STM Unveils Survey Results

Jan. 28, 2015

The results of the 10th Origin-Destination (OD) survey were unveiled today. Conducted in fall 2013, the survey of 78,831 households paints a portrait of the daily comings and goings of Greater Montréal area residents and includes all modes of transportation. Société de transport de Montréal (STM) Chairman Philippe Schnobb, together with Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) president and CEO Nicolas Girard, and Daniel Bergeron, vice president, strategic data and metropolitan affairs at the AMT, presented the highlights of the survey, which has been carried out every five years since 1970 and is the second largest study of its kind after the national census.

Increase in public transit use during the morning rush hour 

The survey results indicate a 10 percent increase in public transit trips during the morning rush period, most of which originated off the Island of Montréal. The arrival of public transit in municipalities surrounding the Island of Montréal has provided an alternative to single-occupant car use, consequently leading to increased public transit use. The extension of métro service to Laval and the resulting expansion in the service offer on the métro and bus networks, in particular those of the Société de transport de Laval (STL), generated a 28 percent jump in public transit use among Laval residents.

To AMT Girard, these results are proof of the popularity of public transit. “It’s part of our role as planners of metropolitan public transit to ensure that the service offer we develop today is relevant and adapted to the public’s needs. The métro to Laval and, more recently, the Mascouche commuter train line that launched last December, are direct responses to these needs. The ridership data gleaned from the survey proves that we made the right choices. The new public transit projects we and our partners are working on will meet the challenges that emerged from the OD survey results, including those facing the island’s east and west ends, as well as the South Shore. The AMT, in conjunction with its partners, is responsible for the Pie-IX Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service and the extension of the métro, as well as a number of projects to launch additional reserved bus lanes throughout the Greater Montréal region.”

Montréal: still the main destination 

The Island of Montréal, and the downtown core in particular, remains the main destination for commuters. We note that 44 percent of motorized trips toward the Island of Montréal involve public transit, a 4 percent increase. Downtown Montréal enjoys the lion’s share of that increase, with nearly three quarters of motorized journeys heading there involving public transit. The city’s downtown core is also where active transportation saw the biggest increase, at 15 percent. This growth rate surpasses even those of car and public transit use.

“The results unveiled today bode well for public transit in Montréal, especially given the current situation marked by increasing motorization and the continued urbanization of off-island suburbs. In fact, we have noted a considerable increase in public transit’s market share when it comes to Montrealers’ work- and school-related trips to downtown Montréal during the morning rush period, which is now at 74 percent. Compared with other Canadian cities, this market share demonstrates Montrealers’ appreciation of our public transit system and its effectiveness. The 7 percent rise in métro ridership makes this transportation mode the region’s most popular. Moreover, it is well worth noting that active transportation in Montréal is thriving, with a 54 percent increase in bicycle use and a 7 percent rise in walking,” said Philippe Schnobb, chairman of the STM Board of Directors.

Growth and aging of the population 

In the five-year period beginning in 2008, the Greater Montréal area’s population grew by 5 percent. In other words, the region is now home to 195,000 more people than before, 83% of whom live off-island. The 1 percent annual growth rate in the territory’s population, combined with an increase in the proportion of people 65 and over, highlights some of the challenges to be faced by those planning and adapting public transit services to changing demographics.

We have already noted a 2.8 percent annual increase in automobile use between 2008 and 2013; we will need to closely monitor and analyze the situation in order to propose sustainable solutions. Special attention will need to be paid to changes in the mobility-related needs of seniors living in small suburban households, and to the increase in the number of trips (up 46 percent) linked to dropping off or picking up other people, usually children, in order to determine whether these trips can be made, and to what extent, using active transportation or public transit.

Increase in car use 

The survey showed that the number of cars on the road continues to grow, as it has for the past 15 years, and that the plateau witnessed in 2008 was related to particular circumstances. More specifically, we noted an 11 percent increase in motorization over the five years ending in 2013, more than double the population growth rate of 5 percent. This growth was accompanied by a resurgence in car use influenced by the aging population, population growth and an increasing number of jobs in the suburbs, which are home to 0.7 car per person. Compare this with Montréal, which has less than one car for every two people (less than 0.5 car per person).

Despite changes in the urban environment that work against public transit, it has remained competitive with car use in certain parts of the island where public transit use has in fact grown. Every transportation mode has its place in society and must be used to its fullest potential. Public transit must be an integral part of every strategy aimed at improving public mobility in the Greater Montréal area. Public transit planning is key, as is the participation of all our stakeholders and partners.

The Origin-Destination survey at a glance 

The results presented here were derived from a major telephone survey conducted in fall 2013. The OD survey results are key to developing, implementing and evaluating the region’s urban transportation policies and projects.

The 2013 OD survey was financed by the AMT, Association québécoise du transport intermunicipal et municipal, Montréal Urban Community, Quebec Department of Transport, Réseau de transport de Longueuil, Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine, Société de transport de Laval and STM. We also wish to acknowledge the scientific contribution of Groupe MADITUC and the Chaire Mobilité de l’École Polytechnique.