VANCOUVER, BC- Ontario has the best transportation system in
Canada while British Columbia has the worst, according to a new
peer-reviewed study that compares the transportation
infrastructure of the 10 Canadian provinces released today by
independent research organization the Fraser Institute.
Ontario is followed closely by Nova Scotia in second spot
and Quebec in third, while Saskatchewan is ranked slightly
ahead of ninth-place Newfoundland and tenth-place British
"A province's transportation system is a critical factor in
fostering a positive investment climate and facilitating
economic growth and prosperity," said David T. Hartgen,
emeritus professor of transportation studies at the University
of North Carolina at Charlotte and lead author of
Transportation Performance of Canadian Provinces
"Given the importance of transportation performance to the
economic health of the provinces, this study attempts to
improve Canada's transportation performance by establishing
baseline information that can be used to track conditions and
costs over time," Prof. Hartgen said.
Hartgen's study looks at the extent, use, accessibility,
cost, safety, and condition of each of different modes of
transportation in each province. Two categories of
transportation performance are assessed: passenger
transportation (highway, transit, air, and ferry service) and
freight transportation (highway, air, rail, and marine service)
across the 10 provinces. A combined overall ranking on
transportation performance is also calculated. A total of 23
specific measures of performance are developed for each
Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec receive high ratings for
their highway systems, transit systems, and air and marine
transportation, with Ontario rated first or second in each of
the four transportation modes studied. Nova Scotia is rated
first on air passenger transportation, second on highway and
sixth on urban transit and marine. Quebec is close behind and
is rated first for urban transit.
British Columbia is ranked last in Canada for passenger
transportation due to its high levels of congestion, long
commuting times, high accident rates and the cost of its road
system. BC also maintains the most costly transit system with
only average per-capita transit use.
Newfoundland is ranked ninth for passenger transportation
due to low per-capita transit ridership and high ferry
Newfoundland &Labrador has the best performance for
freight transportation with top ratings for its rail and marine
service. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rank second and third
respectively, both scoring well on rail freight service.
British Columbia is rated fourth overall for freight
transport, with high marks for its air and rail transport but
is ranked seventh for marine freight transport and eighth for
highways. Alberta is rated 10th for freight, primarily as a
result of its poor performance on highway (truck) freight.
Hartgen points out that the ratings for the 10 provinces
vary considerably by transportation mode. These differences
reflect the different operating conditions for different
transportation modes in the provinces. However, five provinces
(Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and
Saskatchewan) are rated similarly on both passenger and freight
"Given that the overall transportation performance scores of
many provinces are close, policy changes or changes in traffic
could change results, suggesting a continuing tight contest for
top honors in the future," he said.
Hartgen also notes that eastern provinces generally rate
higher than western provinces. Eastern provinces typically have
higher traffic levels per unit of system or service and higher
levels of accessibility through more extensive networks.
Generally, western provinces are less accessible and have less
traffic per unit of road length (or unit of service), higher
accident rates, and lower freight volumes (BC is an exception).
These more than offset their generally lower costs and lower
Overall provincial transportation performance rankings
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