The Montreal region faces transportation challenges familiar to anyone visiting from metro Atlanta: a growing population, congested freeways and main arterials, and declining transit ridership in the post-COVID era.
But there are some significant differences. For one, the core of the Montreal region is an island in the mighty St. Lawrence River, which complicates efforts to connect primary job centers and attractions to more outlying areas.
Another distinction: the provincial government, Quebec, provides substantial financial support for transit operations and expansions in Montreal. They’re even footing the bill for a new light rail system, more info on that below.
And then there’s the weather. Montreal’s harsh winter climate requires plenty of preventative upkeep, and snow and ice can grind the region’s transportation network to a halt.
That said, the Montreal region has much going for it from a transportation perspective, from a growing bike-ped system to major transit expansions. An extension of one of the main metro lines is under construction, and the first phase of a planned CA$6.9 billion light rail system, called the Réseau express métropolitain, or REM, opened earlier this summer for service.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the Montreal region’s transportation network, and what’s to come on the horizon.