Origin-Destination Study 2008 In five years, public transit ridership jumps by 15%. Trips by car are down, a first since 1970.

Press release


Origin-Destination Study 2008
In five years, public transit ridership jumps by 15%.
Trips by car are down, a first since 1970.

Montréal, February 15, 2010
Today marked the release of the results of the 9th Origin-Destination (O-D) study conducted in the fall of 2008 among some 66 100 households in the metropolitan area. The announcement took place in the presence of Madam Julie Boulet, Ministre des Transports du Québec, appearing on her own behalf and on behalf of Mr. Laurent Lessard, Ministre des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire, as well as in the presence of Mr. Joël Gauthier, Chairman-Director General of the Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT), Mr. Michel Labrecque, Chairman of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Madam Caroline St-Hilaire, Chairwoman of the Réseau de transport de Longueuil (RTL), Mr. Jean-Jacques Beldié, Chairman of the Société de transport de Laval (STL) and Mr. Jean-Luc Labrecque, President of the Association des Conseils intermunicipaux de transport (ACIT).

Trend reversal
Two particularly striking facts emerge from this study that reflect a reversal in a trend that has been constant since 1970. With a jump of 15% in five years, public transit ridership is now registering a modal share of 25%, while, for the first time in almost 40 years, trips by car have seen a drop of 1%.

“The 15% increase in public transit ridership in five years is concrete proof that the efforts to improve public transit services have borne fruit and are responding effectively to the evolution in the trip market. I am pleased with this trend, and we must continue on this path,” declared Madam Julie Boulet.

“The latest O-D study has brought some very welcome results. We should mention, for instance, the market share of 25% for public transit in 2008, versus 22% in 2003, and the reduction in the use of the automobile. These new data will help guide us in our long-term transportation planning,” continued Mr. Joël Gauthier.

Use of modes of transportation
Despite an increase in the number of cars (10%) and a slightly lower car occupancy level of 1.23 people per vehicle (1.25 in 2003), trips by car experienced a decrease of 1%, a trend reversal observed for the first time since 1970. It should be remembered that from 1998 to 2003, trips by car had experienced an increase of 5%. Non-motorized trips, by foot and by bicycle, also saw an increase of more than 11%.

“The results presented today are very encouraging as they demonstrate that a greater number of Montrealers are abandoning their cars in favour of public transit. Thanks to the efforts undertaken over recent years by the Ville de Montréal, the agglomeration cities and the Société de transport de Montréal, trips by public transit experienced growth of 10%, while trips by car went down by 6% on the island of Montréal. In light of this success and in a context where the Quebec government wants to reduce GHG emissions by 20% between now and 2020, the time has now come for the STM, with the help of the Quebec government, to redouble its efforts to improve the service offer and encourage even more Montrealers to join a Society in Motion,” declared Mr. Michel Labrecque.

For Madam Caroline St-Hilaire, Chairwoman of the RTL, the significant increase of 19% in public transit use in Longueuil demonstrates that we have made the right choices over the past few years.

“In Laval, between 2003 and 2008, the population grew by 7%, and employment by 12%. But this study enables us, above all, to measure the effect of the opening of the three new métro stations in Laval on April 28, 2007. The impact of this extension is spectacular. Métro use by Laval residents has increased by 70%, which has led to growth of more than 30% in the use of all public transit (bus, métro and train). At the same time, automobile trips by Laval residents have dropped by 1%,” commented Mr. Jean-Jacques Beldié.

Population shift and mobility
We see confirmation of the population growth over the last five years in the Montréal metropolitan area (an increase of 5% since 2003), with greater growth in the suburbs than in Montréal in both population and employment.

“Travel in the suburbs is often associated exclusively with the car. However, the results of the O-D study tend to indicate that the model is changing. Public transit holds an ever-growing share, with 27% of the new rush hour trips on public transit being observed in the municipalities in the northern and southern suburban areas of the metropolitan area. These increases, in the order of 40% and 50% respectively, clearly demonstrate that the public transit service offer in the suburbs is responding to a constantly-growing need, thus confirming the population trends,” stated Mr. Jean-Luc Labrecque.

The population growth since 2003 has resulted in an increase in trips during the morning rush hour on all forms of transportation. This increase is observed throughout the metropolitan area: 1% on the island of Montréal, 3% in Laval, 2% on the South Shore and 5% and 10% respectively in the northern and southern suburban areas. The reasons for these trips, estimated at more than 2 213 000 each morning, break down as follows: 51% for work, 29% for studies and 16% for other purposes.

“I am delighted to see that the financial support provided by our Ministry has been used to gather valuable data that we will be able to use to target our development and transportation strategies. We would like to encourage citizens in the Greater Montréal area to adopt a lifestyle that will help achieve the environmental objectives set by the government while adequately meeting their needs. I am pleased to see that more and more people are taking concrete action on a daily basis to benefit from a quality environment by taking even greater advantage of the territory’s public transit infrastructure,” concluded Mr. Laurent Lessard, Ministre des Affaires municipales, des Régions et de l’Occupation du territoire.

The Origin-Destination study at a glance
The O-D study deals with the characteristics of trips taken by people using all forms of transportation. It provides a profile of the mobility of residents, their work, study and recreational activities as well the methods of transportation they use.

Conducted every five years since 1970, each successive survey covers an increasingly large territory. In 2008 it extended across the entire metropolitan area from the cities of Montréal, Laval and Longueuil to the northern and southern suburban areas, thus covering a territory of 8 200 km2 that includes 121 municipalities. This research, conducted via telephone interviews, surveyed 66 100 households in the metropolitan area.

Highlights of the 2008 Origin-Destination study can be found on the AMT site: www.enquete-od.qc.ca
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