-   General Efficiency Discussion (
-   -   Report on car culture: Canadians driving more; walking, biking less. Suburbia blamed. (

MetroMPG 01-23-2008 02:38 PM

Report on car culture: Canadians driving more; walking, biking less. Suburbia blamed.
Statistics Canada Report: Dependence on cars in urban neighbourhoods - Life in metropolitan areas

Statistics Canada released a report showing that car use is on the rise, and the finger is pointed mostly at urban planning issues as the reason.


Even though there is a growing tendency for the population to congregate in large urban centres and people have access to better public transportation services, dependence on the automobile increased between 1992 and 2005. According to data from the General Social Survey (GSS) on time use, the proportion of people aged 18 and over who went everywhere by car – as either a driver or a passenger – rose from 68% in 1992, to 70% in 1998 and then 74% in 2005.

Conversely, the proportion of Canadians who made at least one trip under their own power by bicycle or on foot appears to have declined between 1998 and 2005. In 2005, 19% of people 18 and over walked or pedalled from one place to another, down from 26% and 25% in 1992 and 1998 respectively.
Not only is sprawl (distance from the city center) an issue, but population density is closely linked as well, with the denser neighbourhoods seeing proportionately less private automobile use.

Two of the country's largest cities - Toronto & Montreal - have among the lowest car use among metropolitan areas. Coincidentally (?) Alberta - the Texas of the North - had the two highest car-driving cities: Calgary & Edmonton.

Image source: Globe and Mail

Men: "Car good! Walk bad. Grrr!"

Even when controlling to keep all additional factors constant, men drive more than women:


Age and sex are among the factors that have a substantial impact on the probability of driving. On the reference day in 2005, 81% of Canadian men aged 18 and over made at least one trip behind the wheel of a car. The corresponding figure for women was just 66% (Table A.1).
In conclusion...


A large proportion of the housing stock built since 1991 is found far from the city centre in low-density neighbourhoods. As we have seen, these are the neighbourhoods with the highest level of automobile dependence.

Frank Lee 01-23-2008 02:44 PM

Wow- I'm amazed that the data shows men driving more. Seems to me the ladies dominate the roads, but I haven't done a valid study either.

Last night the local tv news did a story on autostarts and how the great demand for them has installation shops hiring extra help as well as being backed up. Made my blood boil. They should do a story on how autostarts waste fuel, are harder on the engine, increase pollution, and are generally an unnecessary expense.

Peakster 01-24-2008 01:23 AM

Check out Regina Saskatchewan Canada's "Neighbourhood Profile". Yup, that's a total profile of my city.

Scroll down about 3/4 of the way and you'll see a graph titled "Mode of Transportation (labour force)". This is what you'll find:

Bicycle: 1,305 or 1.5%
Walked: 4,600 or 5.3%
Public Transit: 4,170 or 4.8%
Car, Truck, Van as Passenger: 6,835 or 7.8%
Car, Truck, Van as Driver: 69,905 or 79.9%

That's right. Nearly 88% of employed people in my city use a motor vehicle as their prime transportation... and my city is only 46 square miles in area!

It's actually really scary that only 1.5% use a bicycle. I'm going to be in a LARGE minority this summer when I wean myself from my car to bike :eek:

It gets even worse when you get into the nitty-gritty and hone in on my neighbourhood only. Over 5000 people use an automobile (94.7%!) while only 25 use a bike (0.5%). Ouch.

By the way MetroMPG, it doesn't surprise me one bit that Edmonton ranked at 77% personal vehicle usage. The city is so easy to navigate by individual automobile. Also, keep in mind that Western Canada is very young in age and virtually all of its cities have never experienced a time before automobiles. It will be a rude awakening for us when an energy crisis hits.

cfg83 01-24-2008 02:34 AM

MetroMPG -

I have heard in the past that this is the world-wide trend. In Europe, where public transportation is ubiquitous and gas prices are heavily taxed, people are still trending towards car ownership. The arguably false freedom mythology of the car is just too strong (myself included).


Gone4 01-24-2008 10:03 AM

When you travel through cities like Boston and New York City you realize that cars decrease your freedom. Car owners need to worry so much about their car, sit in traffic, slaves to the time of day and weather (snow). I don't understand it.

Part of the problem here is all the college students can't rent a car because they are not 25 yet. If more college students could ride out of the city on public transportation and rent a car for their weekend trip, it would probably help save a lot of space on the roads.

Does public transportation in suburbia have a reputation for being dirty in Canada too? It seems to be half our problem that the suburbanites have a bad image of people who ride buses and such.

MetroMPG 01-24-2008 10:29 AM

I've ridden public transit in Ottawa, Vancouver & Toronto, and never got the impression it was dirty. Colourful sometimes, but not dirty. :)

I've said elsewhere that when I lived in Toronto and had a car, I took the streetcar during the week & only used my car on weekends. The stops were close to my destinations on both ends & I liked being able to read or watch the world go by. Plus, getting parking downtown was a hassle.

Peakster 01-24-2008 03:55 PM


Originally Posted by GenKreton (Post 6742)
Does public transportation in suburbia have a reputation for being dirty in Canada too?

Oh definitely. Buses are noisy, unattractive, and annoying... or at least that's what people think. I remember when my grandma was selling her house a few years back. Her realtor said that the bus stop in front of her home actually brought down her property value, because most people in the neighborhood didn't want a noisy box rolling by every 20 minutes. Not to mention all the riffraff (like maybe one person) loitering in front of the home!

Talk about screwed up priorities.


It seems to be half our problem that the suburbanites have a bad image of people who ride buses and such.
Defintely. People are scared of social interaction with people not from their cul-de-sac and, heaven forbid, sharing the same air with someone else. When we're in our car we can gun the engine, flip the bird, cut people off, and fight for position in a parking lot because it's not like we have to deal with those people face-to-face.

Taking the bus means we'd have to behave ;)

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:26 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.5.2
All content copyright