Knowledge CentreTechnical Resources SearchConference PapersMontréal at the forefront of sustainable mobility with the deployment of the BIXI Program   and the development of 50 km of new bicycle lanes in 2009

Montréal at the forefront of sustainable mobility with the deployment of the BIXI Program   and the development of 50 km of new bicycle lanes in 2009


In Montréal, widespread popular interest in cycling and the development cycling networks and infrastructure are a relatively recent phenomenon compared to many European cities where cycling is a long-standing cultural tradition and has played an important part in shaping the urban landscape. Today, the City of Montréal’s decision to invest in sustainable mobility goes a long way in explaining cycling’s ever-increasing popularity throughout the City. Between 1978 and 1985, the City of Montréal built its first bicycle facilities, a network of bikeways covering close to 100 kilometres. The completion of this project was marked by the City’s cycling community in 1985 by way of the inaugural Tour de l’Île de Montréal en 1985, a major public participation cycling event. Twenty-five years later and with the direction provided by the City of Montréal Transportation Plan, the Island of Montréal cycling network now encompasses over 500 kilometres of bikeways spread out across the City, and at the first signs of Spring, the City’s 552,000 cycling enthusiasts flock to the bikeways en masse. The year 2009 was a major turning point for active transportation in the City of Montréal. Over a few short months, 50 kilometres of new bikeways were added to the network, including the much-anticipated Chemin de la Côte-Ste-Catherine path, which had generated a lot of interest and media attention because of its immense potential for use. In addition, the newly implemented BIXI bikesharing program, a veritable revolution in sustainable mobility, proved to be an instant success. Large numbers of cycling enthusiasts rented a bike from the fleet of 5,000 units from one of 400 stations located throughout the City. Already in the first year of operation, the BIXI Program had 10,000 subscribers and 100,000 daily users. This resounding success has caught the eye of municipal authorities across Europe, North America and beyond, as the BIXI Program is being used as a development model for similar active transportation initiatives in cities such as Boston, Minneapolis, London (Great-Britain) and Melbourne (Australia). The development of the 50 kilometres of new bikeways and the implementation of the BIXI Program required an investment of close to 30 million dollars in 2009. For the City of Montréal, this expenditure will without a doubt prove extremely profitable, given the many benefits it will generate, including improved quality of life for its citizens, a more equitable sharing of the road network among all types of users and the redefinition of public space to enhance sustainable mobility.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Transportation planning