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Commuting Patterns and Places of Work of Canadians, 2006 Census: Portrait of census metropolitan areas and their municipalities

Commuting patterns

Residents of the Oshawa CMA have the longest commute

As in 2001, Oshawa's workers, many of whom worked in Toronto, travelled the farthest among all commuters residing in a CMA (median distance of 11 kilometres in 2006, compared to 10.7 kilometres in 2001). However, Barrie was the one with the highest proportion of workers travelling 25 kilometres or more to work (35.3% in 2006).

Table 10
Proportion of the median commuting distance and commuting distance of workers, census metropolitan areas, 2001 and 2006

In Toronto and Montréal, median commuting distances remained practically unchanged during the past 10 years. Toronto commuters travelled 9.4 km, up 0.2 km, while Montréal commuters travelled 8.1 km, up only 0.1 km.

However, it took commuters longer to reach their destination in both census metropolitan areas. A separate Statistics Canada study showed that the average amount of time it took to get to and from work increased by 16.2% in Toronto between 1992 and 2005, and by 22.6% in Montréal.1 This gap between the slow increase in distance and the faster increase in commute times may be due to greater road congestion, which leaves many commuters having to spend more time than before covering practically the same distance.

The median distance for workers in the Vancouver CMA fell slightly in the past years, from 7.6 kilometres in 2001 to 7.4 kilometres in 2006.

The Regina CMA had the highest proportion of workers travelling less than 5 kilometres to work (55.4%).

In terms of commute distances from the point of view of the CMA of place of work (as opposed to the CMA of residence), workers whose place of work was in the Toronto area were the ones who travelled the farthest (10.3 km), followed by Ottawa - Gatineau (8.7 km), Montréal (8.5 km) and Calgary (8.4 km).

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