When it comes to environmentally friendly ways of getting around, Vancouver leads the way, according to the latest census numbers.
The census results, published at the end of November show that 50% of all trips in Vancouver are now made by walking, biking and transit, surpassing Montreal (49%) and Toronto (48%).
Further analysis of the results show that Vancouver saw the largest decrease of people driving to work of any city in Canada over the past decade, as well as the largest increase of people walking and biking to work.
In a release issued on Friday, the city said the trends shown in the census “align with the goals” set out in the City’s Transportation 2040 plan.
The plan’s overall mobility target is to see at least two-thirds of all trips in Vancouver made by foot, bike and transit by 2040.
“I’m very pleased to see that Vancouver is leading the nation in terms of getting more people to use transit, walking and biking to get to work, moving us closer to our Transportation 2040 goals,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
The data, he added, “shows that the investments we’ve been making are working, and also shows how important it is to keep investing in critical public transit infrastructure around the region.”
Tanya Paz, who chairs the City’s Active Transportation Advisory Council. said she was “thankful” for the results.
“Kudos to the leadership of Vancouver City Council and the hard work of City staff, community organizations, volunteers, and Vancouver residents who have given their input.”
The city saw the greatest increase of all Canadian municipalities for walking and biking to work, with a 3.9% increase over 2006. This was the opposite of the Canada-wide trend, which saw a 0.8 per cent drop in walking and biking.
Vancouver continues to have the highest proportion of walking to work of any Canadian city, increasing from 12.2% in 2006 to 13.7% in 2016. By comparison, no other municipality reached double digit percentages.
Combined, the census indicates that walking and biking in Vancouver have reached a 20 per cent mode share, far surpassing other Canadian cities.
The number of people travelling on transit increased from 25% to 29% since 2006. And while a higher proportion of workers took transit in both Montreal and Toronto, the proportions walking and biking in those cities were much lower, as Vancouver had 50% walking, cycling or on transit, compared to 49% in Montreal workers and 48% in Toronto.
While many residents (45%) still drive to work, Vancouver surpassed other Canadian cities in terms of the relative decline in the share of people driving to work by car, dropping from 52% in 2006.
The city was also unique in that this decrease occurred while the City’s workforce substantially increased; the decrease was the largest among all Canadian municipalities.