For immediate release
TORONTO, October 11, 2016. The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) is pleased to announce the release of Cycling Behaviour and Potential in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, a new report led by Ryerson University in collaboration with TCAT that finds very high potential across the region for shifting over 4 million trips from motor vehicle to bicycle.
The findings will inform the next Regional Transportation Plan, and municipal policy and planning practice in the GTHA, in creating cycling-friendly and healthy communities, a goal of both the Regional Transportation Plan for the GTHA, The Big Move, and the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.
“We know that the popularity of cycling in downtown Toronto is growing exponentially, but our findings indicate there are critical opportunities to improve both policy and practice to support cycling across the entire GTHA,” said Raktim Mitra, Principal Investigator and Professor at Ryerson University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning.
“If only one in five (20%) of the trips that we identified as cyclable trips were actually cycled, that would take 716,000 cars off GTHA streets every day. It would also contribute to a significant reduction in congestion and green house gas emissions, and make a major improvement in physical activity levels among GTHA residents,” Mitra added.
The researchers examined current patterns of cycling in the GTHA, quantified cycling potential in the region and indentified areas with high propensity for cycling. A potentially cyclable trip is defined as a trip where:
- the primary mode of travel was not walking or cycling, and;
- the trip distance was between 1 and 5 km, a distance that can be easily made by bicycle in under 20 minutes.
GTHA residents take 14 million trips every day. The majority (63%) of these trips are short trips less than 5 kilometres, and yet, only 6% of these short trips are currently either walked or cycled. In comparison, 4.35 million trips within the GTHA can be considered potentially cyclable trips, which is one-third (i.e., 33%) of all trips that are not currently taken on foot or a using a bicycle.
“While current cycling rates in many suburban municipalities in the GTHA remain low, our research has found that there is high potential for increasing cycling for transportation outside of the downtown core,” noted Nancy Smith Lea, Director of The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT), a collaborator on the report.
Other key findings from this report are:
- More than half (53%) of the estimated potentially cyclable trips are short trips, between 1 and 3 kilometres in length. All regional municipalities produce very high volumes of short trips that could potentially be cycled.
- The potential for cycling was higher among unemployed travellers and among women. Women currently make more trips that can potentially be cycled (54%) compared to men (46%). However, only 30% of current cyclists on GTHA’s roads are female.
- Currently only 1.1% of school or work-related trips by 11-16 year old youth are cycled. However, the research suggests that at least 27.5% of all trips to school or work by this age group can potentially be cycled.
- One-fifth (22%) of all trips to/from the GO transit stations (and 4% of all transit access trips) could potentially be cycled. Promoting cycling for these short transit access/egress trips can play a critical role in solving the region’s “last mile/ first mile” problem.