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March 7, 2024

“Around the World” : Canada

Transitioning to Sustainable Mobility in Canada: Strategic Strides Forward

🌿 Canada’s Action Plan for Clean On-Road Transportation outlines a roadmap to net-zero emissions by 2050, with the immediate goal of converting towards more sustainable transport, the Quebec government, under its ‘Plan politique de la mobilité durable 2030,’ has set a target to reduce the proportion of journeys made in solo cars by 20%. This response to the transport sector’s hefty 25% contribution to national GHG emissions reflects a significant shift in environmental policy.

🚙 Since the 1990s, Canada has utilized High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes to mitigate traffic jams and improve vehicle occupancy. The evolution to High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes is part of this long-standing effort to reduce congestion and promote shared commuting. Yet, the efficacy of such measures remains a topic of discussion, considering their impact on travel behavior and emissions.

📊 Recent statistics reveal a rebound in commuting patterns, with the share of Canadians working from home declining to 20.1% by May 2023, this marks a significant change from January 2022, when the rate of working from home was notably higher at 30%. Concurrently, the number of people commuting to work has surpassed May 2016 levels by 3.0%, totaling 15.9 million. Despite an uptick in public transit usage—now at 10.1% of commuters—this figure still falls below pre-pandemic levels, which saw a 50% decrease in 2022 due to this same pandemic, suggesting that efforts to reinvigorate public transit usage are not fully resonating with the commuting public.

In 2022, Canadian cities such as Candiac, La Prairie, Sainte-Julie, and Chambly in Quebec trialed free public transport, resulting in increased usage. Suggestions that eliminating transit fares in Canadian cities can lead to increased public transport usage are intriguing. However, it is important to approach such conclusions with caution. The relationship between fare elimination and increased public transit usage is complex and not definitively established, as it can vary based on several factors. While free public transit in 2022 in these cities has shown a rise in usage, attributing this solely to fare elimination without considering other aspects such as the attractiveness of the infrastructure and service offerings, as well as the possibility of opportunistic usage patterns, would be an oversimplification.

🚆 Moreover, while car use remains predominant, with over 82% of commuters driving in May 2023, a slight dip from previous years hints at changing behaviors. Public transit usage has risen in eight provinces, with significant increases in British Columbia and Ontario, yet the overall share of public transit commuters indicates there’s substantial ground to cover before it matches and exceeds pre-pandemic usage.

This data presents a complex narrative: although there is a rise in public transit commuting in some regions, the majority of Canadians still rely on personal vehicles. The task of realigning commuter habits with sustainable practices is ongoing, with clear indicators that the road to widespread public transport adoption is indeed a challenging one.

#SustainableMobility #CanadaTransport #NetZero #ElectricVehicles #Infrastructure #PublicTransit #ClimateAction #UrbanPlanning #EmissionsReduction #MobilityTrends

Sources:
GovOfCanada HOV SoloTrips GovPlan ClimatePlans 2030Emissions DecarbonizingTransportation

Article written by :

Zaccharie Ben Dhia, Karos Mobility

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