toronto student commute

New study shows the average commute time for students at Toronto universities

Long commutes hinder student success and campus life, a new report on how students travel to school in Toronto and the GTHA has found.

Students spent an average of $220 on transit on a monthly basis, and 31 per cent of students surveyed felt it was a hindrance to their academic success.

The findings are part of a collaborative research project, StudentMoveTO, aimed to find out more about transportation experiences for students and to improve them in the long run. 

The project headed by Raktim Mitra from Ryerson's School of Urban and Regional Planning includes 10 post-secondary institutions, Metrolinx and the City of Toronto among other partners.

Last fall, more than 18,500 students participated in the survey making it the largest and the most diverse student data ever collected and analyzed.

"In a typical school year, most post-secondary students rely on public transit for much of their daily travel needs, and many spend long times commuting to and from campuses," read the report.

According to the report, students spend an average of 45.9 minutes and 14.6 km commuting one way and the commute impacted their campus lives in various ways.

commute times toronto

The average commute times by university campus, all modes of transportation. 

A total of 41 per cent of students reported their commute discouraged them from coming to campus, 60 per cent reported their commute discouraged them from participating in campus activities and events. 

Despite most classes moving online for fall 2020 and possibly into 2021, "isolation and loneliness could replace long commutes" as a challenging barrier for students taking online courses throughout the region.

Almost 50 per cent of surveyed students said they picked their courses based on their commute and 48 per cent said it was a barrier to their co-curricular experience.

However, because of the pandemic, the findings take on an "added urgency" as they provide the evidence to safely and equitably relaunch campus activities and transportation services in a post-COVID world.

"Students travel throughout the region to participate in their studies, often at length and predominantly on public transit, and a concerning number report their commute negatively impacts their academic experience," read the report.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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