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Online survey finds Generation Z drivers in Ontario are ready for a road trip but about half are feeling less confident as they prepare to drive again

Survey of drivers across Ontario and the GTA conducted on behalf of 407 ETR reveals summer travel plans and attitudes about getting back on the road

TORONTO, July 26, 2021/CNW/ – 407 ETR commissioned a survey through Innovative Research Group (INNOVATIVE) to gather the opinions of Ontario drivers about their summer travel plans and their comfort level getting back behind the wheel as many COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted.

407 ETR undertook this research as part of its ongoing interest in the road to recovery and to learn more about how the company can assist drivers in returning to the road safely.

“With the surge in online shopping and the transition to remote learning and working during the pandemic, day-to-driving for many people declined,” said Javier Tamargo, President and CEO, 407 ETR. “With Ontario now emerging from the third wave, we wanted to get a temperature check on how drivers are feeling about returning to the road – be it vacation plans or emergency preparedness. We anticipate a promising recovery as the Ontario economy comes back and regular activities resume.”

Read the full survey.

The main findings of the survey:

1. Taking a road trip is the top choice when it comes to travel this summer.

  • This year, 2-in-3 (66%) say they are considering a road trip this summer compared to 49% in an average year which makes sense given the decline in air travel and border restrictions still in place.
  • Road trips are a particularly popular option for respondents who have not taken a vacation in the past 6 month or who are generally less likely to take winter vacations.

2. Younger Generations are the most likely to embrace road tripping.

  • While Boomers (57 to 75) are often depicted as having the strongest relationships with their cars, they are the least likely to have the road trip habit.
  • Gen Z (driving age to 24) has been less likely than Millennials (25 to 40) or Gen X (41 to 56) to road trip in the past but they are the most likely to plan to do so this summer.

3. Driving less during the pandemic had an impact on Gen Z’s driving confidence.

  • Older Ontarians who have been driving longer report little difference in their driving confidence.
  • However, nearly half (47%) of Gen Z respondents say they feel less confident behind the wheel than before COVID.

4. Only 1-in-10 (10%) have all three safety measures asked about in the survey. Most Ontario drivers have a roadside assistance plan (71%) or an emergency kit (52%), but very few have a high-visibility vest (14%).

  • Lifelong Roadtrippers are mostly likely to have all three measures (14%) compared to other key segments.
  • There’s a wide generation gap on roadside assistance, with Baby Boomers (83%) much more likely to have a roadside assistance plan than Gen Z (61%), as well as an eight-point gap on owning an in-car emergency car kit (55% Boomers to 47% Gen Z).
  • Halton residents are more likely than York, Peel, or Durham residents to have a plan (80%) or a kit (60%).

5. 3-in-10 (31%) say they are ‘extremely’ or ‘very well’ prepared for an emergency, with a plurality landing somewhere in the middle thinking they’re ‘somewhat well’ prepared (41%). Only 6% say they are not prepared at all.

  • Men (42%) are twice as likely to feel prepared than women (21%).
  • There’s also a clear generational gap on this measure between Baby Boomers and Gen X (34-35% ‘extremely/very well’) and Gen Z (22%)/Millennials (26%).
  • Lifelong Roadtrippers (37%) are more likely to feel prepared than others.

6. A small number of Ontario drivers appear overconfident in their ability to handle a roadside emergency.

  • Among those with none of the three safety measures in their car, 1-in-10 (11%) feels ‘very well’ prepared.

About the Online Survey
The online survey of 1,647 licensed drivers was conducted between June 15 and June 21, 2021.

Sample Size: n=1,647 Ontario general population, 18 years or older with a current driver’s license. Oversamples were included to ensure the results had a higher confidence level in the regions and cities across the Greater Toronto Area.

Weighting: Results were weighted by age, gender, and region to ensure that the overall sample’s composition reflects that of the actual population according to Census data. The final, weighted sample size is 600.

Margin of Error: This is a representative sample. However, since the online survey was not a random probability-based sample, a margin of error cannot be calculated. Statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates do not apply to most online panels.


The Company is owned by indirectly owned subsidiaries of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (total 50.01%), also known as CPP Investments; Cintra Global S.E., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S. A. (43.23%); and SNC-Lavalin (6.76%).


INNOVATIVE is a full-service public opinion research and consultation firm. From our offices in Toronto and Vancouver, we provide clients with strategic insights using a full-range of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

For more information, contact:

Kevin Sack
Vice President
Marketing, Communications and Government Relations
Phone: 416-455-5262

Greg Lyle
Innovative Research
Phone: 416-557-6328

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