Market-Segmentation Study of Future and Potential Users of the New Réseau Express Métropolitain Light Rail in Montreal, Canada

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - tram/light rail, place - north america, place - urban, planning - methods, planning - surveys, ridership - behaviour, ridership - demand, ridership - perceptions


Cluster analysis, Factor analysis, Light rail transit, Market segmented groups, Ridership, Surveys, Transit riders


Goals for public transit agencies and new public transport infrastructure projects include attracting new riders and retaining existing system users. An understanding of the public transport market and its preferences, habits, and attitudes can help public transit agencies reach these goals by shedding light on how to increase customer satisfaction. To understand potential users of one of Montreal’s most recent major transport projects, the Réseau express métropolitain (REM), we conducted a survey in Fall 2019 while the light-rail system was under construction. Drawing on vetted transport market-segmentation frameworks, this study employs an exploratory factor analysis to reveal factors that affect respondents’ propensity to use the REM. A k-means cluster test is applied to the factors to articulate market segments. The analysis returned four clusters that form a clear spectrum of least likely to most likely REM users: car-friendly non-users, urban core potential users, transit-friendly users, and leisure and airport users. Positive opinion, proximity, and desire to use the REM for leisure or non-work trips are three key characteristics of likely users. There is a visible relationship between clusters who are likely to use the REM and clusters who agree that the REM will benefit their neighborhood. Improving people’s perception of the potential benefit of the REM to their neighborhood, better accommodating leisure use, emphasizing and communicating appealing destinations, and highlighting transit connections are four core ways that planners could work to potentially increase the number of people who are likely to use the REM.


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