Delay by Danielle Scott
If you’re an average commuter in Toronto stuck in a traffic jam on a sunny afternoon, cursing your decision to get a house outside the city centre, and feeling like everybody else in Canada must be getting home much earlier, you may not be far from the truth. According to newly released figures by Statistics Canada, Toronto commuters need the longest time to reach their destination compared to other Canadian cities.
Workers in the Greater Toronto Area have topped this infamous statistic for the fourth time since StatsCan started to conduct job-related travel surveys in 1992. The good news is that Toronto’s leading position is certainly not unbeatable: during the last year, when the data was collected, its average commuting time of thirty-three minutes was just one minute longer than in Montreal and two minutes longer than for citizens of Vancouver. Vancouver was also the only city to disapprove of the results, as the officials claim that the survey failed to take the size of the city area into consideration.
Change Is Possible
Generally, the journey takes longer for public transport users: about forty-four minutes, compared to twenty-seven minutes for car owners. Experts agree that for the future development of the cities, it’s imperative to reverse this score and to make it as convenient as possible to use the public transportation services. We need to find a way to persuade the 82 per cent of workers who commute by car to join the rest who either use public transportation, bicycles, or their own two feet. The only possible way to reach that goal is to make it an attractive option that helps commuters reach their workplaces faster and more easily.
“Difficulty in commuting has become our way of life,” the Canadian Association’s Teresa Di Felice said. Everybody is aware that infrastructure development in Canadian cities rarely proceeds the way it should and road structures from the 50s are not far from reaching critical conditions. Roads and public transit designed in the middle of the 20th century naturally cannot contain the current amount of cars without major congestions occurring regularly. Looking from this perspective, it seems that building more roads and new lanes is a must, but on the other hand, maybe we should ask ourselves how to alleviate the traffic from the roads and how to respond to the needs of modern urban areas in an environmentally-friendly way that focuses on new bike lanes and public transportation.