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Light-Rail Transit Planning for a More Mobile City

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Examining the Impact of Montreal’s Réseau express métropolitain (REM) light-rail transit system

Data as of March 2023

Montreal’s public transit network, existing both on- and off-island, is among Canada’s most viable transit systems, second only to that of the Greater Toronto Area.

Ranked as the fourth most active system in North America after Mexico City, New York, and Toronto, the city’s largest transport agency, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), achieves an impressive 400 million trips annually. The arrival of the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) is projected to add 60 million trips upon delivery, further expanding network capacity along Highway 40 going west, and from the Trudeau International Airport to the city centre. The network’s first operational segment, however, looks to seal a much-needed connection between the burgeoning suburbs of the South Shore and Downtown Montreal.

First proposed in 2015 by CDPQ Infra, a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, the Montreal REM initially served as a response to a growing demand for increased network capacity along the Deux-Montagnes line, formerly operated by Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) for nearly 30 years. Today, its development could address many factors including recent surges in immigrant populations, housing shortages, revitalization potential for underserved neighbourhoods, automobile dependency, and more. The network, which includes four lines stretched over 67 kilometres, is a fully automated, driverless system that uses communication-based train control (CBTC) to deliver a more efficient transit experience.

Our analysis of the fundamental impact of this game-changing addition to the region’s already remarkable public transportation infrastructure sheds light on some of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. Set to launch in Spring of 2023, the South Shore line has already begun changing the landscape of the city of Brossard via three of the 26 stations to be delivered over the next two years: Panama, Du Quartier, and Brossard. Using the recent completion of various projects across the region as benchmarks, we examine the effect the REM will have on the city’s existing urban fabric via changes to land use and density, as well as its impact on property values, commuter travel patterns, development patterns, and commercial transactional activity.

The Montreal REM and project development map shows:

  • Condo, apartment, and office developments, that are within a 2 km distance from the future stations.
  • The current and projected population living within a 2 km distance from the future stations.
  • The total daily population (daytime population) and the total daily population at work

Use the toolbox on the top-left corner of the map to search for specific projects and/or to activate additional data layers. Click on points or features to learn more about them.


For more information, please contact:

Eliezer TimolienSenior Research Analyst

Rajaa BenabdillahSenior GIS Analyst | Canada

Rachelle ShearingGIS Analyst | Canada


Light-Rail Transit Planning for a More Mobile City

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