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Which of these road-sharing measures would have a positive impact on your day-to-day trips?

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11.1%
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What do you think should be prioritized for the portion of a trip made using active transportation?

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Which of the following points is most likely to convince you to use carpooling for your trips?

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16.7%
33.3%
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Complete streets are streets that allow people of all ages, using all modes of transport, to get around safely and comfortably, from season to season. (Québec city)

Measures introduced on road networks to prioritize public transit, for example, reserved lanes, queue jump lanes, priority traffic signals (vertical white bars) or real-time next-bus information.

Autorité régionale
de transport métropolitain

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3 questions

An efficient transportation system

Why talk about it?

Together, we make about 8.3 million trips within the territory each day, thanks to efficient, interconnected transportation systems. These include road networks, pedestrian and bike networks and public transit and paratransit networks. The number of trips made daily has increased over the past several decades and this trend is expected to follow anticipated demographic growth; however, the financial resources and space allocated to transportation systems is limited. We need to make smart choices to allow as many people as possible to get around easily and quickly within the same amount of space.

Many modes of transportation depend on the road network: pedestrians, cyclists, bus riders, automobile drivers and their passengers all use our roads. By encouraging people to share the roads peacefully, and providing special facilities we can offer the entire population more travel choices. The many alternatives to single occupant vehicles or reducing the need to own a car are part of the wide range of sustainable mobility services. These include public transit, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, taxi and carsharing services, public bikesharing services, school bus services, river shuttles and ferries.

Sustainable mobility services vary greatly across the region, which may force people who live or who must travel to sectors with less service to use a car as their primary mode of transport. This impacts citizens who witness increased travel times due to congestion and whose transportation budget increases when they must purchase a second or third car.

Finding a balance between space and resources allocated to each mode of transportation makes sense, both in terms of using resources more efficiently and meeting the needs of the population.

Average number of accessible sustainable mobility services

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Source: ARTM table, 2018

Optimizing use of our infrastructures

Traditionally, when we talk about transportation, we calculate the capacity of different components of the road network according to the flow of traffic during a particular period of time. With sustainable mobility, we measure the number of individuals who are able to get around. When space and resources are limited and the population and number of trips continues to rise, road infrastructures must be optimized to make them more efficient and get more people around faster.

Public transit and active modes help make the road network more efficient by taking up less space than cars, while moving as many people.

Already, in the region’s denser sectors, street space has been redesigned to incorporate efficient modes of transportation. Reserved bus lanes, wider sidewalks and bike paths allow more people to get around at the same time.

This approach is particularly effective on bridges. For example, the reserved bus lane on the Champlain Bridge allows as many people to travel during rush hour as the two lanes of traffic for cars and trucks. Rapid transit systems, such as the métro and train also make it easier to move many people quickly.

Public transportation: the cornerstone of sustainable mobility for the region

The public transportation system is designed to move large numbers of people at speeds that can compete with the automobile. Currently, in the greater Montréal region, there are three types of public transportation that allow for this: the bus, métro and train.

By moving many people along many routes, public transit services contribute directly to region’s economic development by getting more workers to regional employment hubs while freeing up space on the road network and making car travel or transporting goods easier. Three major improvements to the public transit system will be introduced over the next three years: the bus rapid transit (BRP) on Pie-IX Boulevard, the extension of the métro’s blue line and the Réseau express métropolitain (REM). Together, these three projects will improve access to many sectors of the region. Major gains will also be made on the time it takes to get downtown. In 2028, almost the entire island of Montréal, Longueuil and a large portion of Laval will be able to reach downtown in less than 60 minutes using public transit.

Because buses, active transportation and road transport often share the same road infrastructure, we also need to improve the road network to make it safer, ensure it is maintained and improve signage for our urban transportation system to function efficiently.

Active modes go hand in hand with public transportation

Walking and biking are affordable and flexible modes of transportation that are rarely affected by congestion or roadwork because they provide so many other possible routes. Another bonus to active transportation is that travel times are generally predictable and reliable. And from an efficiency point of view, pedestrian and cycling infrastructures are inexpensive and can accomodate a large number of people.

The use of active transportation is directly linked to proximity to destinations. It is also influenced by the presence of safe and adapted infrastructures. By redesigning public spaces, we can significantly improve the pedestrian experience. The complete street approach favoured by many municipalities allows us to rethink the street based on its uses, so that active modes become genuine transportation alternatives.

Active modes are a natural fit with modes of public transit. Every day in the metropolitan region, 1.3 million public transit users (89%) walk to public transportation services or from there to their destination. Worldwide, cities with the highest rates of public transit ridership also have the highest rates of active transportation. In this respect, the core of the Montréal region is comparable to major European cities: residents make 29% of their trips using public transit and 25% using active transportation. An environment that is conducive to active transportation will make taking public transit more enjoyable, easier and safer. For example, a well-designed urban environment that features safe sidewalks and pedestrian pathways encourages access to public transit entry points. Initiatives aimed at increasing active modes of transportation are, therefore, part of the solution to increasing how many trips are made using public transit.

Public and active transportation mode share

Public and active transportation mode share in European and Canadian metropolitan regions
Source : Toronto : Transportation Tomorrow Survey (2011) UITP, Mobility for Cities Database (2012)

Making optimal use of cars

Every morning, there are 1 million single occupancy vehicles on the road. In other words, there are 4 million free seats in cars already on the road during the morning peak. Carrying multiple car passengers (carsharing) is a simple way to make our road network more efficient. In fact, if there were two people in each car, there would be half as many cars on the road. A number of solutions have been introduced to reduce the number of cars on the roads:

  • Carpooling, which can be arranged informally or through a ridesharing service.
  • Smart phone ridesharing apps, which optimize car trips. Reserved carpooling lanes also promote this practice.
  • Carsharing services, which offer members a fleet of vehicles for short- or medium-length distances, with or without a reservation.

These options allow people to take advantage of the perks of a car without having to own one and reduce the space needed for parking lots in our cities. In turn, these services offer us greater flexibility because we can then choose to make only part of our trips by car.

An efficient road network

The road network is used by everyone who travels in the region – whether by automobile, public transit, paratransit, bike or foot. Traffic congestion is as harmful to bus riders as it is to car drivers, and since buses carry many people, the impact of congestion on the latter is even more pronounced. Implementing bus priority measures will make service more reliable and punctual while improving the quality of trips using public transit.

Sound management of the road network includes road maintenance, clear signage, well planned roadwork and traffic updates to ensure optimal flow of people and reliable and efficient public transit services. New information technologies and communication services hold significant potential for optimizing personal car use and the road network; for example, providing real-time information on vehicle availability, parking, roadwork, traffic congestion and alternative transit options.

The metropolitan arterial road network

The Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) has identified the Réseau artériel métropolitain (Metropolitan Arterial Road Network) as close to 2,000 kilometres of municipal arterial roads in order to better coordinate public transit and road network planning. When it was created, the ARTM became responsible for the Metropolitan Arterial Road Network and will be working to redefine it.

Sustainable mobility options

Bus

Because they travel on an extended road network, bus services can be offered region-wide. Moreover, 90% of residents in the region live near a bus stop. In most sectors, bus service is offered throughout the day, though frequency may vary greatly. A high-frequency bus service exists across almost the entire region, often featuring priority measures (reserved lanes, signal priority, etc.). For example, on the island of Montréal, 50% of the STM’s bus ridership is on high-frequency buses. In less-densely populated sectors, bus lines connect to the métro or train or go directly downtown, often thanks to reserved lanes and other priority measures.

One million full or partial trips are made by bus every year across the region, which represents 70% of trips made using public transit.

As part of its mission, the ARTM is seeking to harmonize the quality of bus service offered to the region, while taking into account the particularities of each sector within the territory. The characteristics of services to be examined are:

  • span of service: the number of hours a day the service is offered
  • frequency: the number of departures every hour of service
  • symmetry: the service provided in each direction.

User satisfaction will also be measured based on the most important aspects of their ridership experience. Criteria such as reliability, comfort, cleanliness, safety and courtesy of personnel will be examined.

Bus network Enlarge

Métro

With 68 stations, 65 kilometres of lines, a high capacity and high-frequency service offered all day long as well as a completely underground route, the Montréal métro allows many people to travel quickly to the region’s densest neighbourhoods. This underground service is extremely efficient because it allows people to avoid traffic congestion on the surface network. Another asset is its availability: people can take it 20 hours a day, seven days a week. Across the region, 860,000 full or partial trips are made by métro each day, representing 60% of public transportation travel. During the morning peak, 250,000 people take the métro.

Métro network Enlarge

Commuter rail system

The commuter rail system extends to the perimeters of the region. It allows citizens living on the periphery to get downtown quickly and meets travel needs during peak periods in mornings and evenings. Every day, 85,000 full or partial trips are made on commuter trains, representing 6% of public transit travel.

Commuter train network Enlarge
Photo credit : exo

Paratransit

For some segments of the population, paratransit is the only viable option for getting around. The paratransit services offered function like a door-to-door service that requires a prior reservation. Providing these services involves finding services that best match clients and is carried out using different kinds of vehicles: regular and specialized taxis, minibuses and city buses equipped with access ramps.

Currently, more than five million trips are made using paratransit in the metropolitan region. In the past few years, paratransit demands have increased significantly. In conjunction with improvements to universal access for the entire network, the paratransit network helps support the social integration of handicapped individuals and accommodates an aging population.

Paratransit network Download

Walking

Cleanliness, safety and a pleasant urban environment have a big influence on choosing walking as a mode of transport. To encourage walking as a means of transport, the environment must feature higher population density and diverse land-use to minimize distances to travel to desired destinations. An urban environment designed to accommodate a large number of cars creates nuisances for pedestrians. These include air and noise pollution, heat islands and the absence of sidewalks. In some sectors, active transportation safety issues exist and are primarily linked to the speeds of motorized traffic and visibility, especially at intersections. Pedestrians hit by cars represent, in general, 140 serious accidents and around 20 fatal accidents in the metropolitan region each year (SAAQ 2011-2016). The faster cars travel, the less cohabitation between these modes is possible. Highways are an extreme example of this. Each day, 900,000 trips are made entirely on foot, which represents 11% of all trips for the region.

Biking

Biking is an efficient and competitive way for people to get to their destinations for distances under 10 kilometres, which corresponds to most trips made in dense and diversified sectors and developing neighbourhoods. In terms of number of trips, bike use has grown considerably, particularly in certain neighbourhoods in the core metropolitan region. Some 150,000 trips are made by bike each day, which represents 2% of all trips in the region.

The growth of biking has increased the need for roadsharing with vehicles. This can be improved by designing roads that take cyclists into account, especially at intersections, implementing better signage, maintaining lanes and modifying certain rules or introducing awareness campaigns among drivers.

People are more prone to using this mode of transportation when a safe and interconnected bike network exists. To meet new demands, more bike lanes have been introduced, and already cover more than 2,200 kilometres across the region. Every year, the bike network expands and grows. Providing bike parking near entry points to public transit and allowing bikes on buses, trains and the métro are two optimal biking and public transit combinations.

Bikesharing services such as BIXI, which is currently used in the core, hold great potential on their own as well as when they are combined with public transit. This service provides an interesting solution to the “last mile” problem and can reduce the time needed to get from home to the public transit system, or for the last leg of a trip. The services also have the advantage of being available on demand, offering flexible rental periods and giving cyclists the freedom to drop off bikes at other points.

Other public services

Taxis, transportation networks like UBER, private shuttles, school buses, ferries and river shuttles are other services available to the population, but are used on demand or very little.

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