February 21, 2008
Media Release

Preliminary Transportation Tomorrow Survey results show jump in public transit use by York Region residents

 
Transit use for work trips is the highest ever recorded
 
NEWMARKET – Preliminary results of the 2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey show that The Regional Municipality of York experienced the highest percentage increase in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) for the number of weekday transit trips between 1996 and 2006.
 
The increase was 61,000 trips per day, which represents a 91 per cent increase between 1996 and 2006.  This trend is consistent with the annual ridership increase on York Region Transit from 7.7 million in 2001 to 17.1 million in 2006.
 
“Our investments in York Region Transit and Viva are successful in increasing usage of public transit,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We have a long way to go, but we are moving towards our vision of a more self-contained, less car-dependent and more sustainable city-region of the future.”
 
The percentage of York Region residents using transit during the morning peak period, 9.4 per cent, marks the first increase in 20 years.  However, automobile use at 79 per cent remains the dominant transportation mode in York Region.
 
“York Region’s reliance on the single occupancy vehicle for travel is beginning to reverse through use of public transit, carpooling and other arrangements,” said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Tony Wong, Chair of York Region’s Planning and Economic Development Committee.  “This survey is a useful benchmark monitoring tool for us to assess the effectiveness of our transportation policies and actions.”
 
The data confirms York Region residents are finding alternative modes of travel more than ever before.  This shift in York Region travel patterns include:
 
• The proportion of York Region residents working in Toronto continues to decline from 50 per cent in 1986 to 42 per cent in 2006.
 
• More York Region residents stay in the Region to work.  As of 2006, 53 per cent of residents work within the Region, an increase from 49 per cent in 1996.
 
• The average trip length to work – approximately 20 km – has remained constant from 1986 to 2006.
 
• The average trip length for York Region residents, for all trip purposes, has continued to decline from 16.5 km in 1986 to 15 km in 2006.
 
• York Region residents are increasingly choosing sustainable modes of travel to work.  The share of carpooling is eight per cent, transit is 11 per cent and walking is two per cent.  Altogether, those who choose alternative modes of travel to work are nearing their highest level in almost 20 years.
 
York Region is one of 20 regional, county and local municipal governments across south-central Ontario that participated in the 2006 Transportation Tomorrow Survey.  The survey engaged 149,631 households from St. Catharines to Barrie and Peterborough and will assist planners to understand and meet the future transportation needs of residents.
 
Approximately 14,220 randomly-selected York Region households were contacted by professional telephone interviewers to participate in the survey.  This sample represents five per cent of York Region households.
 
The survey responses included trip information for the previous weekday for each household member over the age of 11, including trip origin, destination, time, purpose and method of travel, age, gender, employment status, size of the household and number of motor vehicles operated.
 
The final survey results will be released this spring.
 
Similar surveys were conducted in 1986, 1991, 1996 and 2001, typically using staff hired through the Data Management Group at the University of Toronto’s Joint Program in Transportation.
 
More information can be obtained on the website for the Transportation Tomorrow Survey at: http://www.jpint.utoronto.ca/ttshome/
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Tim Paleczny, Communications Specialist, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1238, (416) 297-9696 or Toll free 1-877-464-9675
 Cell:  905 251-6413  Email: tim.paleczny@york.ca

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