Statistics Canada has released some new data from the last census that shouldn’t shock anyone who lives in Alberta’s capital city. Nearly 80% of us get to work in a vehicle:
The new data from the 2006 census found that 12.7 per cent of workers in the city of Edmonton get to work using public transit, while 79 per cent either drive or travel in a vehicle as a passenger.
Statistics Canada said the reliance on cars seems to increase with the age of the commuter. While those under the age of 25 travelled by vehicle 70.7 per cent of the time, that rate increased to 81.6 per cent for those aged 25 to 34. The rate was even higher for those aged over 35, at 87.2 per cent.
The average Alberta commuter takes a car 84% of the time, so we’re slightly better than the rest of the province.
I guess Bob Boutilier, our city’s Transportation Department GM, wasn’t kidding at the ETS conference a few weeks ago when he said a big challenge is the “pickup truck and two car” mentality of most Albertans. Thanks to the census data, I now have a number to attach to that statement.
Some people like to suggest that we’ll never improve our public transit system until everyone experiences just how bad it is right now. Maybe there’s some truth to that after all. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the majority of that 80% have never been on a bus or LRT car.
That needs to change.