Toronto, Ontario – A majority of Toronto drivers say that their daily commute is damaging their health but they are unwilling to give up their cars, according to a new survey by IBM.

Only 17 per cent of Torontonians use public transit, and those who prefer their vehicles do not find the price of gas to be a major deterrent to driving.

The study also found that 60 per cent of Toronto commuters say that traffic has negatively affected their health; 29 per cent say traffic has negatively affected their performance at work or school; 60 per cent commute alone; and if they had a shorter commute, one-third would sleep longer, while nearly 50 per cent would spend more time with family and friends.

The Toronto study was part of a larger IBM global survey that found that aggressive infrastructure investment in some of the most rapidly-growing economies seems to be paying off. Compared with other cities surveys, more commuters in Bangalore, New Delhi, Beijing and Shenzhen reported improvements in traffic conditions over the last three years. Still, 67 per cent of drivers in Mexico City, 63 per cent in Shenzhen and New Delhi, and 61 per cent in Beijing said they decided not to make a driving trip in the last month due to anticipated traffic, the highest of all cities surveyed.

Some 42 per cent of respondents globally reported increased stress and 35 per cent reported increased anger due to traffic. Respiratory problems due to traffic congestion were most prevalent in China and India.

In IBM’s “Commuter Pain Index,” which ranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in cities, Mexico City was the highest. Toronto ranked 16th of the 20 cities, below Los Angeles and New York City, while Montreal ranked the best.

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