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Census shows commuter culture shift

Census shows commuter culture shift

Posted on: 11/29/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

The rise of the computer has shifted the way we work. It’s made us more efficient, changed the way we communicate and given us storage options like never before. The computer was also supposed to reduce our need to commute but, according to the 2016 Census, more Canadians find themselves making the drive to work.

Since 1996, the number of commuters has risen by 3.7 million, or 30.3 per cent, to 15.9 million. One thing that is changing is how Canadians get to work; a greater proportion of us take public transit. From 1996 to 2016, the number of commuters taking public transit grew by 60 per cent, while those using a car increased by 28 per cent.

Investing in active transportation (walking or cycling) is controversial in many cities across Canada. The latest stats on Canadians’ journeys to work show that the percentage of employed people walking or cycling to work declined by 1.2 percentage points compared with 20 years earlier. The overall decline was due to a reduction in walking commuters (from 7.0 per cent in 1996 to 5.5 per cent in 2016). Interestingly, the number of people cycling to work has risen significantly since 1996 (+62 per cent), more than twice the pace of overall commuter growth.

The rise of consumer society has many Canadians living in and around the country’s major cities, causing more of us to commute to work. It’s true that there are more jobs in these cities, but there’s also more to do. Computers can reduce costs for organizations and employees by employing us remotely but, computers can’t deliver that firm handshake or provide the networking opportunities that help a business thrive.

Commuter growth, graph

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