Canada’s transportation is an efficient, high-capacity multimodal transport spanning over vast distances between natural resource extraction sites, agricultural and urban areas. The transportation system includes more than 1,400,000 kilometres of roads, 10 major international airports, 300 smaller airports, 72,093 km of functioning railway track, and more than 300 commercial ports. 72,093 km of functioning railway track, and more than 300 commercial ports and harbours providing access to the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans as well as the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The transportation of Canada regulates most aspects of transportation within federal jurisdiction, including interprovincial transport. This primarily includes rail, air and maritime transportation. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is responsible for maintaining transportation safety in Canada by investigating accidents and making safety recommendations.
With a total of 1,042,300 km of roads in Canada, of which 415,600 km are paved, including 17,000 km of expressways in the world, behind the Interstate Highway System of the United States and the China’s National Trunk Highway System. As of 2008, 626,700 km were unpaved.
Air transportation constitutes 9% of the transport sector’s GDP generation in 2005. Canada’s largest air carrier and its flag carrier is Air Canada, which had 34 million customers in 2006 and, as of April 2010, operates 363 aircraft. CHC Helicopter, the largest commercial helicopter operator in the world, is second with 142 aircraft. Canada’s airline industry saw significant change following the signing of the US-Canada open skies agreement in 1995, when the marketplace became less regulated and more competitive.
Canada had a total of 72,212 km of freight and passenger railway, of which 31 km is electrified. The intercity passenger transportation by rail is now limited, freight transport by rail remains common. In 2006, the total revenues of rail services was $10.4 billion, of which only 2.8% was from passenger services.
Water transportation is generally used for movement of bulk commodities of relatively low value per tonne, such as coal, ore, grain, gravel and salt. The Port of Vancouver is the busiest port in Canada, moving 68 million tonnes or 15% of Canada’s total in domestic and international shipping in 2003.
Inland waterways comprise 3,000 km, including the St. Lawrence Seaway. Transport Canada enforces acts and regulations governing water transportation and safety.
Pipelines play an important role in energy extraction and transportation network of Canada and are used for transportation of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil, synthetic crude and other petroleum based products. The country has 23, 564 km of pipeline for crude and refined oil transportation, and for liquefied petroleum gas.
There are three rapid transit systems operating in Canada: the Montreal Metro, the Toronto Subway, and the Vancouver SkyTrain. Most Canadian cities have public transport, if only a bus system. Three Canadian cities have rapid transit systems, four have light rail systems, and three have commuter rail systems.