REM – A Look At The Ridership Study Summary


Ridership Study Reveals Suburban, Car-Centric, Peak-Centric Focus; Airport Ridership is Abysmal; brings into Question again the Cost-benefit of the West Island and Airport Branches; ignores urban network effects. Things are starting to roll for the REM, the BAPE (environmental impact) hearings started this week, there are more presentations and people have started asking questions. The […]

The Caisse’s Debunking Debunked


Last Friday, the CDPQInfra released an article entitled “Claims and Realities regarding the REM project”. It appears they want to address some of the criticisms that many have raised. Unfortunately, their article of supposed “claims” vs supposed “reality” includes many big inaccuracies, so I’m feeling compelled to provide counterpoints to their “reality”. I know at […]

How the Caisse’s “Public-Public-Partnership”
is Privatization in Disguise


I’ve been staring at the documents of the REM projects for months now. The more I look at them, the more I feel we’re about to make a big mistake. I’ve been having this sinking feeling in my stomach, the feeling you have as you watch a trainwreck unfold in slow motion and there’s nothing […]

Walksheds Visualized:
Showing Population and Places of Work
within Walking distance of Montreal Rail Stations


A while back I published a map of Montreal showing the populations living within walking distance of rail stations in the region. At the time, many asked me to add places of work as well, and proposed new stations. Today I’m publishing a map that includes these, and I’ve made it look prettier as well. […]

The High Cost of Free Incentive Parking


I have a confession to make: I think park’n’rides, or incentive parking as we call them in Montreal, are a bad idea. Everybody seems to be asking for more and more incentive parking these days, and anyone questioning the driving component of our transit cocktail model may incur the anger of drivers and get painted […]

The Caisse is Rushing ahead with REM,
Ignoring concerns

One of the issues of REM: the Mascouche line would require a transfer rather than routing directly downtown.

Back in April the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec announced their REM project to build a large transit line in Montreal, and the initial excitement has worn off as the public has realized many issues with the proposal. Some of the issues are due to the mandate the government gave the Caisse, and […]

The Long Story of Montreal’s Airport Train

Three airport train proposals.

The story of Montreal’s airport train is one of competing proposals by different organizations, bad planning, and letting private entities dictate our transit policy. Montrealers have been waiting for years, decades, for a proper transit connection to the airport. Most large cities have one, and Montreal has been lagging behind. The Caisse’s REM may be […]

Catbus en Francais:
Pourquoi le SLR de la Caisse pourrait crouler sous son propre poids ?

see detailed calculations on github

Article de blog du 18 mai par Ant6n, traduit par Jérémie Dunn. English Version Un second regard plus objectif sur le « REM » de la Caisse qui propose de remplacer la ligne de train Deux-Montagnes par un SLR: Comment la Caisse est en train de rater l’exécution d’une bonne idée en surchargeant ses wagons […]

REM: A Look at Ridership and Costs


A look at the REM project that reveals the giant project mixes good investments and bad investments, but the caisse will make us pay for them all. Ever since the Caisse published their REM proposal, I have been trying to figure out whether their project makes sense. This post takes a hard look at the […]

A Townhall Meeting for the REM


In order to inform the public about the REM project, the Caisse is holding six town hall events in different boroughs. I went to the first of those events on Wednesday, June 1st, and managed to talk to several politicians and CDPQInfra people. Or better, I talked to a bunch of people, all of whom […]

Airport Trains Suck. Will REM Too?

histogram of airport passengers vs rail connector ridership

The Caisse’s REM proposal has given Montrealers hope to finally have a rail connection to the airport. The problem with rail connectors to airports, however, is that they are generally not a very good use of money: they are often expensive and have low ridership. Airport connectors underperform. Don’t get me wrong, I like the […]

How the Caisse’s Light Rail System will Crumble under its own Weight

see detailed calculations on github

A second, more sobering look at the Caisse’s “REM” proposal to replace the Deux-Montagnes Commuter Rail line with an extended light rail line: how the Caisse had good ideas but is executing it badly, which will cause trains to be overcrowded from day 1.Version française The Caisse’s REM-line light rail proposal seems to have elicited […]

The REM Proposal is the Best Transit Project Montreal has seen in 30 Years

Rendering of a REM line station

Last Friday, the Caisse de Dépôt presented their project to build the ‘REM’, short for ‘réseau électrique métropolitain’. It’s an electrified rapid transit line connecting Montreal with its suburbs in the West Island and Brossard, which includes a branch to the Trudeau international airport. The proposal is exciting: 67 kilometres and 24 stations, replacing the […]

The Lac-Megantic Incident, It’s All About The Brakes


The Lac-Megantic incident was caused by an apparently unmanned train of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA) loaded with crude blasting into a small town at high speed. The train consisted of 72 “DOT-111” tanker cars, which have been criticized in the past to “have a high incidence of tank failures during accidents” (NTSB […]

Montreal Tram Study – Going About it the Wrong Way?

A Montreal tram report studies the viability of a starter line. However, the proposed line includes a downtown loop, a section with questionable utility. Also, the proposed construction costs are too high. If we want a sensible network of trams that improves rides for as many people as possible, we need to focus on utility, […]

The New Yorker: Income Inequality Visualized along New York’s Subway


The New Yorker just released this nifty visualization, showing the median household income near New York Subway stations. It’s interactive, letting you click through the system’s lines, showing the the numbers for every stop. The accompanying article explains it as a way to show how the United States, and in particular New York City, has […]

Ottawa’s O-train (Part II): A Cost-Effective Project

In the first part of this series, I introduced the O-train and how it works as a transit line. The second part is how it got running, and how cost effective the project was. The O-Train was built as an evaluation project for light right technologies, to test whether it would make sense to build […]

A Bike Rack on the Stuttgart Rack Railway

The above image that I came across on this tumblr, got me intruiged. The image comes with this short text: Intermodal transportation involves using two or more forms of transportation in a journey. Bicycles can often increase ridership of public transit. However, limited storage space onboard hinders the promotion of intermodal commutes. This innovative solution […]

xkcd: Subways of North America

Subways of North America

The webcomic xkcd put all real the subway systems of North America on one map, joined by imagined lines connecting the systems far away from another. Helpfully the author defines for us what he means by “subway”, for “the pedantic rail enthusiasts”: a network containing high capacity grade-separated passenger rail transit lines which run frequently, […]

Walksheds Visualized
Showing Populations near Montreal Rail Stations

walksheds are the area around a particular point of interest from where people are willing to walk to said point of interest. This point of interest is often a transit station, and the walkshed gives an idea how many people will reach the station on foot. While the walkshed depends on how walkable the area […]