Ontario Toll Highway - 407 ETR - Saves commuters about 26 minutes a day

Commuters willing to pay for time savings and predictable travel time

TORONTO, Dec. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - Commuters in the Toronto and Hamilton region of Ontario save about 26 minutes a day on average by using 407 Express Toll Route (ETR), according to a new report by The Conference Board of Canada, Travel Time and Reliability: An Analysis of Commuting on 407 ETR.

"Commuters are willing to pay direct charges for road use if they perceive benefits. A shorter commute is the most obvious benefit, but motorists may also appreciate more predictable travel times and a higher likelihood of avoiding stop-and-start traffic," said Vijay Gill, Director, Policy Research. "The 407 ETR experience seems to indicate that if direct charges lead to significantly better service for users who pay the direct charges, the reluctance to pay tolls dissipates."

HIGHLIGHTS
  • At 66 minutes per day, workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area face the longest average commute times in Canada.
  • 407 ETR routes offer time savings and more predictable travel times compared to untolled roadways.
  • Time savings were generally observed to be larger in the PM peak hours relative to the AM peak hours.

Workers in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) face the longest average commute times in Canada, at 33 minutes one-way (66 total minutes per day). And nearly 30 per cent of these workers have commutes of 45 minutes or more (90 minutes per day).

Direct charges for road use —such as tolls—are not widely used in Canada, most likely because Canadians are not accustomed to them, even though they are common in other developed countries (for instance, total annual toll revenues are approximately $30 billion in the United States). The biggest exception in Canada is the 108-kilometre 407 ETR, the world's first all-electronic open access toll highway through the GTHA.

The findings are based on three distinct data sources: aggregated Global Positioning System (GPS) data provided by TomTom; data from cellular networks provided by Waterloo-based firm IMS; and a field study that was conducted in order to collect both GPS and on-board diagnostic data directly from volunteer motorists with logger units installed in their vehicles.

The results from all three data sources show that 407 ETR routes offer time savings that are large, while also improving the predictability of commute times. 407 ETR commuters typically save approximately 20 minutes per day. When the enhanced reliability offered by 407 ETR-based routes is factored in, the time saved rises to approximately 26 minutes per day. Total time savings (including buffer time) was 18 per cent according to the individual vehicle logger data, and 36 per cent according to the cellular network data.

Other potential benefits from driving in less-congested traffic include:

  • reduced fuel consumption—although the observed savings were small compared to the time savings;
  • lower vehicle maintenance costs—through reduced wear-and-tear on vehicles; and
  • qualitative (i.e. quality of life) benefits that commuters may enjoy as a result of a more predictable and consistent commute.

Financial support for this research was provided by 407 ETR.

 

SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information:

Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613-526-3090 ext. 221,
E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca