Rapid transit key to unlocking potential of UBC/Broadway corridor: study

UBC anchors Vancouver’s Broadway Corridor with an annual economic impact of $10 billion. (Image from UBC.)
UBC anchors Vancouver’s Broadway Corridor with an annual economic impact of $10 billion. (Image from UBC.)

Vancouver – The City of Vancouver and the University of British Columbia recently released a KPMG study that shows the employment and population of the UBC/Broadway corridor will grow by 150,000 in the next 30 years and a rail-based rapid transit system is needed to meet the corridor’s population growth and significant economic potential.

The report, called The UBC-Broadway Corridor – Unlocking the Economic Potential, recommends a rail-based rapid transit system be built to serve the rapid growth of the corridor. (Down the study’s Executive Summary here.)

The report further notes that the UBC/Broadway corridor is the key geographic connection between Vancouver’s central business district and regional business centres and communities in Metro Vancouver, but it needs rapid transit to better link it to the region.

“The economic potential of the UBC/Broadway corridor is tremendous,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The health care, technology and life science sectors, combined with UBC’s research enterprise, set the stage for significant growth. We need a subway rapid transit system that will allow us to compete with tech hubs like Toronto and New York City and unleash the additional economic and investment potential along the corridor.”

The UBC/Broadway corridor, which runs from Commercial Drive to UBC’s Point Grey campus, is BC’s second largest business and innovation area and North America’s busiest bus route. More than 200,000 people currently live and work in the area and 50 percent of the corridor transit riders currently come from beyond Vancouver.

“UBC has helped transform this corridor into one of North America’s fastest growing life science and technology clusters and contributes billions to B.C.’s economy annually,” said UBC President Stephen Toope. “As a region, we must act to support the continuing development of this area so Vancouver, Metro and the whole province can capitalize on these significant economic benefits.”

UBC, the province’s third largest employer with 13,900 jobs, anchors the corridor. With an economic impact of more than $10 billion annually and 152 spin-off companies, UBC is a global research and innovation leader. It attracts $550 million in research funding annually, much of which is expended along the corridor, and is a primary driver of B.C.’s life sciences and technology sector, which is growing twice as fast as the balance of the province’s economy.

Vancouver Coastal Health and BC Cancer Agency operations along the corridor create the largest health care/life sciences precinct in the province and bring an estimated 10,000 workers to the area. Vancouver Community College, on the eastern part of the corridor, has 6,000 students.