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

Commuting patterns

Public transit is mainly an option in the largest CMAs

Since 1996, the use of public transit has increased in many CMAs. Overall, the proportion of workers in the 33 CMAs using public transit to get to work rose from 14.1% in 1996 to 14.4% in 2001 and 15.1% in 2006.

Table 11b
Proportion of workers using public transit to get to work, census metropolitan areas, 1996, 2001 and 2006

The extent to which public transit is used in the different CMAs depends on a number of factors, including: population density, concentration of jobs in sectors that are well serviced by public transit, the cost of using cars compared to public transit, the availability of parking close to work, the quality of service, etc. In general, the largest CMAs have more features that make public transit more appealing to many workers. Among other things, they are much more likely to have a well-established public transit system, which encourages workers to use it to get to their city centres.

This reality is confirmed by comparing public transit usage in the six CMAs with populations of one million or more, i.e., Toronto (22.2%), MontrĂ©al (21.4%), Vancouver (16.5%), Ottawa - Gatineau (19.4%), Calgary (15.6%) and Edmonton (9.7%). By comparison, the six smallest CMAs all had much smaller proportions of commuters using public transit: 2.5% in Peterborough, 4.4% in Saint John (N.B.), 3.2% in Thunder Bay, 3.1% in Brantford, 2.8% in Moncton and 6.0% in Guelph.

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