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Transportation and land use planning are directly linked. Urban sprawl contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by increasing the distance people have to travel and the number of cars on the road. It also leads to a costly expansion of the public transit network. To reverse this trend, public transit and land use must be planned together.
To reduce travel and GHG emissions and revitalize city centers, urban development must rely on urban densification, access to public transit, the development of local services, and mixed-use neighborhoods.
Individual road transport accounts for over 75% of the transportation sector’s GHG emissions. The massive use of cars harms the environment in a number of ways, both in terms of climate and air quality, leading in turn to public health problems.
We urgently need to reduce the climate effects of our modes of transport. The ideal solution is to replace car travel by walking, biking, inline skating, etc., activities that don’t generate CO2 and that are often the most efficient way of getting around the city. According to Vélo Québec (in French) , bikes are faster than cars over short distances because cyclists can bypass traffic jams. Half of those who work in the city live less than 8 km from their jobs and could bike to work!
Public transit’s potential for reducing GHG emissions is clear. Regardless of the mode of transport and the fuel used, public transit replaces solo car trips and limits associated GHG emissions.
To increase the use of public transit across Québec, both in urban and rural areas, the Québec government plans to encourage the growth of active and alternative transportation, expand public transit services, and make these transportation methods more attractive, for example by creating reserved lanes.
The use of public transit not only reduces traffic congestion and air pollution, it also improves health because public transit passengers are also more likely to use active transportation.
The action plan supports public transit organizations so they can expand their services and promote greater use of public transit in both urban and rural areas. For example, the $13,000,000 subsidy given to Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) in 2012–2013 helped it exceed its service and ridership objectives. The increase in the number of passengers translates into fewer GHG emissions because it means people are switching from individual to collective modes of transportation, thereby reducing car-related emissions.
Support for alternatives to cars. In 2012 Mont-Saint‑Hilaire received $99,000 in financial assistance to create two pedestrian/bike routes for school children with the objective of reducing car traffic and improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Transportation electrification is a promising economic sector and an ideal way to cut down on GHG emissions and air pollution while reducing our dependence on oil. It is a top priority for the Québec government.
Various measures are being taken to encourage people to buy electric vehicles and facilitate the installation of charging stations. Thanks to investments made through the Climate Change Action Plan, Québec accounts for over 50% of the electric vehicles on Canadian roads today. Québec also has the most extensive public charging network in the country (the Electric Circuit), with over 400 public charging stations across the province.
Did you know that the Drive Electric Program offers a purchase/lease rebate to individuals, businesses, non-profit organizations, and municipalities in Québec that purchase a fully electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, or low-speed electric vehicle? Individuals can also get a rebate when they buy and install a charging station at home.
Demo of an electric bus route with fast charging stations. Via its Cité Mobilité project, the Montréal public transit corporation is testing a bus route with three fully electric buses and two charging stations. The Cité Mobilité initiative is part of the transportation electrification action plan.
Plugged in at work. This program offers businesses, municipalities, and organizations financial assistance for installing electric charging stations for company and employee vehicles at work.
Electrification of a refrigerated container section at the Port of Montréal In July 2012, the Montreal Gateway Terminals Corporation received $2,300,000 in financial assistance to electrify its refrigerated containers at the Port of Montréal. The associated reduction in GHG emissions is estimated at 4,563 tons of CO2 equivalent a year.
Electric school bus (in French). Government support helped put a fully electric school bus (E-Lion) on the road for the first time in North America. Replacing a single conventional bus with a fully electric bus reduces greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 23 tons a year and enhances air quality, especially in school parking lots.