Photo: Nicolai Grut/Flickr
A report by the University of Waterloo confirms what anyone waiting for a delayed streetcar or dealing with highway traffic jams knows: the average daily commute time in Ontario is increasing and the time crunch is stealing our free time.
The newly released report on the Canadian Index of Well-being, “How are Ontarians really doing?” looked at commuting time as part of several well-being indicators in the report. The findings? Ontario residents with paid employment saw their average commute time rise from 47.1 minutes a day in 1994 to 53.5 minutes in 2010.
Though 6.4 minutes doesn’t sound terribly taxing, the addition represents an 11.9 per cent increase in the amount of time people spend travelling to and from work. Added up over the course of a typical work-year, it accounts for an extra 27 hours in traffic, meaning Ontarians are losing an entire day’s worth of free time to commuting.
GTA residents suffer the most with time spent commuting averaging out at an hour per day. For those living in Toronto-proper, that number rises above an hour to an average of 65.6 minutes, followed by Oshawa residents who commute for 63.6 minutes and Barrie residents who spend an average of 59.2 minutes travelling a day.
These numbers are based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey, which we touched upon when it was first released in June 2013. Based on the tallies of how long it takes to get from work to home, only 15.4 per cent of Torontians had the enviable 0 to 14 minute one-way commute, the lowest percentage among Ontario cities.
To get a better sense of how commute times compare across the province, check out these charts:
The report tracked a total of 64 indicators. One of the main measures of the report pitted the GDP growth rate against the Canadian Index of Well-being. From 1994 to 2010, GDP in Canada grew by almost 30 per cent while the well-being index inched up by a much smaller 7.5 per cent.
Some bright spots in the report include the Community Vitality Indicator, which suggests over two-thirds of Ontarians expressed a strong sense of belonging to their local community in 2010, up from about 60 per cent in 1994, for an overall increase of 7.8 per cent.
Crime rates are also at a 17-year low, with the property crime rate plummeting by 64.3 per cent to its lowest levels over the entire time period. Violent crime has dropped almost every year since 2000, and by 2010, was at its lowest levels since 1998.