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Release of the study “Public transit: At the heart of Montréal’s economic development”

Press release

Release of the study
“Public transit: At the heart of Montréal’s economic development”

Montréal, November 26, 2010 – Today the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is releasing the results of its study entitled Public transit: At the heart of Montréal’s economic development. Backed by hard data, this study shows the power of public transport as a lever for Montréal’s economic development and provides a summary of its many benefits.

“More than eight million trips are made daily in the Greater Montréal area, a number that will grow in years to come,” said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “The growing traffic congestion generated by this travel makes our society less productive, which inevitably leads to significant economic losses. Maintaining and developing the road infrastructure, while desirable and necessary, is not enough. The real solution lies in an informed, systematic deployment of the public transport system and an increase in its modal share.”

This Board of Trade study builds on an earlier version released in 2004.

“Public transit is vital to our prosperity,” Mr. Leblanc said. “The study we are releasing today establishes the basis for a solid argument in favour of massive investment in the public transit network. With supporting figures, it confirms that public transit contributes to our prosperity and quality of life through its influence in many areas: economic impacts, fluid traffic, property values, safety and public health. So all of society benefits from investments in public transit, not just the users.”

“The Board of Trade believes it is essential that we highlight all the benefits of public transit, which will undoubtedly have a growing role to play in the coming years,” Mr. Leblanc said. “It’s up to us to ensure that the decisions made by elected officials recognize the importance of having both a road network and a public transit system that measure up to our ambitions for our city.”

Study highlights

  • In 2009, expenditures by public transit organizations in the Greater Montréal area generated added value to the Quebec economy of $1.1 billion and supported 14,110 job-years;
  • Public transit’s impact on the Quebec economy is close to three times greater than the impact of private automobile transportation, which weakens the balance of trade in Quebec;
  • Public transit is close to three times less expensive than private automobile transportation;
  • It allows Montréal households to devote some $800 million more to their other personal expenses, the economic impacts of which are 20% greater than those of expenditures in private automobile transportation;
  • The overall cost of traffic congestion in the Greater Montréal area is estimated at $1.4 billion, or 1% of GDP;
  • Public transit has a positive impact both on urban development and on property values of residential and commercial buildings located nearby (the cases of the Longueuil metro and the future commuter train station in Mascouche are analyzed in the study);
  • Public transit generates many benefits related to the environment, security and quality of life, which represent several million dollars per year for a city like Montréal;
  • Increasing the modal share of public transit by 3% in the Greater Montréal area (the equivalent of the increase seen from 2003 to 2008) would generate, annually:
    • savings of $75.7 million in household transportation expenses;
    • savings of $56.1 million in parking expenditures for households in the central neighbourhoods of Montréal;
    • a reduction in the cost of congestion of $63.8 million;
    • a reduction in the cost of accidents of $18.1 million;
    • a reduction in the cost of air pollution of $6.4 million (if a carbon tax or carbon market existed).

Link to the study:

The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal is made up of some 7,000 members. Its mission is to represent the interests of the business community of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and local businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private economic development organization.


Sylvie Paquette
Coordinator, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4015

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