So, Ottawa – How was your commute to work?

August 10, 2018

Delays. Soaring costs. Manspreading. These are just three of the hardships endured by commuters on a daily basis that make the journey to and from work a thoroughly miserable experience for many.  But just how bad do workers in Canada’s capital have it? Is an Ottawan’s commute any worse than a New Yorker’s, or a Parisian’s? How does it compare to those faced by workers in Toronto or Vancouver?

A consulting firm in London UK (Expert Market, a division of Marketing VF Global) set out to answer these questions with the most comprehensive study of commuting in global cities to date.  They examined 74 cities with a population size of more than 300,000, across 16 countries worldwide, analyzing seven data points.  The results paint a fascinating picture of commuting around the world.

The study looked at Moovit Public Transport Index (150 million users worldwide) to find:

  • Average time spent commuting each day
  • Average time waiting for a bus or a train each day
  • Average journey distance (one way)
  • The percentage of commuters who make at least one change as part of a single journey

The study also used data from the Numbeo Cost of Living Index to calculate the average cost of a monthly travel card as a percentage of average net monthly salary, and from the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard to find the average number of hours spent in congestion over 240 commuting days.

The final ranking has been weighted, with cost and time spent commuting judged to be the most important factors.  The results reveal that Nice, France, offers the best commute whereas Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offers the worst commute.  Ottawa ranks in the middle of the pack, ranked at #38, just behind Vancouver (ranked at #33) but way ahead of Toronto (ranked at #69).

According to the Expert Market study, a commuter in Ottawa spends (on average):

  • 84 minutes commuting
  • 13 minutes waiting for a bus
  • Travels 7.8 km
  • Will make at least 1 change in a single journey (62% of commuters)
  • Spends 3.09% of monthly income for a travel card
  • Spends 31 hours in congestion over 240 commuting days

ONS offers some insights into Ottawa’s commuting experience, by neighbourhood.  Select indicators under the Environment and Sustainability theme.