In the interest of the battle against climate change and in order to contain road congestion, more and more efforts are being made to encourage workers to use sustainable transportation (such as public transit, walking or cycling) to get to work.
Some people are naturally more inclined to use sustainable transportation: young people, recent immigrants, low income workers who have no car, people living in the central neighbourhoods of large cities, etc. Some of them 'choose' public transit because they have no alternative. Other groups, however, are traditionally less inclined to use public transit or to walk or cycle to work. These are workers who live in the suburbs, workers in the manufacturing sector and workers aged 35 and over.
Winning these groups over to sustainable transportation is often a challenge. In many CMAs, few workers aged 35 and over set aside their car keys between 2001 and 2006.
For example, among workers aged 35 to 44 living in Montréal, the proportion who used a sustainable mode of transportation to get to work remained practically unchanged in the past five years (23.2% in 2001, compared to 23.1% in 2006). The same trend emerged in Toronto. In terms of older workers, no substantial progress was observed for the most recent intercensal period. In fact, a rather substantial decline in the use of sustainable transportation was noted among workers aged 65 and over.
The picture is somewhat different among workers aged 25 to 34. Workers in this age group living in the Montréal CMA reported a significant increase in the use of sustainable transportation, from 29.5% in 2001 to 32.9% in 2006.
Proportion of workers using sustainable transportation by age groups, census metropolitan areas, 2001 and 2006
Among the 33 CMAs, Halifax was the one with the sharpest increase in the use of sustainable transportation among young workers. In 2006, 27.3% of workers aged 25 to 34 living in Halifax used some form of sustainable transportation to get to work, compared to only 22.1% in 2001.
However, even though proportionally more of them used a sustainable mode of transportation, workers aged 25 to 34 represented an increasingly small share of the labour force.