StudentMoveTO study to assess transportation insights and create actions to student commuters


A collective of 10 post-secondary institutions from across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) has launched StudentMoveTO – Canada’s largest study on student transportation. From October through mid-November, some 600,000 GTHA students will have an opportunity to participate in the study.

Data from the StudentMoveTO study will generate insights, debates and actions to improve transportation experiences for post-secondary students in the GTHA. The research project is supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant.

Along with York University, the other academic partners on this expanded study are Centennial College, Durham College, OCAD University, McMaster University, Mohawk College, Ryerson University, Sheridan College, Ontario Tech University and the University of Toronto. The professional and community partners are Metrolinx, the City of Toronto, the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation and Maximum City.

The project’s goal is to achieve a better understanding of how students travel to and from school and other destinations.

College and university students in the GTHA account for more than 600,000 daily commuters on an already crowded transportation system. At this scale, time spent on both transit and the road limits students’ ability to engage in activities inside and outside of the classroom. The study will help identify the changes that need to be put forward in order to increase the quality of life for students, and the overall vitality of the GTHA and its transportation infrastructure.

On Oct. 1, York University launched invitations to more than 58,000 students to participate in the StudentMoveTO study. Because transportation habits can differ by day, the survey will be administered every day for 39 days, with 1/39th of the population surveyed each day. Emails will be sent between Oct. 1 and Nov.15, though not during fall reading week (Oct. 12 – 18). Students will also receive a follow-up reminder.

The results of the study will:

  • provide first-of-its-kind publicly available data based on the largest-ever survey on student transportation, and insights on topics identified through the largest group of collaborators to date;
  • generate conversation between students, researchers, transportation planners and concerned citizens, to inform public policy and bring change;
  • create resources that will be available to the public in order to enable teaching and inform policy making across Canada;
  • work toward province-wide and national collaboration, and;
  • allow for student transportation needs to be incorporated into campus planning and urban policy.

The 2019 StudentMoveTO study is an extension of a 2015 study by four of Toronto’s universities. In 2015, more than 15,000 students responded to the survey and helped provide insights into post-secondary students’ daily transportation needs and expectations.