Passenger Travel by Motorized Modes, Canada, 1970-1995

January 30, 1996

Passenger-Kilometres

 

With the exception of the years 1980-82, the number of passenger-kilometers (pkm) traveled by motorized modes rose constantly throughout the period 1970-95. (See Table 1.) Growth in motorized travel increased a total of 127.5 % — outstripping growth in population, at 36.7%, over the same period. As a result, the average Canadian traveled 15,968.6 kilometers by motorized modes in 1995, as compared to 9,596.3 kilometres in 1970.

Table 1. Passenger-Kilometres (Billions) by Motorized Modes, Canada, 1970-95

  Automobile Airplane Train Intercity Bus Urban Transit Total
1970 177.2 18.6 3.1 3.6 5.4 207.9
1972 191.6 21.7 2.8 3.6 5.8 225.5
1974 205.6 29.2 2.5 3.7 6.5 247.5
1976 216.2 32.8 2.4 3.9 7.9 263.2
1978 228.0 38.3 2.5 4.1 8.6 281.5
1980 250.1 47.0 2.7 4.4 9.6 313.7
1982 236.9 44.2 2.1 4.2 10.1 297.5
1984 267.8 46.4 2.3 4.0 9.6 330.1
1986 295.9 53.1 2.2 3.8 10.8 365.8
1988 322.8 62.3 2.3 3.5 10.8 401.7
1990 334.4 66.8 1.4 3.4 11.0 417.0
1991 334.4 57.9 1.4 4.0 10.9 408.6
1992 348.8 62.5 1.4 4.0 10.8 427.5
1993 361.6 60.7 1.4 4.0 10.9 438.6
1994 379.5 65.6 1.4 4.1 10.9 461.5
1995 383.5 72.1 1.5 4.8 11.0 472.9

 

Source: http://www3.ec.gc.ca/~ind/English/Transpo/Tables/pttb06_e.HTM

 

Between 1970 and 1982, growth in the passenger-kilometres traveled by automobile (2)and the more-regulated modes (trains, intercity buses, and urban transit (3)) occurred at similar rates. In 1982, the passenger-kilometres traveled on the more-regulated modes in Canada was 135.5% what it had been twelve years earlier; the number of passenger-kilometres traveled by automobile was 133.7% of 1970 values.

 

 

After 1982, however, the growth rate of automobiles and the more-regulated modes began to diverge. Automobile passenger-kilometrage continued to rise, reaching 216.4% of 1970 levels in 1995, while the passenger-kilometres traveled on the more-regulated modes stagnated, and was still only 143% of 1970 levels in 1995.

 

Change in PKm, Automobile vs. the More Regulated Modes

 

Among the more-regulated modes, there were considerable differences in how the passenger-kilometrage changed over the twenty-five year period. While the number of passenger-kilometres traveled by rail was halved as the result of two sudden, steep drops, the number of passenger-kilometres traveled by transit grew rapidly until the mid-1980s, and held steady, at about 200% of its 1970 levels, thereafter. Throughout the twenty-five year period, the number of passenger-kilometres traveled by intercity bus was relatively stable.

 

Change in PKm, Automobile vs. Train, Intercity Bus, and Urban Transit

 

Automobiles and airplanes both experienced sharp increases in passenger-kilometres carried. Air travel experienced the most rapid growth, reaching 352.7% of 1970 levels by 1995. Growth in travel by automobile was the steadier of the two, with the total passenger-kilometres dropping just once — between 1980 and 1982. Growth in travel by airplane was less steady: while almost always robust, growth in air travel was astronomical during 1978-80 and 1988-90 — seemingly in response to efforts to deregulate the industry. On the other hand, the mode experienced reduced ridership during recessionary times.

 

Change in PKm, Automobile vs. Airplane

 

Until 1982, growth in the passenger-kilometres traveled by less-regulated modes (automobile and airplane) and more-regulated modes (transit, train and intercity bus) occurred at similar rates. In 1982, the passenger-kilometres traveled by the former was 143.6% of 1970 values; the passenger-kilometres traveled by latter was 135.5% of 1970 values.

 

Between 1982 and 1995, however, growth in travel on the less-regulated modes far surpassed that of the more regulated modes. By 1995, travel by automobile and airplane was 232.7% of what it had been in 1970, whereas travel by the more-regulated modes, at 143% of 1970 values, had hardly grown since 1982.

 

 

Change in PKm, Less- vs. More-Regulated Modes

 

 

Market Share

 

Between 1970 and 1975 the market share of all motorized modes but airplanes went down. (See Table 2.) In the case of trains, the descent was uninterrupted, leaving this mode of transportation with a market share one-fifth the size it had been in 1970. The decline in the market share of intercity buses was almost as unrelenting. The industry experienced growth in its market share only twice amidst twenty-three years of losses. And while the market share of urban transit actually grew between 1970 and 1982, it has fallen every year but one since. Automobiles exhibited the opposite pattern: decreasing steadily throughout the 1970s, bottoming-out in 1982, but rebounding somewhat since. (4)

Table 2. Market Share of Passenger Travel by Motorized Modes, Canada, 1970-95
  Automobile Airplane Train Intercity Bus Urban Transit
1970 85.2 8.9 1.5 1.7 2.6
1972 85.0 9.6 1.2 1.6 2.6
1974 83.1 11.8 1.0 1.5 2.6
1976 82.1 12.5 0.9 1.5 3.0
1978 81.0 13.6 0.9 1.5 3.1
1980 79.7 15.0 0.9 1.4 3.0
1982 79.6 14.9 0.7 1.4 3.4
1984 81.1 14.1 0.7 1.2 2.9
1986 80.9 14.5 0.6 1.0 2.9
1988 80.4 15.5 0.6 0.9 2.7
1990 80.2 16.0 0.3 0.8 2.6
1991 81.8 14.2 0.3 1.0 2.7
1992 81.6 14.6 0.3 0.9 2.5
1993 82.4 13.8 0.3 0.9 2.5
1994 82.2 14.2 0.3 0.9 2.4
1995 81.1 15.2 0.3 1.0 2.3

 

 

 

 

 

Footnotes

1. Includes automobiles, airplanes, trains, urban transit, and intercity buses, but neither walking nor bicycle-riding.

2. Includes cars, light trucks and vans.

3. Includes commuter rail.

4. When airplanes are factored-out of the calculations, and only surface modes are examined, the trend regarding the market share of automobiles is quite different. In this scenario, the market share of the automobile not only rebounded to 1970-levels after bottoming out in 1982, it surpassed them.

 

 

 

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