Commuters’ Assessment of Public Transport as a “Reasonable” Option in Montreal, QC

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, ridership - perceptions, ridership - mode choice, ridership - behaviour, ridership - commuting, planning - surveys


Public transport, Commuting, Mode choice, Ridership


Retaining and increasing public transport ridership is a centerpiece of many strategies to address both the climate crisis and public health challenges. Understanding how and why commuters choose or reject public transport as a viable option or actual mode is, thus, central to policymakers’ efforts. This study makes use of a detailed travel-behavior survey conducted at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, to answer two key questions: 1) What factors influence travelers’ perception of public transport as a reasonable commuting option? and 2) From among those travelers that do consider public transport to be reasonable, what factors influence their final decision to use it? One important finding is that there is sometimes a disconnect between the factors that influence a person’s initial assessment of reasonableness and subsequent mode choice. For example, car owners were paradoxically more likely to consider public transport a reasonable option but significantly less likely to use it. More generally, another important finding of this study is that there may be a sizeable contingent of travelers who consider public transport to be a reasonable or viable option but nonetheless decline to use it. These travelers may be easier to convert to public transport than those who do not already consider it a reasoanble option, making it important for policymakers to understand their motivations. Ultimately, public transport agencies may be able to use this type of information to develop policies better targeted at bolstering ridership.


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