Impact of Public Transit on Greater Montréal’s Carbon Footprint

What would big cities look like if public transit had never been developed? Urban development and sprawl as well as commercial exploitation would have undoubtedly been conceived differently, but, more interestingly, what would our carbon footprint look like?

The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) recently published an innovative study carried out by Golder Associates on greenhouse gases (GHGs) avoided from public transit in the Montréal metropolitan community (CMM) region. The study quantified GHG emissions avoided from public transit based on the impact of reduced car use; the impact of less traffic congestion; and the impact of urban densification.

The results obtained show total avoided GHG emissions of nearly 4 million tonnes per year which represent about 55% of overall emissions caused by road transportation in the region. These results confirm the significant impact of public transit on reducing GHG emissions not only within the CMM’s territory, but also throughout Quebec.

In September 2015, a steering committee, composed of several municipal and provincial partners of the CMM that specialize in transportation, was established and run by the STM. The committee’s mandate was to develop a recognizable quantification methodology that would enable the STM to quantify GHG emissions avoided by public transit on its territory and compare that data with other major cities in North America.

Drawing from its expertise in energy management, Golder was mandated as an external partner to validate the scope of the quantification study, recommend calculation methodologies, and verify quantification methods and calculations. Golder’s report is available on the STM website.

This practice established by the STM clearly demonstrates the beneficial impact of its infrastructure on the carbon footprint of a city like Montréal, and can only have a positive effect on the assessment and expansion of new infrastructure projects. At a time when the fight against climate change is on the rise and companies become accountable for their carbon footprint, this study may be an inspiration to other major cities.

For more information on this project, please contact Laurent White, Environmental Specialist, at


For additional information, please contact:

Golder Associates Ltd.
Tina Marano, North American Marketing Leader
Tel: +1 (905) 567-6100 x2556

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