The AMT unveils its strategic plan: A 2020 vision of public transport

MONTREAL, Nov. 15, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) has announced its strategic metropolitan transport development plan, which outlines a vision of what the public transport network should be in the year 2020. This plan is based on a development outlook extending over a period of ten years. This strategic plan, which was discussed at length with over 3,000 participating public transit commuters and developed in collaboration with all AMT partners, defines the Agency's objectives, the priorities defined and the results expected—all in accordance with community needs and collectively determined initiatives.

"More than ever before, we need to change our commuting habits," affirms Joël Gauthier, AMT President and CEO. "That's why we have taken some time together to explore concrete ways to improve our quality of life and develop both our public transit and active transport networks. The AMT's strategic plan not only emphasizes transport infrastructure, it also proposes a series of real solutions to improve not only public transit service but also quality of life for everyone in the greater Montreal area. We are talking about a realistic and achievable plan with a ten-year horizon. We feel that such a plan has become imperative, because it reflects the image we all want in terms of smart, efficient public transit systems. Eventually, this new plan will change our commuting habits and improve our lifestyle."

OPINIONS FROM ALL OVER

In order to identify projects required and targets to aim for, the AMT has held lengthy dialogues with its partners on the topic of metropolitan issues. The Agency has also gathered the services of experts in urban planning, environment and transport into an advisory committee to guide it in its philosophy, as well as to select and prioritize concrete orientations and initiatives. In order for us to incorporate this plan into our metropolitan reality, our citizens were given a voice. In the fall of 2010, for example, public consultations were conducted on line. More than 3,000 people shared their findings, as illustrated by their real-life commuting experiences. In public hearings held in the spring of 2011, Montreal-area residents commented on potential transit corridors. Such forums for exchange and opinion-sharing with our partners enabled us to finalize our strategic plan.

TARGETS FOR 2020

In carrying out this plan, the AMT has three principal goals. The first is to see to the quality of public transit. The metropolitan area needs a network whose services are harmonized, whose transports are synchronized and whose information communication is clear and available at every step of a typical commute. The second goal is sustainable mobility. We figure that ridership on the public transit network should increase by a third. It would then represent an appreciable portion of the market and be genuinely competitive with the car. We must therefore make public transit even more competitive. Our third goal would be network deployment. Commuting access will need to expand over a larger territory. In fact, the AMT would like to add more than 250 km of reserved lanes and other priority measures for buses to facilitate access to the downtown core.

OBJECTIVE 1: SIMPLIFIED COMMUTING

Three strategic objectives have been developed in order to reach the above-mentioned goals. The first objective is to simplify commuting. The AMT intends to expand on active modes of transport to its stations by optimizing bus network infrastructure and developing more park-and-ride lots. But adapted transport also needs to be streamlined. Accordingly, a plan was developed to upgrade standards and outfit transport systems with better equipment and machinery. Further technologies for improving the coordination of and transfer between services are also being developed. The transit fare system will also need to be simplified in terms of both consistency and appeal.

OBJECTIVE 2: IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE

The second objective's rationale is that public transit should improve our lifestyle. Urban development must be constantly oriented towards public transport, notably by offering pleasant and lasting infrastructure. Our installations need some greening; their spaces need to be optimized and blended in more harmoniously with their surroundings. The AMT would also like to extend the electrification of the bus and train network for greater competitiveness with car travel and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

OBJECTIVE 3: A RAPID, MULTI-MODAL METROPOLITAN NETWORK

The AMT's third strategic objective is to build a rapid, multimodal transit system by increasing capacity and improving regional service. Towards that end, an objectives committee has been instituted to develop concerted projects for building capacity. The AMT will improve Metro service by adding cars, renovating infrastructure and extending the network. The number of commuter train departures will be increased and facilities upgraded. Finally, the efficiency of road corridors will be streamlined to reduce the impacts of congestion.

SOME MAJOR PROJECTS

The tabling of the strategic plan is the event that kicks off a series of projects, including eight major ones. Whether we are dealing with extending the Metro, electrifying the network, increasing the capacity of the downtown terminal, setting up new maintenance centres or expanding train service both westward and eastward, these projects all address the needs of our commuters and partners.

"The AMT has developed its 2020 Vision for public transit to make it not only faster and more frequent, but also more efficient, user-friendly, accessible and diversified," explains Michel Veilleux, Vice-President of Planning and Innovation. "The strategic plan emphasizes three strategic objectives subdivided into several concrete initiatives developed in collaboration with both our citizens and our partners. Among these will be the eight major projects of regional scope which are already on the AMT's drawing board. All of them constitute pragmatic ways to improve the efficiency of the metropolitan region's public transport system, increase the capacity of existing services and reduce their environmental impacts. They are essential to the achievement of the modal shift and public transit market share objectives that the AMT and its partners have set for themselves."

SOURCES OF FINANCING, AND FOLLOW-UP

For all of these goals to be achieved, some thought will have to go into sources of financing. The first step in researching new sources of financing will be to set up a metropolitan committee consisting of the main partners. Two different financing sources will be studied: sources specific to individual projects, mainly consisting of mechanisms aimed at capturing some of the value created by the projects in question (notably the carbon credit market and the possibility of recouping some of the increased housing and local business values), as well as more global sources, which would finance some or all of a transit system and remain generally more stable and predictable over a long-term time horizon. In order to monitor the real-world deployment of the strategic plan, the state of advancement of investments, projects and initiatives will be reported annually and included in the AMT's report of activities.

CONSULTING THE PLAN

The AMT's 2020 Vision - Strategic Plan for the Development of Metropolitan Transport, is available on its website at www.plan2020.amt.qc.ca. On this site, concerned citizens may also view a short video elaborating on the strategic plan's broad guidelines.


The Agence métropolitaine de transport (AMT) is a government agency with a metropolitan vocation whose mission is to plan and develop public transit services in order to improve the efficiency of commuting in the greater Montreal area. The AMT is currently operating five train lines, 51 stations, one metropolitan express bus line, 61 park-and-ride lots, 16 metropolitan terminals and 85.2 km of reserved lanes. Annual ridership on our commuter trains is close to 16 million trips, ranking the greater Montreal area sixth in North America. For further information, visit our website at www.amt.qc.ca.

For further information:

Martine Rouette
Director - Corporate Media and Communications
Agence métropolitaine de transport
Tel.: 514-287-2464, extension 4057 

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