Driving transit retention to renaissance: trends in Montreal commute public transport mode share and factors by age group and birth cohort

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - behaviour, ridership - young people


Public transport, Mode share, Logit, Cohort, Lifecycle, Montreal


Public transport mode share for young people appears to be growing in the 21st Century, and higher than previous mode shares appear likely to continue, increasing overall demand as today’s youths age into traditionally lower public transport-use lifecycle stages. This paper tests and supports the latter claim through application of a number of binomial logistic regression models, controlling for socioeconomic, household composition, location and service level factors. Analysis draws from over 10,000 home-based work and school commute trips from each of Montreal’s 1998, 2003, and 2008 origin-destination surveys. One large factor in Montreal’s increased youth public transport usage has been the 1997 introduction of graduated driver’s licensing, which appears to have a substantial lasting licensure damper effect only on men. Controlling for effects of variables other than survey period and age group or birth cohort, recent young age groups show higher public transport use than did their predecessors. Moreover, a plateauing of public transport mode share within birth cohorts is seen to begin earlier in life than expected. This suggests not only continuance of higher than previous transit use, but also further potential for mode share improvements if challenges from lifecycle changes, such as school-to-work transition, can be identified and addressed.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Springer Link, copyright remains with them.