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Study: Public transit

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2007

In 2007, two-thirds of Canadian households lived within five minutes of public transit. When work and non-work travel was combined, 41% of these households used public transit regularly during that period.

A number of household characteristics, including composition, income and the availability of a vehicle, were associated with the likelihood that a household would use public transit regularly in 2007. These characteristics were also related to the purpose for which public transit was used.

Households that neither owned nor leased a vehicle were almost twice as likely to use public transit regularly.

When households with a vehicle did use public transit, they were three times as likely as those without to use transit regularly only for travel to work.

Households with teenagers were more likely to use public transit. These households were also more likely than adult-only households (aged 25 to 64) to use transit regularly for non-work travel only.

Household income had a less direct relationship with public transit usage. In general, households in the lowest income category were more likely to use public transit. They were also more likely to have used it only for non-work travel.

Households in higher income categories were more likely than those in lower income categories to use public transit only to travel to work.

In areas where public transit was more widely available, all households with access were more likely to use it regularly. These households were also more likely to use public transit for the journey to work, while those in areas where public transit was less widely available were more likely to use it only for non-work travel.

Nearly three-quarters of households nationally reported that they had not used public transit regularly because they had access to a car.

Other reasons for not using public transit included inconvenient scheduling, living too close to their destination to need transit, or the service was too slow or too infrequent. Only 4% of households indicated that the cost of public transit was a factor.

Travel to work did not dominate the use of public transit on a household level. Of those households that used public transit regularly, 16% did so only for work, while 47% of those using the service regularly used it for non-work travel.

There was significant overlap in use. A household using public transit for one purpose was almost twice as likely on average to also use it for the other purpose. For example, 68% of households that used public transit regularly to travel to work also used it regularly for non-work travel.

Note: This study was based on data from the 2007 Households and the Environment Survey, conducted as part of the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators project.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3881.

The article "Public transit in Canada, 2007" is now available in EnviroStats, Summer 2010, Vol. 4, no. 2 (16-002-X, free), from the Key resource module of our website, under Publications.

The articles "Natural resource wealth, 1990 to 2009" and "Ecoregion profile: St-Laurent Lowlands" are also available in this issue of EnviroStats, Summer 2010, Vol. 4, no. 2 (16-002-X, free).

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact the Information Officer (613-951-0297; environ@statcan.gc.ca), Environment Accounts and Statistics Division.