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Human-scale transportation

Awareness campaign on large vehicles

To encourage Quebecers to opt for smaller vehicles in order to minimize their impact on the environment and society.

The challenge

There have never been so many vehicles on Quebec’s roads. They’re getting bigger and bigger and consuming more and more fuel.

Since 2015, the sale of new trucks has overtaken the sale of new cars (1), which has significantly impacted the climate, the environment, road safety, public health, available urban space, traffic flow, infrastructure and household debt.

  1. SUVs and other light-duty trucks are so numerous that they have cancelled out the energy efficiency gains from zero emission vehicles.
  2. Road user safety is threatened by larger vehicles. (2)
  3. Choosing larger vehicles has made Quebec households poorer.

The issue is reinforced by an automotive industry that features light-duty trucks in 79% of Canadian automobile ads. This is incompatible with our climate and electrification goals.

At a time when light-duty trucks are becoming the dominant vehicle type on our roads, it has never been more urgent to convince consumers, policy makers and the industry to reverse this trend.

View the illustrated summary report on our research in this field.

(1) From the report État de l'énergie au Québec - Édition 2021, published annually by the Chaire de gestion du secteur de l'énergie de HEC Montréal.Consult the source

(2)These multidimensional impacts are explored in the study “The Rise of light-duty trucks in Canada: Reversing the trend,” completed in 2021.

(3) In Quebec, SUVs are 2.5 times more likely to be involved in collisions with pedestrians than are other vehicle types. See the summary report, page 22


The proliferation of light-duty trucks accounts for more than 55% of the increase in Quebec’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 2015 and 2019.

It's high time to admit that our preference for oversized vehicles is having significant environmental and social-economic impacts. We need to focus on reducing the amount of materials and energy required by our vehicles.

Andréanne Brazeau

Policy Analyst

Équiterre's work

Équiterre has been working for many years to counter the environmental, social and economic impacts of our dependence on cars. Our activism over the past few decades has been effective, getting a growing number of Quebecers to rethink how they get around.

However, the increase in the number – and the size – of vehicles on our roads today continues unabated, cancelling out the benefits of lower-impact options that are now available.

Équiterre is working to reduce the environmental footprint of Quebecers’ individual mobility choices by promoting transportation methods that are the least resource and energy intensive.

The initiative “For human-scale transportation” focuses primarily on the following components:

  • An advertising campaign aimed at creating awareness among Quebecers about the impacts of their mobility choices, particularly when it comes to gas guzzling, oversized vehicles;
  • Tools to assist consumers in their purchase decisions as well as various other stakeholders in the automobile sector;
  • Educational tools, conferences and events;
  • Research, including a Quebec-wide survey, to gain insight into the proliferation of large vehicles.


  1. Raise awareness about the impacts of mobility choices among the public, policy makers, media and automobile industry, with a particular focus on vehicle size;
  2. Try to counter the trend for increasingly large vehicles and the proliferation of light-duty trucks on our roads;
  3. Indirectly encourage a rise in demand for alternatives to solo driving and the adoption of a diverse range of transportation options by a growing number of Quebecers.

Our goal

We are seeking to reverse the trend for larger and larger gas guzzling vehicles, by raising awareness about the causes and consequences and by encouraging consumers to rethink how they get around. 


« SUVs pose a risk to pedestrian safety and harm our living environments. This campaign speaks to Équiterre’s strategy of considering SUVs’ crosscutting impacts on our society and of partnering with multiple groups to tackle their proliferation head on. »

Sandrine Cabana-Degani

Executive Director of Piétons Québec

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