Metro 2040 Urban Centre and FTDA Policy Review
Regional Urban Centres and FTDAs

The Metro 2040 Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Area (FTDA) Policy Review is an initiative to consider ways to help improve clarity and effectiveness of the Metro Vancouver growth framework, specifically the tools for shaping growth – ie. Urban Centres and FTDAs. The review will inform the development of the next regional growth strategy.

Project Objectives

Phase 1 of the review focused on understanding how Urban Centres and FTDAs are performing and evolving on the ground. Based on the results of Phase 1, the objectives of Phase 2 are to identify opportunities to improve Metro Vancouver’s growth structuring tools by:

  1. Clarifying the types, definitions, and designation criteria of the Urban Centres and FTDAs;
  2. Defining the relationships among the Urban Centres and FTDAs and between the Urban Centres and FTDAs and transit service;
  3. Developing the policies to support the implementation of a new Urban Centres  and FTDA framework;
  4. Further integrate the use of corridors into regional planning and monitoring.

Project Timeline

Project Timeline

Project Activities Include:

  • Q1 2019: Stakeholder Workshops
  • Q2-Q3 2019: Regional Planning Advisory Committee (RPAC) Urban Centres and FTDA Workshops
  • Q2-Q3 2019: Urban Centre and FTDA Data Profiles Dashboard
  • Q4 2019: Develop Policy Review Recommendations

Why update the Urban Centre and FTDA framework?

Over the years, Metro Vancouver and member jurisdictions have identified some challenges with the Urban Centres and FTDA framework. These challenges include:

  • The criteria for designating an Urban Centre or FTDA is unclear.
  • The expectations for growth in Urban Centres and FTDAs are also unclear.
  • Municipalities have designated fewer FTDAs than expected. This is because the value proposition for designating FTDAs is unclear as it is not linked to better transit provision or other improvements in regional services or infrastructure.
  • As a result, Urban Centres and FTDAs are emerging inconsistently across the region. This makes it hard for municipalities, Metro Vancouver, TransLink and other orders of government to understand what level of growth is expected or anticipated for these areas and what types and scale of services and infrastructure are appropriate.

This project will study, evaluate, and make recommendations for structural changes to the Urban Centre and FTDA framework that may be incorporated into the next regional growth strategy.


Urban Centres and FTDAs are tools that Metro Vancouver and member jurisdictions use to direct growth to a network of centres and corridors across the region. This long-standing and effective growth management strategy helps the region to accommodate new residents and businesses while protecting agricultural lands, industrial lands, and conservation areas, and providing infrastructure in an efficient and sustainable way.

In Metro 2040, the types of centres and corridors used to direct and structure growth are called Urban Centres and FTDAs.

  • Urban Centres include the Metro Core, Surrey Metro Centre, Regional City Centres, and Municipal Town Centres. Urban Centres are intended to be the region's primary focal points for concentrated growth and transit service.
  • FTDAs (Frequent Transit Development Areas) are additional areas for growth identified along the Frequent Transit Network (FTN), generally within a 400m distance from the FTN and 800m from rapid transit stations along the FTN. Because residential and employment density are major factors determining transit ridership, Metro 2040 recommends that municipalities use the FTDA tool to direct growth to corridors along the FTN.  

Structuring and focusing growth in priority locations is important for supporting the development of complete, compact, and transit-accessible communities and for providing cost effective, sustainable infrastructure. The Metro 2040 Urban Centre and FTDA Policy Review will find ways to build on this successful strategy and while providing addition clarity and setting consistent expectations for municipalities.

Cambie Corridor FTDA
Cambie Corridor FTDA

Ladner Municipal Town Centre
Ladner Municipal Town Centre

Lonsdale Regional City Centre
Lonsdale Regional City Centre