2040 Transportation Master Plan
Vision and process
The result of almost 4,000 resident contributions, Imagine Kelowna is a vision created by our community, for our community. Imagine Kelowna was endorsed by Council in July 2018 and the vision guided the 2040 Transportation Master Plan’s (TMP) development. Here is how the TMP embraces Imagine Kelowna’s four guiding principles:
Kelowna residents want a transportation system that connects people to places and does not “get in the way” as we go about our daily lives. People should be able to find a convenient option for getting where they need to go, even when things are busy. Things may slow down but are never truly stuck. A key part of making Kelowna a connected community is providing diverse transportation options that connect our Urban Centres.
Kelowna residents want a growing, diversifying, and inclusive economy. To do this, we need to find ways to grow without creating gridlock. Individuals need transportation options that enable them to fully participate in the economy and share in the city’s prosperity. Companies need a transportation system that facilitates deliveries, helps them attract talent and expand their business, and that does not constrain their growth because of traffic congestion.
It is important to Kelowna residents that we protect our environment and respond to climate change. A well-designed transportation system will help us do that while ensuring people can get where they need to go, when they need to get there. Being responsible means providing value for public investment, keeping up with infrastructure maintenance, and making sure we are not leaving debt behind for future generations. It means making travel more affordable, because after housing, transportation is often peoples’ next largest expense.
We cannot do it alone. We need to partner with other levels of government, collaborate with businesses, and embrace resident-led initiatives. We all need to work together to keep Kelowna moving.
“Kelowna will be a city with vibrant urban centres where people and places are conveniently connected by diverse transportation options that help us transition from our car-centric culture.”
The vision for the TMP builds on Imagine Kelowna and was developed and refined with input from the public.
Shifting away from our car-centric culture does not mean banning cars. Cars and trucks will continue to have an important role in daily life in Kelowna because for some kinds of trips, driving will always be the most practical option. Goods movement is also key to the economy and an important part of our future plans.
Much of Kelowna was designed around the car. As a result, it remains the default way most residents get around. Collectively, we drive the equivalent of going to the moon and back three times every weekday. We also use more space for parking than for housing.
Accommodating all our future travel by cars and trucks is not wise or realistic. Our ability to expand roadways and parking is hemmed in by limited land, steep hillsides, Okanagan Lake and protected agricultural areas. Widening roads in urban areas is very expensive and impacts existing neighbourhoods and businesses. And where we can expand, the roads often quickly fill back up as the new space encourages more driving. This phenomenon is known as induced demand.
Traditionally, transportation has focused on moving vehicles. This TMP focuses on moving more people. Investing in transportation options that can move more people in the space we have available will be critical to managing both congestion and emissions as our population grows. Transitioning from our car-centric culture means giving more choices to people so that driving does not always have to be the default option.
Fortunately, most individual trips Kelowna residents make are less than five kilometres – short enough to walk or bike. For longer trips, transit can be a viable alternative to driving, depending on routes and schedules. And not everyone has to make the switch for the whole community to benefit from less congestion and emissions. By shifting those trips that can easily be made by other means, we free up space for moving goods and people that need to drive.
Transportation impacts many aspects of life in Kelowna. This is why we have set out 12 goals that align with the four principles of Imagine Kelowna. These goals were used to develop the recommendations of the TMP and will help us measure our progress. Performance measures for these goals are in the Implementation Chapter.
Ensure residents and visitors have access to multiple options for getting around, so that for any given trip, they can choose the option that best meets their needs.
Ensure predictable and convenient travel times for all modes of transportation including driving, walking, biking, and transit.
Reduce the cost of travel by ensuring a wide range of affordable transportation options are available in Kelowna.
Support the city's growing economy by ensuring the transportation system connects people to jobs and facilitates the efficient movement of goods.
Ensure the transportation system supports and encourages sustainable and efficient growth in our urban areas.
Adapt to emerging technologies and a changing climate by creating a resilient and responsive transportation system.
Reduce the frequency and severity of injuries on our transportation network.
Reduce the impact of transportation on our climate, water, air quality, agricultural land, and sensitive ecosystems.
Make efficient use of public funding by maximizing the benefits of transportation infrastructure and return on investment.
Improve our community’s health by making it easier for people to be physically active (e.g., by biking or walking) and reducing exposure to vehicle exhaust.
Ensure the transportation network serves everyone, including people of all ages, incomes, and abilities.
Ensure the transportation system helps make our neighbourhoods more livable, enhances our sense of community, and improves our city’s quality of life.
While this is Kelowna’s first comprehensive transportation plan in 25 years, we did not start from scratch. We built on the existing plans described below and coordinated with other important work going on in the city and beyond.
Following endorsement of the TMP, additional policies and studies will be developed. As the plan is implemented, it may also be updated from time to time to coordinate and align with any new relevant plans and studies.
The result of almost 4,000 resident contributions, Imagine Kelowna is a vision for the community, created by the community, that envisions a Kelowna that is connected, smarter, responsible, and collaborative. Imagine Kelowna was endorsed by Council in July 2018 and the vision guided the 2040 TMP’s development.
The 2040 Official Community Plan (OCP) is an extensive update of Kelowna’s planning and land-use policies to reflect the Imagine Kelowna community vision. The 2040 OCP guides decisions about where in the city different kinds of development should happen. To better coordinate land use and transportation planning, the 2040 TMP has been developed in tandem with the 2040 OCP.
The Central Okanagan’s first Regional Transportation Plan identifies projects and priorities that will help ensure a healthy, thriving, and connected future for the region. The 2040 TMP includes many of the Kelowna-based projects recommended in the Regional Transportation Plan.
The 20-Year Servicing Plan is detailed analysis of the major infrastructure required to service growth in the 2040 OCP. The plan identifies development cost charge (DCC) projects and rates. The recommended projects in the 2040 TMP are coordinated with the 20-Year Servicing Plan.
As identified in Kelowna's Community Climate Action Plan, transportation accounts for over half of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Kelowna. The plan includes several actions to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, which have been incorporated into the 2040 TMP.
The provincial CleanBC Roadmap was released in October 2021 and sets province-wide targets for transportation emissions, including vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT), sustainable mode share, and goods movement. The 2040 TMP includes interim mode share targets that will help keep Kelowna on track to 2030, but further work is needed to meet some of the more aggressive CleanBC Roadmap targets. The 2040 TMP will be coordinated with future climate modeling and resilience planning underway to ensure our investment in transportation continue to support our climate objectives.
The Transit Future Plan is a regional plan for transit development until 2030. It introduced the concept of the frequent transit network and laid the foundation for Rapid Bus on Highway 97. The 2018 Transit Future Action Plan updated this vision and the TMP builds on this foundation, including a recommendation for dedicated transit lanes on the highway, in alignment with the Regional Transportation Plan.
The Regional Bicycling and Trails Master Plan is a component of the Regional Transportation Plan focused on connecting the region for biking and walking. The plan proposes a network of pathways and trails across the Central Okanagan. The 2040 TMP includes many of the Kelowna based projects recommended by the plan.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan is a long-term plan that lays out a comprehensive network of bicycle and walking routes in Kelowna. The 2040 TMP proposes updates to the network and reprioritizes some of the plan's projects over the next 20 years. The full network proposed in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan will take more than 20 years to complete.
The Regional Disruptive Mobility Strategy is a component of the Regional Transportation Plan. It is designed as a toolkit for local governments in the Central Okanagan to help prepare for technology change in transportation. Several of the tactics and actions described in the strategy have been incorporated into the 2040 TMP.
The Okanagan Gateway Transportation Study is a component of the Regional Transportation Plan focused on the Gateway area around UBC Okanagan and Kelowna International Airport. The study proposes the construction of infrastructure to make it easier to reach this area and move around by car, transit, bike, and walking. The 2040 TMP includes many of the projects recommended by the study.
The Capri-Landmark Urban Centre Plan is a vision for the area bordered by Harvey Avenue, Springfield Road, Gordon Drive and Spall Road. The plan includes proposals to make it easier to bike between key destinations, improve walkability, and improve the flow of traffic. The 2040 TMP includes recommended projects from this plan, most notably the Sutherland Complete Street project.
The Community for All Action Plan lays out a vision for “a city that is healthy, safe, active and inclusive for seniors, children and those with diverse abilities.” The 2040 TMP will help achieve this vision with its many recommendations for healthy, inclusive, and active transportation.
The Clean Air Strategy sets a vision for “clean and healthy air for current and future generations” that aims to reduce emissions from transportation by increasing the number of people walking, biking, using public transit and using clean vehicles for their trips. The 2040 TMP is aligned with the strategies proposed in this plan to reduce emissions from vehicles on the road and encourage sustainable modes of transportation.
The 2040 TMP was developed through an intensive five-phase, multi-year technical and community engagement process. Since early 2018, there have been 16 presentations to Council, five major public and stakeholder engagement processes, and over 4,600 survey responses and more than 12,000 interactions with community members. All of these have helped shape the plan content and recommendations.
The first phase began with the development of a vision and goals for the plan that built on the foundation laid by Imagine Kelowna. During this phase we asked people how they wanted their transportation system to look in 2040. Results are summarized in the Phase 1 Engagement Summary.
We also completed four discussion papers to help answer common questions from the public:
Phase 2 of the TMP was coordinated with the 2040 OCP and tested how different ways of growing the city impact transportation. The public weighed in as part of Pick Your Path to 2040.
We completed the Existing and Future Conditions Report, which is a comprehensive look at transportation in Kelowna.
The public was also invited to share transportation challenges and generate ideas for solutions on an interactive map during the Neighbourhood Expos.
The third phase launched with an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the size of the City’s transportation budget and how it should be allocated. The results are summarized in the Phase 3 Engagement Summary.
We worked on evaluating over 400 potential actions, weighing benefits and costs, and crafting three scenarios to demonstrate what could be achieved at different levels of funding. More information on the evaluation process is available in the TMP Scenarios Report.
This phase concluded with Council selecting a draft list of actions and an associated funding level for transportation (known as “Scenario 2”), for incorporation into the final plan.
In Phase 4, we worked on refining project cost estimates and developing a phasing plan for our recommended actions by considering the priority of different projects, the amount of project planning and design work required, and our available resources. The plan recommendations were phased to ramp investment up over time.
This phase included developing performance measures to monitor our progress, updating the City’s functional classification system to better align with the 2040 OCP, and coordinating with the updated 20-Year Servicing Plan.
The fifth phase involved pulling all the pieces together and circulating the draft plan for public and stakeholder engagement. The results are summarized in the Phase 5 Engagement Summary. The final version of the plan was endorsed by Council in January 2022.