Montreal's Vital Signs 2010
The number of cars is increasing faster than the population, but there is a slight drop in vehicle usage, which can be attributed to a significant increase in the use of public transportation, as well as biking and walking.
  • Pictogramme voitureIn 2008, it was estimated that there was a fleet of 1,789,000 vehicles in Greater Montreal, an increase of 10.5% compared to 2003, while the population only increased by 5%. This growth in the number of vehicles was more significant in the suburbs (+17%) than on the island (+6%), with an increase that was much greater than the population (+10% vs. +2%). Also of note was the fact that the number of men who owned vehicles remained constant, while there was an increase among women and seniors. 1
  • Between 2001 and 2006, the number of driverís license holders on the island increased by 2%, but rose by 11% for those 65 years of age and older, and 29% for those 75 years of age and older. There were significantly more drivers [especially women] among those who will soon be turning 65 years of age. 2
  • In 2006, among island residents 75 years of age or older, 61% of men and 21% of women had a driverís license. 2
  • Every morning in 2008, residents of Greater Montreal moved from one place to another 2,213,000 times, mainly for work (51%) and school (29%). On the whole, 89% of this movement took place in motorized vehicles and 22% on public transit. 1
  • Between 2003 and 2008, in Greater Montreal, there was an increase in the use of public transit (+15%), bicycles (+10%), and walking. Conversely, a slight decrease in vehicle usage was noted (-1%), which
    was observed for the first time since 1970, as well as in the number of passengers per vehicle
    (now 1.23/vehicle)
  • Between 2003 and 2008, morning use of vehicles decreased everywhere, except in the suburbs (+6%). On the other hand, off-island areas experienced the greatest increase in the use of public transit, notably in the north (+40%) and south shore communities (+52%), and also in Laval (+31%), which has only been accessible by metro since April 28, 2007. 1
  • In Greater Montreal, it is estimated that use of a car to transport children to elementary school increased from 22% to 31% in only five years [1998-2003], while walking decreased from 41% to 34%. Over the same time period, a decrease was also noted in the distance travelled between home and school, from 550 to 480 metres. 3
Modes of Road Transport to Elementary School
CMA Sectors, 2007
Source : Groupe de recherche Ville et mobilité 3
  • The city of Montreal had 502 km of cycling trails in 2009, the equivalent of 0.29 km per 100,000 citizens, making it better served than Toronto (0.17 km), but less than Vancouver and Ottawa (0.66 and 0.67), Calgary (0.99), and especially Edmonton (1.17). Montreal is hoping to double its cycling network in the next seven years. 4
  • At the 25th edition of the Tour de líÎle de Montrťal, in 2009, more than 80% of participants in this major cycling event wore a bicycle helmet. It remains to be seen what the rate will be among Bixi users. 5
© Bixi
pictogramme bicyclettedotHow can you not salute the popularity of Bixi, this self-serve bike system that claims a place in public transit as an alternative to the car? After only three months of operation on the island, 278 stations serviced 8,419 members, and 77,070 occasional users who travelled 3,612,799 km, or the equivalent of 87 times around the planet, while saving 909,053 kg in greenhouse gas emissions. And the idea is catching on in Melbourne, Minneapolis, Washington, Boston, LondonÖ6

1 Enquête Origine-Destination 2008. Constat sur la mobilité des personnes dans la grande région de Montréal, réalisation conjointe avec l’Agence métropolitaine de transport

2 Les moyens de transport et la mobilité des aînés montréalais : intervenir face au vieillissement de la population, Table de concertation des aînés de l’île de Montréal et Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, 2009, 99 p.

3 « Proximité et transport actif. Le cas des déplacements entre l'école et la maison à Montréal et à Trois-Rivières », par Juan Torres et Paul Lewis, Environnement urbain / Urban Environment, Nº 4, 2010, 15 p.

4 Canada’s Coolest Cities, by Alison Bailie and Claire Beckstead, The Pembina Institute, 2010

5 Sécurité des cyclistes: miser sur une approche progressiste, Mémoire de Vélo Québec concernant le Projet de loi nº 71 - Loi modifiant de nouveau le Code de la sécurité routière, Montréal, 25 janvier 2010, 17 p.

6 Bixi Montreal website