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Abstract

In order to maintain transit systems, information about them is needed. This article provides information regarding the absence of correlation between transit use, population density, and accessibility. To this end, mobile application data is used. The data is from an application called Transit App that enables easy navigation within transit systems. In North America, the transportation mode share of the automobile is very high. One consequence of the North American population’s high automobile dependency is high auto travel demand on roads. Concurrently, the ability to build additional infrastructure is limited and, in some cases, impossible. As a result, traffic congestion levels have increased significantly, particularly in the past decade. (Schrank, Eisele, and Lomax 2012). Traffic congestion negatively affects transportation efficiency and also creates negative environmental externalities. As Vukan Vuchic stated in Transportation for Livable Cities: “Unrestricted individual behaviour collides with socially optimal behavior” (1999). One solution to the problem of traffic congestion is to increase the mode share of public transportation. But what can induce urban North American populations to trade their automobiles in favor of public transit? What are the qualities a public transit system must have for a significant proportion of the population to frequent it? One of the ways to approach this question is to investigate where people do and do not use it. In this article, public transit in all 19 boroughs of Montreal is considered. Population density is compared to transit use to determine whether transit use is homogenous in all Montreal boroughs. The results are then discussed within the context of other public transit research. The results will hopefully disambiguate some of the factors that influence public transit use in Montreal. This knowledge may facilitate the creation of coherent goals and purposes for public transit in general and the Société de Transport de Montréal in particular.

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