Montreal, Quebec – Public transit is a lever for Montreal’s economic development, according to a new study released by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. The new study builds on an earlier study released in 2004.

“More than eight million trips are made daily in the Greater Montreal area, a number that will grow in years to come,” said Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the board. “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.”

Highlights of the study include the following:

– In 2009, expenditures made by public transit organizations in the Greater Montreal area generated $1.1 billion in added value to the Quebec economy and supported 14,110 job-years.

– Public transit is close to three times less expensive than private automobile transportation, allowing Montreal households to devote some $800 million more to their other personal expenses. The economic impact of this spending is 20 per cent greater than those of expenditures in private automobile transportation.

– The overall cost of traffic congestion in the Greater Montreal area is estimated at $1.4 billion.

– Increasing the modal share of public transit in the area by three per cent, the equivalent of the increase seen from 2003 to 2008, would annually generate savings of $75.7 million in household transportation expenses; savings of $56.1 million in parking expenditures for households in the central neighbourhoods of Montreal; a reduction of $63.8 million in the cost of congestion; a reduction of $18.1 in the cost of crashes; and if a carbon tax or carbon market existed, a $6.4 million reduction in the cost of air pollution.

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