PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — A new report by Northern Development (ND) shows the Peace region may have the potential to expand its transit services due to the region’s younger population.
The organization published its Northern BC Inter-Community Transportation Study on its website on Monday, which includes perspectives and feedback on existing transportation services across northern B.C. The information in the study was collected through engaging with residents, local and Indigenous governments, service providers, and other organizations.
In its report, Northern Development said when designing transit services, community demographics can often be a good indicator of transit potential, adding that seniors and youth are often the most dependent on others for their mobility needs.
“Transit services afford them independence, and from that perspective, it is an attractive option,” it reads.
Data from Statistics Canada in 2021 referenced in the report shows the Peace River Regional District had the highest number of youth aged 24 and under at 33 per cent, while the Cariboo Regional District had the highest percentage of seniors from 60 to 74 years old, at 25 per cent.
The report also states most residents in the Peace region either drive or are driven to work.
According to the study, residents in the Peace River and Cariboo Regional districts have the highest percentage of commutes over an hour in Northern B.C.
CEO of Northern Development Joel McKay said in a release that conducting the research and engagement over the last few months has provided the organization with “valuable and insightful information.”
“We are grateful for the generous way residents, community representatives, and service providers shared their experiences and ideas for future improvements,” McKay said.
He added that information uncovered by the study will allow the organization and the province to build upon the knowledge base while both entities consider future trends in northern B.C.
“The report seeks to share information about how population changes, economic development, and other community health and social initiatives may change the needs and opportunities for transportation in the coming years,” ND’s release read.
Northern Development is an independent non-profit corporation that aims to stimulate economic growth in central and northern B.C. by investing in community-led projects.
The Northern BC Inter-Community Transportation Study was completed with funding from the Province of BC, which was announced in May 2023.
To read the full report, visit the Northern Development website.