Public transit heat map reveals Vancouver's travel habits

Dec 19 2017, 9:29 pm

A new heat map of public transit use in Vancouver, created by data visualization website The 10 and 3, is shedding light on who really uses transit most in our city.

Arik Motskin and Zack Gallinger used data from the 2011 National Household Survey to map what percentage of employed residents in each census area use public transit as their main way of getting between home and work.

Motskin and Gallinger found some of the highest usage was along the Expo Line, peaking around Metrotown Station, where 52.2% of employed residents used transit to get to work.

Meanwhile, working people living along the newer Millennium and Canada lines used transit less, with the exception of the area around Lougheed Town Centre, which topped out at 37%.

And in wealthy Shaughnessy, only 11.5% of working residents used public transit to get to work, even when they lived near stations.

Comparisons with Toronto

Motskin said the data was surprising in comparison to their previous public transit heat map of Toronto.

“The data suggests that public transit reliance overall in Vancouver is quite a bit more modest than in Toronto,” Motskin told Vancity Buzz.

“In Vancouver, only a few areas along the Expo line come close to the 50% usage numbers, and the numbers steeply drop off as you move away from the SkyTrain stations.”

What about the B-line?

The census does not distinguish between modes of public transit, but usage along the busy 99 B-line bus route out to UBC looks unsurprisingly fairly high.

Transit use by working residents – who may well be students with jobs on the side – ranged from 44.5% around Commercial and Broadway to 26.5% as the line neared UBC.

However, Motskin says, that is still not as high as he would have expected.

“In Toronto, there were many areas with 40%, 50% and upwards of 60%, even quite far away from subway stops,” said Motskin.

“The data suggests that Vancouver has much less reliance on non-SkyTrain methods of public transit than we may see in other cities.”

To see the full interactive map, head over to The 10 and 3.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News