Greater proportion of Canadians took public transit than ever before: Census 2016

Number of commuters taking public transit grew by 59.5% from1996 to 2016


MORE Canadians commuted to work in 2016 and a greater proportion took public transit than ever before, according to Statistics Canada.

For most working Canadians, commuting is part of daily life. Since 1996, the number of commuters has risen by 3.7 million or 30.3% to 15.9 million in 2016.

But how they get to work is changing. From 1996 to 2016, the number of commuters taking public transit grew by 59.5%, while those using a car increased by 28.3%.

Canada’s workforce is also increasingly living in urban areas. In 1996, 8.6 million or 70.5% of employed Canadians who commuted to work were living in a census metropolitan area (CMA). By 2016, this proportion had increased to 73.5% or 11.7 million.

Access to public transit is closely tied to urban land use. With the population increasing in urban areas, traffic congestion is also rising. With more congestion, commuting times are getting longer for commuters using road networks.

Commuters spent an average of 26.2 minutes travelling to their workplace in 2016, up 0.8 minutes from 2011 (25.4 minutes). In 2016, the average commuting time was 24.1 minutes for car commuters and 44.8 minutes for public transit commuters.

Statistics Canada notes that how people get to work is sometimes a matter of choice; they enjoy the walk, or they like to drive. In many other cases, however, financial circumstances, distance to work, reasonable access to public transit infrastructure, or the need for work-life balance can make certain modes of transportation to work almost a necessity over others.