Modes of transportation to work … The General Social Survey (GSS, 2006) explored modes of travel to work for Canadians. As with other parts of Canada, the automobile was the predominant mode of travel in Niagara. In 2006 in Niagara, 89.9% of the population identified using the car as the primary mode of travel to get to work (81.0% as drivers, and 8.8% as passengers). This number was slightly down from 1996 (90.8%) and 2001 (91.1%). Out of 35 communities listed across Canada, Niagara’s was 5th on the list, and only 4 other communities used the car more as their main mode of transportation.
Public transit … Only 2.5% of Niagara residents reported they used public transit to get to work in 2006, up very little from 2.0% in 1996, and 2.0% in 2001. Niagara’s use of public transit was far below Ontario’s use of public transit at 15.1% and most other CMA’s in Ontario (Kitchener – 4.8%; Hamilton – 8.7%).
Our use of public transportation even fell below other smaller communities such as Barrie (3.8%) and Guelph (6.0%). Naturally, larger urban areas in Canada showed the most use of public transit: Toronto (22.2%), Ottawa-Gatineau (21.2%) and Halifax (11.9%).
Buses run regularly from St. Catharines to Toronto and a few scheduled Via Rail trains connect from Niagara Falls to St. Catharines and on to Toronto throughout the day. Past attempts have been made to offer Hovercraft and boats to commute by water to Toronto, but without sustainable success. Discussions have taken place about extending the Go Train to Niagara.
Other modes of transportation … 5.0 % of Niagara residents reported walking to work, 1.5% cycling to work and 1.1% taking other modes of transportation work. Use of alternatives to the auto and public transit went up only slightly between GSS reporting times.
Commuting distances to work … The median commuting distance Niagara residents reported to work was 5.9 km in 2006, and 5.5 km in 2001. Cycling to work in the right season is a possible, but not often chosen option for many Niagara residents.
• 44.0% of the population were less than 5 km from work
• 29.0% were 5-14 km from work
• 13.8 % were 15-24 km from work
• 13.1% were greater than 25 km from work