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Rethinking transportation and land use: Equiterre and Vivre en Ville invite the Quebec government to jump into the 21st century

Montreal, May 5, 2011 – Equiterre and Vivre en Ville present a forward-thinking vision for passenger transport and land-use planning as Quebec revisits such aspects of its transportation strategy as the Act respecting land use planning and development, the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan and the strategy for the electrification of transport.

"Changer de direction" details more than 30 concrete actions inspired by best practices in North America and Europe. The plan aims to reduce Quebec dependency on oil (of even greater importance as oil prices continue to go up) and lower greenhouse gas emissions while developing the Quebec economy and improving quality of life.

The proposed solutions – based on the internationally recognized "avoid-shift-improve" strategy – aim to:

  • reduce the need for motorized travel
  • increase the percentage of trips made using public transit and active transportation
  • improve vehicle energy efficiency

The plan asks the Quebec government to fully assume its responsibilities as the leader in urban planning by giving municipalities clear guidelines on land development to end urban sprawl. 

Because our road network is already mature, the plan suggests reallocating money earmarked for new highway links across the centres and outskirts of our cities to doubling public transit across the province. 

"We must stop building living environments where it's impossible to live without a car. We are condemning hundreds of thousands of families to be dependent on oil, which is going to cost them more and more each year. It's our responsibility – and the responsibility of the Quebec government – to put an end to this waste," says Alexandre Turgeon, founding chair of Vivre en Ville.

Targets for reducing oil consumption

The plan calls for a 20% reduction in distances travelled by car by 2030. "This target would save nearly $2.5 billion, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6.2 megatonnes," says Steven Guilbeault, deputy executive director of Equiterre. "To achieve this goal, we propose, amongst other suggestions, that the government allocate, over time, a new budget of $1 billion a year to developing new infrastructure for public transit, as well as money for regular maintenance."

The two organizations would also like to see all-day 10-minute transit service for the majority of the population. They also request an end to the practice of increasing road capacity to accommodate more commuters. "We must stop this vicious cycle of automobile dependency: building new roads inevitably leads to urban sprawl, more traffic, and, consequently, more traffic jams," explains Christian Savard, executive director of Vivre en Ville.

The plan also calls for:

  • further improvements to vehicle performance
  • a reduction of the percentage of light-duty trucks on the road (to represent no more than 25% of the total vehicles on the road)
  • a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS)
  • a bonus-malus carrot-and-stick scheme

"As long as the number of cars on the road keeps increasing, particularly the number of light-duty trucks, our efforts, however laudable, to improve vehicle performance will simply be insufficient to reduce oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatives to private cars are essential," says Hugo Séguin, senior advisor at Equiterre.

All these measures together aim to:

  • reduce fuel consumption for passenger transport by 60% or 4.2 billion litres by 2030 as compared with 2009
  • reduce provincial greenhouse emissions to help Quebec meet its reduction targets

Download the full report. (French only)

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Source:

Eveline Trudel Fugère
Equiterre
514-605-2000
etfugere@equiterre.org

Philippe Cousineau Morin, Chargé de Politique et dossiers
Vivre en Ville
514-799-1906
philippe.cousineaumorin@vivreenville.org