Canada's Car Commuting Roars Back as Transit’s Rebound Remains Slow

Car commuting rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels, while public transit and active transportation rates are slower to recover.

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December 1, 2022, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

University Ave and Dundas Street in downtown Toronto

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Bennekom / Shutterstock

Canada’s car commuters are returning to the country’s roads while transit ridership continues to lag, reports Oliver Moore in the Globe and Mail. 

“Overall, the 2021 census showed that the number of car commuters – which the agency defines as drivers or passengers who go to work in a car, truck or van – was 12.8 million a day, about the same as in 2016, Statistics Canada said.” Meanwhile, “About two million Canadians a day commuted routinely by transit before COVID-19 hit, a figure that sagged to 1.2 million during the pandemic.”

According to Moore, Statistics Canada points out that “In many Canadian cities, the result has been a split between those who can choose to avoid transit and those who have no other viable options,” with women, immigrants, and people of color continuing to use transit at higher rates.

Modes like biking and walking also remained at lower levels than before the pandemic, despite efforts to improve pedestrian and bike infrastructure. "Statistics Canada found that the number of people who commuted by active transportation – walking or cycling – fell by 26.2 per cent from 2016 to 2021. The agency attributes that to job losses in sectors whose employees rely disproportionately on these methods of commuting."

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 in The Globe and Mail

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