Roads & Rail (Major)

Canada has more than a million kilometres of (two-lane equivalent) roads, roughly 38,000 of which make up the National Highway System (NHS). Please see Addendum Table RO1 for more information. Road transportation is the most important mode for passenger and freight transportation, local (intra-city) and intercity transportation, intra-provincial transportation activities, and trade between Canada and the United States (in terms of value transported).

Canada’s road network is shared by a wealth of different users, including 20 million light vehicles, 750,000 medium and heavy trucks, 15,000 public transit buses, motorcoaches and motorcycles in addition to pedestrians, cyclists and rollerbladers (see tables RO3, RO4, RO5, RO8, RO11, and RO26).

Canada faces many challenges relating to its road transportation infrastructure. Some are unique to the country—such as its extensive land mass and often harsh climate, its high degree of urbanization, and its high level of trade dependency—and some are shared by others, including an aging road and highway infrastructure, limited finances, issues of road safety, and environmental considerations. These challenges increase pressure for more federal, provincial and municipal spending at a time when economic and financial circumstances are forcing all governments to consider new and innovative ways to fund transportation infrastructure. Given the challenges ahead—including maintaining an efficient road transportation system to support Canada’s competitiveness in a global economy—the need for investment will undoubtedly continue. In coming years, however, government spending at all levels is likely to be limited given current fiscal situations and competition for funding from social sectors such as health and education.

All per Transport Canada