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Time is money: Commuters value time most and willing to pay more to drive, Deloitte report

Current GTA transportation solutions do not meet the diverse needs of commuters

Toronto, November 22, 2016 – Toronto is a world class city, but one with longstanding commuting and congestion challenges. A new study released today from Deloitte, Changing Directions: Rethinking working and commuting in the GTA, found that current transportation solutions are not meeting the diverse needs of today’s commuters. Time is the vital currency, which is why the majority of people (65 percent) drive to work.

According to Deloitte, driving to work is faster by 15 minutes on average, and over half (54 percent) of office buildings in the GTA are located beyond the reach of rapid transit making commuting by car the only option. Metrolinx estimates that the inefficiency in the GTA’s transportation systems costs the region $6 billion every year—$2.7 billion in economic impacts, and $3.3 billion in social impacts.

“The commuter is missing from today’s conversation,” said Ryan Brain, Deloitte’s Managing Partner for the Toronto Region. “We see opportunity to focus on understanding—and fulfilling—the diverse needs of people grappling with how to get to and from work efficiently, now knowing that time is often the ultimate deciding factor in determining one’s commute.”

The ways people want to live and work in the GTA is changing at an exponential rate, and will only become more diverse. A significant portion of the workforce no longer works from a traditional office—they work from home, at client locations, while travelling, or even in coffee shops. And over the next 30 years, the GTA is expected to create one million new jobs in locations that do not yet exist or may not be confined to a corporate location at all.

“Our current transportation systems are built to align with traditional working models,” said Brain. “But we know that new working models are emerging enabling greater flexibility that allows people to perform work according to their own needs, which in many cases are falling outside of traditional norms.”

This new world of work, characterized by individual empowerment, will require business to rethink their traditional one-size-fits-all working models in favour of more flexible and mobile operations, designed to address the diverse needs of individuals.

To help understand the diverse experiences that exist in the GTA’s commuting ecosystem, commuter archetypes were developed from Statistics Canada data and secondary research. Archetypes represent a range of commuting experiences, from the Multi-Tasking Motorist that treats their car as an office allowing them to be productive while on the move, to the Environmental Evangelist who rents within short cycling distance of the office to keep their environmental footprint small.

“Despite the diversity within the region, the primary conversation about transportation in the GTA has remained the same; build and maintain infrastructure,” continued Brain. “This conversation falls short of addressing the needs of commuters. Better commuting solutions start with better conversations.”

Shifting the conversation away from ‘top down’ infrastructure planning, and toward ‘bottom up’ customer-focused planning is part of the bold thinking Deloitte’s recent report, The Future Belongs to the Bold encourages Canadian business leaders to adopt.

The full report and additional resources related to these findings are available at:

About Deloitte

Deloitte, one of Canada's leading professional services firms, provides audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services. Deloitte LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, is the Canadian member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms.

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