Image: There sure do seem to be a lot more bikes on the road than there were 7 years ago…at least on the corner of Berri and Cherrier
Last February, the AMT released the preliminary results of their 2008 Enquête origine-destination, a transportation survey of 156,000 people in Montreal’s ever-growing metropolitan region. The AMT’s report spun the data to place the focus increasing transit ridership. Being a transportation nerd, I kept checking back for the full report, particularly in order to shed some light on my hunch that cycling is on the rise in the city. I recently noticed that the AMT has quietly released a spreadsheet detailing the 4.4 million trips that Montrealers make every day.
As far as I can tell nobody has taken on the task of learning what this survey can tell us about the state of active transportation in Montreal, so I have delved into the sea of data to see what I can turn up. Here I present the fruits of my number-crunching, followed by a bunch of cautions and disclaimers.
Happily, I found a small increase in active transportation: 12.3% of trips were done on foot or by bicycle, compared to 11.4% in 2003. The AMT estimates that there are 544,150 round-trips are made by foot or bike each day, although it is quite likely that this number varies with the seasons (the survey was done in the Fall).
Although there was a consistent increase across the metropolitan area, the difference is slightly more pronounced in the city centre. The neighbourhoods where over a quarter of trips made on foot or bicycle now include Outremont, Centre-Ville, Petite-Patrie and the Sud-Est. Longeuil also equals many parts of Montreal in terms of active transportation.
In the Plateau Mont-Royal, the hot-bed of the alternative transportation discourse, cycling and walking accounted for 37% of trips in 2008, up from 31% in 2003, surpassing the automobile as the most common mode of transportation. Keep in mind that this is before Projet Montréal took the reins, before BIXI was introduced, and mere weeks after the Maisonneuve bike path was built.
Is it due to better infrastructure and planning, education, economics, or even fad?
2008 Modal share of Active transportation:
2003 Modal share of Active transportation, originally posted here.
Explainer and Disclaimer
The results presented here are meant to be more of a conversation-starter than the gospel. I am no statistician, and frankly, I found this data was poorly explained and difficult to manage, mainly for the reasons stated below. Here are a few things to take into account when looking at this analysis:
- These statistics are based on “24-heures, tout motif sans retour” (24-hours all motives, no return). These parameters were chosen in order to draw comparisons with the 2003 results.
- The survey took place by phone during fall 2008 and asked people about the trips made in their household during a single day. It is quite likely that there is a seasonal fluctuation in the modal share of walking and cycling.
- Trips are divided into the following categories: Automobile (driver, passenger), transit, active. The sum of these 3 categories does not add up to 100%. The sum of all motorized and active transportation did add up to 100%. I assume that there is an “other motorized vehicles” category as there was in 2003 (motorcycles, tractors?).
- Bimodal trips were counted in both categories (ie: someone who drives to the train station would be counted as 1 automobile trip and 1 transit trip). The total number of bimodal trips was tallied, but could not be isolated from the automobile, transit and active transportation totals.
- The AMT’s data extrapolates from the survey sample to estimate the total number of trips in each territory.
- Regions which were added to the AMT’s survey territory in 2008 are included in the statistics, but not depicted on the map: Sainte-Sophie, Prévost, Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Roch-de–l’Achigan, Saint-Roch-Ouest, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Saint-Calixte, Sainte-Julienne, Lachute, Browsburg–Chatham, Saint-André–d’Argenteuil, Wentworth, Gore, Mille-Isles, Saint-Sauveur, Piedmont, Sainte–Adèle, Morin-Heights, Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, Sainte-Anne-des-Lacs, Wentworth–Nord, Lac-des-Seizes-Îles, Rivière–Beaudette, Saint-Polycarpe, Saint-Télesphore, Saint-Zotique, Sainte-Justine-de-Newton, Sainte-Marthe, Très-Saint-Rédempteur. Modal share of active transportation was between 2.6 and 5.6 for these regions.
And here are some regional comparisons:
Turns out that the 25% transit ridership that was much tooted earlier this year was specifically referring to the morning rush-hour on the Island of Montreal.