Over four out of five (83%) Hamiltonians travelled to work by car according to the 2016 census – the same proportion as in 2006, and higher than the provincial average of 79%. The percentage who used public transit crept slightly upward to 10.5% in 2016 from 9.3% in 2006. The percentage who cycled (1%) or walked to work (5%) stayed steady over the same time period1.
Research from the Hamilton Cycling Committee shows that in certain wards, and for trips to work of under five kilometers, cycling to work is more common than the 1% average indicates. In Ward 1, 7% of people cycle to work, in Ward 2, the rate is 4%2.
In 2016, 73% of Hamilton workers had jobs in Hamilton, a drop from 2006 when the percentage was just over 75%. The remaining 27% commute to a different city for work –- higher than the provincial average of 20%. About 20% of Hamiltonians spend less than 15 minutes getting to work, while another 20% spend more than 45 minutes.
As the Hamilton Spectator’s All About Us points out, the Hamilton CMA has Canada’s sixth longest average commute in Canada at 28.4 minutes each way, behind Toronto (34), Oshawa (33.5), Barrie (30.7), Montreal (30), and Vancouver (29.7)3.
Kilometres of Biking Lanes
In Hamilton, there are just over 200 km of designated bike lanes, an increase of 130 km since 2007, when there were only 70 km. Shifting Gears, the City’s 2009 Cycling Master Plan, recommended adding 910 km of bike lanes by 2029. There have been 46 bike lane projects completed in the last five years, and 25 projects in the planning stages (11% of the targeted projects). The City reports summer ridership along the Cannon Cycle track at 700 per day.
Hamilton also has 149 kilometers of multi-use trails that are used by cyclists and pedestrians.
To see usage of bike lanes and trails in real time, go to the City’s Active Transportation Benchmarking Program.
In 2016, there were 333,368 passenger trips to or from Hamilton International Airport, up 7% from 2015 when there were 312,839. This was the first increase after four years of declining passenger trips: there were over 350,000 passenger trips in 2012. The current increase was attributed to the addition of two new airlines (Air Canada, and NewLeaf Travel company) as well as increased linkages to major population centres in Canada4.
Ridership on the Hamilton Street Railway has remained steady over the past decade. The Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada collects municipal data on transit use from some of the largest cities in Canada. In its most recent report, it found that Hamilton had 44 paid fares/capita in 2016, and over the past decade, has ranged between 44 – 46 paid fares/capita. Hamilton ridership is lower than Montreal (207) and Toronto (187), but similar to Waterloo (43.5), and higher than many Canadian municipalities: Durham (18), Regina (23), Sudbury (30), Thunder Bay (34), Windsor (30), and York (21)5.
1 Statistics Canada. 2016 Census. Community profiles.
2 Hamilton Cycling Committee, 2015.
3 Hamilton Spectator, 2018. All about us.
4 Hamilton International Airport. 2016 Year in Review.
5 Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada, 2011-1017. Transit. Note: these measures include paid fares only, and do not include rides paid for with student, senior, and adult monthly passes.