Monday, April 7, 2008

Some good news, some bad news about Ottawa's commute

Statistics Canada numbers showed that Ottawa's daily commute is the sixth-longest (distance-wise) in the country, and is increasing, as reported in the Ottawa Citizen:

The data released yesterday show Ottawa commuters travel on average 8.1 kilometres to work, the sixth-longest journey in the country. That distance is up slightly from the last census, when the average travel was 7.9 kilometres.

The list is topped by bedroom communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Oshawa, whose residents travel an average 11 kilometres to work, Toronto itself (9.4), Barrie (9.0) and Hamilton (8.3). Calgary (8.2) is fifth on the list followed by Montreal (8.1) and Ottawa-Gatineau (8.1).

In good news, though, the time is one of the best:

However, while Ottawans' commute may be long, the city's travel time is not. According to a statistics Canada report from 2006, the region's 66-minute average round-trip daily commute was the second shortest of major Canadian cities behind Edmonton (62 minutes).

In contrast, commuting distances in Toronto and Montreal have barely increased, but a separate Statistics Canada study showed that, over the past decade or so, it has been taking commuters a lot longer to get to and from work in those cities: 22.6 per cent more time in Montreal and 16.2 per cent more time in Toronto.

Really offers a lot of credit the city's transit planners, but there are probably a number of extenuating circumstances that help out Ottawa's numbers. With relatively low ridership numbers, those who'd have to take longer commutes are choosing not to take public transit, meaning that the longer numbers don't drag the average into negative territory. Also, with so many federal government commuters heading to consistent and predictable destinations, express buses are able to schedule their bus routes with ease.

The city is in pretty good shape, but it can still be better. Which is why the transit plans are looking into faster ways of getting more people into the city's core.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

66-minute round trip?! I honestly don't believe this! Maybe that's because I commute about 30 kilometres each way and spend probably over two hours on the bus a day... My mind is effectively boggled.