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Variations in the Influence of the Local Built Environment on the Decision to Walk to Work Across Canada

Authors: Christina Borowiec*, McMaster University, Darren M. Scott, McMaster University
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban and Regional Planning, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Walking, Travel Behaviour, Utilitarian Walking, Mode Choice, Commute, Sustainable Transportation, Canada
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


As Canada’s population continues to age and grow with a greater awareness of the health and environmental impacts associated with commuting modes, travel demand for active transportation is anticipated to increase, resulting in a greater need for facilities and services to support these modes of travel. As municipalities actively build resilient pedestrian-oriented neighbourhoods through place-based design and the implementation of sustainable urban planning strategies which champion walkability, interconnectivity, and accessibility, understanding of the factors influencing sustainable mobility, particularly walking, needs to be enhanced to inform future transportation-related policies and investments. Using data from the 2006 and 2016 Canadian Censuses, census tracts with the highest proportion of walking trip commutes to work in the country are identified through location quotients. The local built environment, land uses, weather, and topographical characteristics of the highest preforming census tracts are further analyzed through modeling efforts, which control for sociodemographic and economic factors. Among other results, the extent to which influential factors and environments of walking trips for commuting purposes lead to the same behavioural outcomes at the national level, despite the factors having varying degrees of effects at the local scale, are quantified. The results offer important insights to walking trips for commuting purposes and provide an opportunity for researchers and practitioners alike to identify best practices and areas where resources should be directed to increase walking commuting mode share across Canada.

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