A recent Stats Can report on Canadians’ transportation habits entitles Montrealers to some bragging rights: car usage in Montreal’s metro area was the lowest in the nation in 2006, with only 65% of the residents making all trips by car, either as a driver or passenger.
Still, this hardly makes us a “ville verte par excellence” as reported by Le Devoir. After all, 65% of the people in this city are still getting behind the wheel for everything from the daily commute to work to the emergency dep-run (dep-drive?).
Zooming in on the city center, alternative means of transportation like public transit, walking and cycling, fare a little better. The proportion of central neighbourhood residents who traveled everywhere by car was 29% in Montreal, compared with 43% in Toronto, 56% in Vancouver and 66% in Calgary. The study credits Montreal’s lead to the fact that the city is older and many parts of it were developed before the “built for drivers” mentality became so pervasive.
On a similar note, the Plateau Mont-Royal published a press release last month tooting the high use of alternate transportation by local residents and blaming traffic in that neighbourhood on visitors from surrounding boroughs (their data was from a 2003 AMT study).
A few years ago, I became closely acquainted with the same AMT data and I thought I’d share this map I made showing the percentages of trips make by of active transportation (walking, cycling, skateboarding etc) in the Montreal area:
While more people get around on their feet and bikes in the central neighbourhoods, it’s neat to note that there are pockets of active transportation in the older towns surrounding Montreal like Saint-Jerome (101), Sainte-Therese (96) and Saint-Jean-sur-le-Richelieu (61). The AMT’s survey is supposed to be updated in 2008, so expect to see comparisons here whenever they get around to publishing the data.