Vancouver Tops 2016 Census as Country’s Greenest Transportation City

December 29, 2017 (Vancouver, BC) – Analysis of the national 2016 census released in November shows that Vancouver is leading the country as more residents shift to transit, walking and biking to get to work - with several of the shifts the largest of any city in Canada.

The census results, published on November 29, 2017, focused on Canadians’ commutes — how they travel to work, how long their commutes are and distance to workplaces. The Statistics Canada data shows that 50 per cent of all trips in Vancouver are now made by walking, biking and transit, surpassing Montreal (49%) and Toronto (48%).

Further analysis shows that Vancouver saw the largest decrease of people driving to work of any city in Canada over the past decade, as well as the largest increase of people walking and biking to work.

These trends align with the goals set out in the City’s Transportation 2040 plan, Vancouver’s long-term strategic vision that guides transportation and land use decisions, and public investments for the years ahead. The plan’s overall mobility target is to see at least two-thirds of all trips in Vancouver made by foot, bike and transit by 2040.

“I’m very pleased to see that Vancouver is leading the nation in terms of getting more people to use transit, walking and biking to get to work, moving us closer to our Transportation 2040 goals,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The data shows that the investments we’ve been making are working, and also shows how important it is to keep investing in critical public transit infrastructure around the region. Getting the Broadway Subway built is our top transportation priority – it’s the single best thing we can do to reduce congestion in Vancouver. And with more than 60% of the ridership for the Broadway Subway coming from outside the City of Vancouver, it will cut travel times for people across the Metro region.”

“I'm thankful for these results. Kudos to the leadership of Vancouver City Council and the hard work of City staff, community organizations, volunteers, and Vancouver residents who have given their input. What we need now is more education, innovation, and infrastructure - and to get going with construction of the Broadway Subway," said Tanya Paz, Chair of the City’s Active Transportation Advisory Council.

Walking and Biking to Work

Vancouver saw the greatest increase of all Canadian municipalities for walking and biking to work, with a 3.9 per cent increase over 2006. This was the opposite of the Canada-wide trend, which saw a 0.8 per cent drop in walking and biking. Vancouver continues to have the highest proportion of walking to work of any Canadian city, increasing from 12.2 per cent in 2006 to 13.7 per cent in 2016. No other municipality reached double digit percentages.

Combined, the census indicates that walking and biking in Vancouver have reached a 20 per cent mode share, far surpassing other Canadian cities.


Taking Transit to Work

Travel on public transit by Vancouver workers increased from 25 per cent to 29 per cent since 2006. A higher proportion of workers took transit in both Montreal and Toronto. However, the proportions walking and biking in those cities were much lower, as Vancouver had 50 per cent walking, cycling or on transit, compared to 49 per cent of Montreal workers and 48 per cent in Toronto. All three cities saw a move to greener modes of transportation since 2006, but again the greatest shift occurred in Vancouver; only 41 per cent were walking, cycling or on transit in 2006, compared to 46 per cent in Montreal and 43 per cent in Toronto.

Driving to Work

While many Vancouver residents (45 per cent) still drive to work, Vancouver surpassed other Canadian cities in terms of the relative decline in the share of people driving to work by car, dropping from 52% in 2006. Vancouver was unique among Canadian cities because this decrease occurred while the City’s workforce substantially increased; the decrease was the largest among all Canadian municipalities.

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