey is a vibrant community of 680,000 persons forming the activity centre of the Fraser Valley. Multi-use town centres are high density with mixed use along connecting corridors and transit has operating priority within these corridors.Compact, mixed use communities emphasizing a sense of place, have pedestrian, cycling and transit friendly design.Transit, highways, arterials, the efficient movement of goods and services and parking are planned and co-ordinated throughout the City. The percentage of trips made by walking, cycling, transit and high occupancy autos continues to increase while the percentage of trips made by single occupant auto continues to decrease.The average distance and travel time for peak hour commuter travel within Surrey continues to decline. The citizens, regardless of age, income or disability, enjoy universal access to transportation and the services, educational and recreational opportunities it provides. Transportation infrastructure is in a good state of repair and is adequately funded from stable and sustainable revenue sources. Surrey’s political leaders have the support of a well informed public in making decisions on urban development and the supporting transportation systems.

To help emphasize that transportation cannot be considered in isolation and that it is a means to an end this Strategy summarizes the Vision in the following way:

  • At the centre of the Surrey Transportation Vision is a system that will be efficient, equitable, safe and sustainable.
  • Safe, livable and healthy communities, with good access to local jobs, education, services and facilities and an improving environment will be the result.

To achieve this there will be more choice and better access to transport, land uses that emphasizes compact and complete communities and a modern and well funded infrastructure.

We will keep improving by having an informed and engaged public, strong partnerships with others, supportive political leaders and sustainable investment.

“Transportation Working For Everyone”


Transportation has always ben a hot topic for people. We all have our views on what is good and bad about our transportation system and it is guaranteed to generate strong opinions and argument. This is because travel and transportation are such an important part of our lives. The City recognizes that consultation is a fundamental part of the planning of the Transportation Strategy. In undertaking our consultation some key principles were established as minimum requirements as to how we wanted our consultation to take place:

  • Involve a wide group of opinions and views
  • Ensure that all members of the community with different transportation needs are given opportunity to contribute including youth, seniors, women, people with mobility dicfficulties and people with families
  • Establish local issues and priorities
  • Employ a range of consultation methods so that we receive broad and representative public comment and feedback


The Vision was influenced by our consultation. It was undertaken using the 6 principles as a framework to organize the issues identified and the priorities we were told about by the public and stakeholders. In response, the City developed a range of 6 Strategic Objectives which provide the high level direction for how we want transportation to move forward in the City. For each of these, there are specific Service Objectives which describe in more detail how we plan to turn our Vision in a range of policies and actions.

The Strategic Objectives and Service Delivery Objectives



It is important that there is a clear appreciation of the fundamental importance that a well operated and maintained transportation infrastructure has in the delivery of the City’s transportation vision and the increasing demands there are in keeping assets working efficiently, serviceable and preserved for the future. As public expectations rise, the amount of infrastructure that is in place expands and the use and demands placed upon it rise, the proportion of budgetary demands from the total “transportation pot” will likely have to increase if the City is to avoid a deteriorating transportation infrastructure in the future.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Need for increased expenditure on maintenance to deal with potholes and rough road surfaces
  • Improved winter maintenance
  • Highlighting rapid deterioration of road pavements after period s of extreme winter weather
  • A perception of “piecemeal” approach to road maintenance
  • Strong public support for completion of the planned road network
  • Noise caused by truck traffic on uneven and potholed roads
  • Deformation of some traffic lanes where high truck volumes exist.
  • Increasing complexity of the transportation system and the need for new and innovative engineering approaches

Efficiently manage, maintain and improve the transportation system for all modes

  • Maintain and Improve the transportation asset and promote best value in asset maintenance and rehabilitation
  • Establish sustainable and predictable funding streams
  • Use collision data to help inform maintenance programs



The main purpose of the transportation system is to provide access for people to services, recreation, jobs, food and to other people. Surrey has a diverse population with diverse needs. Not everyone is Surrey is being fully served by the transportation system. A poor transportation system disproportionally affects the young, the elderly, low waged or recent immigrants. Having safe, convenient and affordable transportation helps ensure that everyone can participate fully and equally. Good access to transport in its broadest sense is important and relevant to everyone.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Poor transit service identified as the number 1 issue during public consultation
  • 88% of public agreed that “Transit should be as convenient and attractive as driving a car on City Roads”
  • About 12% (about 50,000) of Surrey’s residents do not have unhindered access to a car
  • High level of public priority given to sidewalk provision
  • Incomplete and piecemeal bicycle network

Promote alternative and sustainable travel choice and provide better accessibility to jobs, education, health and recreation for all

  • Promote alternatives to car by improving transit
  • Promote alternatives to the car by improving walking and cycling
  • Protect and improve transportation infrastructure in support of strategic trabnsit expansion and upgrades
  • Integrate behavioural change initiatives with transportation improvements



Promoting safer communities is a key element of the Transportation Strategy. It looks at safety in terms of the risk of being hurt when using our roads but also in terms of personal safety and security. Consultation has shown that road safety issues are of concern to people and consultation through the Crime Reduction Strategy has shown that crime and the fear of crime are also a high priority for the public.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Lack of understanding of City role in road safety
  • Pedestrian Safety identified as a priority within City Centre
  • Lack of respect for traffic laws – speeding, red light running, not stopping for pedestrians at crossings. 49% of public identify need for “considerable or lots of improvement”
  • Need for more driver education on traffic laws and safety a priority
  • Truck traffic off of truck routes
  • Neighbourhood traffic speeds but mixed response to traffic calming – although supported some concerns about too much being introduced.
  • Pedestrian safety and absence of sidewalks. 71% of public described safe sidewalks and walking paths as “important” or “very important”
  • Crosswalk safety – signing, lighting, pavement markings
  • Personal safety when using transit at night

Improve Community Safety, Health and Quality of Life

  • Undertake physical measures to improve safety of all road users
  • Promote a culture of road and community safety into all aspects of engineering services
  • Raise awareness of road safety and encourage safer travel in partnership with others
  • Reduce Crime and the Fear of Crime
  • Improve Community health and quality of life



Transportation plays a significant role in supporting Surrey’s economic development. The businesses and institutions located within our employment lands are valued as being critical to the short, medium and long term economic and social viability of the City. Within Surrey, we want to see a modern, responsive and efficient transportation system that is capable of supporting the competitiveness of our businesses and boost productivity and access to local, national and international markets. The emphasis of the City’s Economic Development Strategy is to maintain Surrey’s economic position within the region while supporting local business growth. The existing and future capacity, location and alignment of transportation infrastructure within Surrey and within the Metro Vancouver region are critical factors which will influence the demand for employment lands and land zoning.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Congestion and intersection delays – Highest ranked improvement area during public consultation with 71% of respondents describing this as needing “considerable or lots of improvement”
  • Inefficient operation of traffic signals
  • Perceived piecemeal approach to road construction
  • Completion of the planned road network a priority for the public
  • Impact of truck traffic
  • Rapid growth of the City and concerns over the ability to provide the supporting transportation infrastructure

Reduce congestion and support the sustainable economic development and vitality of Surrey

  • Promote access to economic lands for people and goods
  • Provide transportation infrastructure and services that support sustainable economic growth
  • Relieve congestion
  • Influence and manage transportation demand and supply



Transportation has led to huge improvements in our quality of life by giving individuals unprecedented opportunities to travel and access better jobs and a better life. Surrey’s natural environment is a high priority of its residents. It faces real and growing pressures from the expansion of the City. The importance of dealing with growth in ways that minimize environmental impacts is vital and this is a particular challenge with respect to transportation.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Air quality issues associated with traffic
  • Truck movements and the management of goods movement
  • Disruption to wildlife corridors
  • Recognition of contribution of transportation to greenhouse gas emissions
  • Need for heavy and sustained investment in transit

Reduce the impacts of transportation on the built and natural environment

  • Reduce the impacts of road freight
  • Reduce the impacts of traffic on air quality and climate change
  • Reduce the impacts of traffic on water quality, vegetation, trees and land consumption



As the responsible authority for guiding development, Surrey is a lead player in promoting sustainable, pedestrian, cycle and transit friendly communities that are well served by all aspects of the transportation system. Many aspects of travel demand such as origin and destination locations, lengths of trips and choice of mode are shaped by land use patterns so how and where we plan and direct growth in the City is probably the most fundamental determinant of the nature and scope of the transportation system we have and how far it will be possible to move towards reduced dependence on the car. With the high growth rates we see in Surrey, there is big potential to bring about a change in the status quo within the life of this Strategy.

Consultation feedback, priorities and issues
  • Support for facilities to be located within walking and cycling distances - shopping schools and leisure
  • Need for more integration of transit with new development
  • Transportation servicing and road building – perception of City “catching up”
  • Incomplete road network and missing links. Public support for completion of planned road network
  • Current poor transit services but an expectation of change through the South of Fraser Area Transit Plan and development of the Frequent Transit Network (FTN)
  • OCP Update
  • Rapid growth of City and the lag in transit provision with missed opportunities for transit to shape growth

Promote integration between transportation and land use planning

  • Co-ordinate transit investment with land use planning in support of high density, mixed use and compact development
  • Promote integrated and universal transportation elements within development projects so that they can be support other means than the private car
  • Improve and enhance Surrey’s Town centres and City centre by promoting integration with transit