cars in toronto

How many cars are on the road in Toronto?

The numbers of Toronto's chronic traffic problems are staggering and depressing: an estimated $2.7 billion a year in lost economic output, $3.3 billion in delay and vehicle costs, 81 hours a year--that's more than three full days--spent sitting perfectly still in a gas- and money-guzzling vehicle.

It's tough to say exactly how many cars there are on Toronto's streets, however. One way source of information is a detailed 2011 survey by the University of Toronto's Data Management Group. It breaks down the level of car ownership in the former City of Toronto, City of York, North York, East York, Scarborough, and Etobicoke.

The highest ratio of car ownership was in Etobicoke and Scarborough, where there was an average of 1.3 vehicles per property. The old City of Toronto had the least amount of cars, on average 0.9 per home.

Using that data, it's possible to estimate that there were 1.1 million vehicles in Toronto in 2011, most of them in the old City of Toronto, Scarborough, and North York. East York and the former City of York had fewer cars, partly due to their small size.

On average, each property in Toronto had 1.3 vehicles, a touch lower than the current national average of 1.5 cited in a Toronto Star story in February. That said, the number of cars on Toronto's road will certainly have increased since 2011. Canadians bought 1.7 million new vehicles in 2013 alone.

Owning one of the city's 1.1 million vehicles is an expensive proposition. Each costs about $9,000 a year to keep on the road--that's a staggering $10.1 billion spent by the people of Toronto on their cars.

Ouch.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Stephen Gardiner/blogTO Flickr pool.


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