Vital Signs 2015

Getting around

Most Hamilton residents work in Hamilton or Burlington, but a higher percentage of CMA residents commute more than 30 km than in many other Ontario cities. The percentage using public transit for work is growing, as are the number of GO Transit riders, and the kilometres of bike lanes and recreational trails.

Average Commuting Distance

Some 70% of city of Hamilton residents worked in Hamilton in 2006 (the most recent information available). Another 12% commuted to Burlington.[1] Average commuting distance for people in the larger Hamilton CMA was 8.3 kilometres, similar to provincial and national averages, and virtually unchanged from 2001. Approximately 16% of Hamilton CMA commuters travel over 30 km to work, higher than the Ontario average and cities like London, Windsor, Toronto and Ottawa.[2]

Public Transit Use for Work

The proportion of working-age adults using public transit for work in Hamilton increased to 9.3% in 2006 from 8.4% in 2001; higher than Kitchener-Waterloo, London, and Windsor, but lower than Oakville, Ottawa, and Toronto.

As the following chart shows, HSR use is unchanged over the last decade, and averages just over 20,000,000 paid fares annually.[3]



Overall trends in GO Transit use from the Hamilton downtown station are up 32% from 2004, with significant variation from year to year. GO Transit use from Aldershot increased 166% over that same time frame – which included the addition of all day train service.[4]



DARTS Transit (Disabled and Aged Regional Transportation Service) is available to persons with disabilities in Hamilton who are unable to access regular transit service and who require the assistance of a personal mobility device (wheelchair, scooter, walker). The City’s Accessible Transit Services also offers subsidized taxi fares for people who have difficulty using HSR. The following chart shows that the number of annual riders of DARTS has increased by 3%, while the number of taxi scrips provided annually has dropped by 25%:[5]



Hiking and Biking Trails

In 2010, Hamilton had 135 km of major hiking and biking trails, up from 132 km in 2007. This included the 2010 addition of two trail bridges spanning the LINC and the QEW expressways. The Bruce Trail provides approximately another 100 km of hiking trails through the city.[6] Urban streets with bicycle lanes or paved shoulders are up 45% from 100 km three years ago.[7] In 2009, the City of Hamilton approved a new multi-year Cycling Master Plan intended to quadruple designated bike lanes to 566 km.


[1] For a complete list and analysis: Centre for Community Study 2009.
Urban Insights Bulletin:  Where Hamilton Works.
[2] Statistics Canada, Table 10. Proportion of the median commuting distance and commuting distance of workers, census metropolitan areas, 2001 and 2006.
[3] City of Hamilton, Transit Services, Special Request.
[4] GO Transit, Statistics Division, Special Request.
[5] City of Hamilton, Accessible Transit Services, Special Request.
[6] City of Hamilton, Traffic Engineering Department, Public Works. Special Request.
[7] City of Hamilton, Putting the Pieces Together, Together!
Cycling Committee Presentation to City Council.