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What the sustainable mode of transportation available where you live now do you use to make most of your daily trips?

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28.6%
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To make public transit a viable alternative for everyone, which service characteristic needs to be improved first?

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Ability of individuals to move around to take part in activities such as going to work or school, shopping, or visiting family and friends.

A single person in a car.

Bus, metro and train.

Several people in a car.

Private public transit services (taxi and school bus).

Walking and cycling, for the most part.

Regular and daily travel between home and work or school.

Mode share is measured by dividing the total number of trips by a given mode of transport and by the total number of trips made during a given period. It provides an overall measure of the importance of each mode of transport.

Autorité régionale
de transport métropolitain

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2 questions

How and why people travel in the region?

Mobility in the Montréal metropolitan area

Mobility is an integral part of our daily lives, and our ability to get around easily has a major impact on our quality of life. Traffic jams, long trips or having few alternatives to the car are all challenges to improving mobility in the territory.

Our mobility needs vary according to our lifestyle and occupation as well as our personal and family situation. The modes of transportation at our disposal are determined by where we live and work as well as the businesses and services we use. Where we live in the city greatly influences our travel habits. Despite government objectives to reduce road congestion and air pollution, usage rates for various modes of transport have generally remained very stable over the past 10 years. The car, whether carrying one or more passengers, remains the most widely used mode of transport in the metropolitan area. While the proportion of single occupancy travel is lower than that of sustainable modes of transport in the region, its use is increasing. This proportion – in a single day – rose from 41% to 43% between 2003 and 2013, representing an additional 600,000 trips. Making public transit services and all sustainable modes such as walking, cycling, carpooling and other types of shared or self-service transport (taxis, bicycles or cars) more attractive must be our primary concern and the focus of efforts being deployed in the region.

To offer the people who live in the region attractive sustainable mobility options, we need to identify and consider the overall mobility needs of residents and workers traveling in the region. The following section provides an overview of the elements to consider for travel in the region.

Why we travel

The trips we make on a daily basis are not an end in themselves. They enable us to meet needs such as working, studying, shopping, enjoying leisure activities and visiting family and friends. Transportation systems, therefore, are ways of meeting our travel needs.

Our personal and family situations determine the activities we take part in, which include working, going to the doctor or driving our children to school. Of course, some of these activities put more constraints on us in terms of time or regularity of trips; for example, work and studies that require travel on a specific schedule, day after day.

Most workers and students in the metropolitan area are accustomed to travelling in a reliable, regular and predictable manner every day of the week. These daily trips, called commuting, are of strategic importance for transport systems. Commuting creates the morning peak period and the associated congestion, both on the roads and in the public transit network. During the morning peakare made possible as efficiently as can be by the region’s road and public transport systems.

Why we travel?

Trips are made 24 hours a day by individuals living at the perimeter of the ARTM territory.
Source : enquête OD 2013

When we travel?

Trips are made 24 hours a day by individuals living at the perimeter of the ARTM territory.
Source : enquête OD 2013

How we travel

Every day of the week, we make 8.3 million trips collectively in the metropolitan area, including some 1.5 million trips by public transit. With the exception of downtown Montréal, where walking is the most common mode of travel, cars are the most widely used mode of transport. While residents of denser areas use different modes of transport to get around, those living in less dense and diverse environments use the car three times out of four.

Factors influencing the mode of transport we choose

Choosing a mode of travel is an personal decision and depends on many factors:

Transportation options available to us, which differ in the various sectors of the metropolitan area.

The road network runs everywhere, unlike metro, train and high-frequency bus services. Including sidewalks and bike paths is also not always a priority – and shared or self-service transportation options (taxis, bicycles or cars) are even less so.

Accessible destinations, which depend on our communities and where they are located.

Residential and employment density, businesses as well as services reduce travel distances. A strategically-developed public transit system connects places to each other through several modes of travel.

Individual and family characteristics, which largely affect the modes of travel we choose.

These include our age, health and whether or not there are children in the household.

Personal values and the symbolic aspect of a mode of transport, which, although underestimated, play an important role in this decision.

The car can represent a symbol of freedom for some, while the bicycle can convey an image of health for others.

Weather conditions, which are also part of the equation.

Users of active modes are particularly sensitive to weather conditions, as are motorcyclists.

Public transit mode share

During peak periods, public transit is crucial to efficient travel in the region. In order to increase the use of this system during peak hours, the CMM’s Plan métropolitain d’aménagement et de développement (Metropolitan Land Use and Development Plan) has adopted specific regional objectives. By 2031, it aims to increase the public transit mode share to 35% – which was 25% in 2013 – in relation to motorized modes during morning peak period. Reaching this target would mean 290,000 more public transit users on a daily basis, or the equivalent of 290 metro trains.

Sustainable transport mode share

The ARTM’s contribution to achieving the CMM target will be a major challenge in implementing the strategic development plan. However, it is important to address mobility in all its forms in a broader and more integrated manner. To achieve the common objective of reducing single occupancy car travel, we need to include sustainable modes and build on complementary modes such walking, cycling, public transit, carpooling and taking taxis. Use of this type of transportation in relation to the total number of trips made daily reflects an integrated vision of sustainable mobility. In this view, then, every alternative to the single occupancy car is part of the solution. In 2013, 57% of all trips in the region on any given day were made using a mode other than single occupancy driving, including 18% by public transit.

Mode share of trips made on a typical day

The mode share presented in this graph has been calculated based on the total number of trips made daily.
Source : enquête OD 2013, 2003

Mode part of trips made on a typical day

Source : enquête OD 2013

The region’s many realities and levels of mobility

A sociodemographic analysis reveals significant differences between various sectors in the metropolitan area.

Although several different types of households exist in the region’s urban environments, certain trends are apparent. In particular, dense urban areas attract more people who are single, and either working or retired. The proximity of jobs, businesses and services and access to better public transit services allows members of these households to get around easily without needing to own a car. The number of cars per household is therefore lower (less than one car per household).

Being close to public transit was a deciding factor when we chose to live in the suburbs.

Wallid, La Prairie

Couples with or without children prefer to live in lower-density or suburban areas. Couples who plan on having children often choose lower-density areas. Moreover, real estate prices in these areas, which are generally more affordable, makes it easier to own larger homes.

Lastly, how far someone lives from the metropolitan core strongly affects the choice of destinations and modes of transport. The further away people live from downtown Montréal, the less attractive it becomes - making single occupancy car use more prevalent, even when the need to commute is factored into the equation.

Trips toward the Montréal core

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Source : enquête OD 2013

Single active person Couple without children Couple with children Single retired person Other (ex: roommate)
Downtown 38% 24% 12% 21% 5%
Montréal Centre 25% 23% 29% 18% 5%
Montréal East 14% 25% 37% 18% 5%
Montréal West 12% 25% 41% 17% 5%
Longueuil 15% 29% 36% 16% 4%
Laval 11% 28% 42% 15% 4%
North Shore 12% 30% 43% 12% 3%
South Shore 11% 30% 45% 10% 3%

Dense and diversified urban sectors: At the heart of sustainable mobility

The vast majority of residents who live in the region’s densest sectors also work or study there. In these kinds of sectors, travel is shorter and faster than in the rest of the territory. Fewer young adults have a driver's licence, and households make limited use of motor vehicles.

The car, however, remains the most commonly used mode of transport in these sectors, with a 45% mode share, which has declined considerably from 49% in 2003. This decrease can be explained by a shift to active modes of transport, which now account for nearly a quarter of all trips. Public transport has a significant mode share of 29%, but it is up only slightly from 28% in 2003. Biking is on the rise, especially to get to work. Since 2003, the share of bike trips made by residents in these sectors has grown from 2% to 4%, and one quarter of the 100,000 bicycle trips made in the fall of 2013 were to get to work.

Developing urban sectors: At a crossroads

These sectors are home to major employment hubs, but most commuters still travel to the region’s core. Trips are made over slightly longer distances. Car ownership rates per households is high (1.4 cars per household) and continues to rise. The number of cars on the road is growing 2.5 times faster than households, and the car mode share is 70%.

The public transit share — which ranges from 14% to 22% per sector — rose slightly, particularly in Laval following the expansion of the orange métro line in 2007. The active mode share, which represents less than 10%, was already low before it declined between 2003 and 2013.

Booming suburban sector: seeking a model of sustainable mobility

Distance is one of the chief characteristics of travel in suburban areas. Compared with the rest of the region, distances travelled are 1.5 times greater by car and twice as great by public transit. The proportion of people working in another sector of the metropolitan area is significant, but less than 15% of commuters travel to the Montréal core. In this context, the car mode share exceeds 80%.

The public transport mode share slightly exceeds 6% and is growing slowly. This is probably due to the developing service offer, while the 7% active mode share has declined by 1% since 2003.

Sustainable mode share (2013, 24-hour period)

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Source : enquête OD 2013, 2003

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