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

Commuting patterns

Some progress in the use of sustainable transportation among workers living far from their place of work

In general, the greater the distance between their place of residence and their place of work, the less likely workers are to use a sustainable mode of transportation to get there.

Table 13
Proportion of workers using sustainable transportation according to the distance between their home and place of work, census metropolitan areas, 2001 and 2006

In 2006, 56.5% of workers in CMAs living within one kilometre of their place of work used a sustainable mode of transportation to commute. Among workers in CMAs who had to travel 15 kilometres or more, the proportion dropped to 15.8%.

This reality is understandable for several reasons. First, for most workers, there is a distance beyond which cycling or walking become impossible. Second, the longer the trip between home and work is, the greater the chance of having to transfer between public transit routes. The commutes requiring a transfer (either between modes of transportation or between routes) are known to be the longest of all, making public transit less attractive, compared to the car.1

Finally, workers who travel the longest distances to get to work also tend to live in the peripheral sectors of CMAs, where cars are the preferred mode of transportation.

Despite all of these obstacles, it would seem that the use of sustainable transportation by workers living a great distance from their place of work, in some CMAs, rose in the past few years.

For example, in 2001, 15.9% of workers in Ottawa - Gatineau who travelled 15 kilometres or more to work used a sustainable mode of transportation. Five years later, this proportion reached 18.6%. Similar scenarios were observed in the Halifax, MontrĂ©al and Calgary CMAs.

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