Technical details
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ Infra Inc.)


Compare SYSTRA Canada’s ridership study results with STEER’s
Transportation planning and demand analysis, Modelling, Traffic forecasting

Based on the broad policies proposed by the Quebec government, CDPQ Infra started the study of an electric public transit system to connect Montreal’s East End and the Cégep Marie-Victorin area to downtown Montreal in May 2019.

The solution developed by CDPQ Infra consists of building a new automated light rail system (GoA4) in the east and northeast of Montreal, the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) de l’Est. This new network includes 34 km of new corridors dedicated to public transit and is implemented on two branches (Cégep Marie-Victorin/St-Clément and Pointe-aux-Trembles/St-Clément) and a common section (St-Clément/Robert-Bourassa to downtown).

The Marie-Victorin branch creates a new link between the Cégep Marie-Victorin sector in the Montréal-Nord borough and downtown Montréal. This route includes a tunnel section under Lacordaire Boulevard and serves several dense neighbourhoods currently underserved by public transit. The Pointe-aux-Trembles branch provides a new rapid service between the eastern tip of the island and downtown Montréal by serving several areas with redevelopment potential. The aerial route follows Sherbrooke Street East of Highway 25.

The trains consist of two electric light rail cars and are powered by a catenary system. The REM de l’Est has 23 universally accessible stations equipped with landing doors. The service is offered 7 days a week, at the same hours as the Montreal metro.

Following the ridership forecasts produced during the sizing phase of the project (Q1 2020) by STEER (formerly STEER Davis Gleave), CDPQ Infra has contracted with this company for a new “bankable” study. Its objective is to produce a more detailed projection of the ridership data that will be used as the basis for the project’s operational revenue estimates.

This study will further refine the design studies based on recently collected field input data and the development of a 24-hour model.

Since financial models are very sensitive to ridership forecasts, CDPQ Infra is seeking verification of this “bankable” study. To do so, CDPQ Infra asked SYSTRA Canada to produce a peer review of the work done by STEER by developing its own model and simulations for the project, allowing to compare the results and methodological approaches of both models.

SYSTRA Canada has identified the details of the different methodologies used by STEER and SYSTRA that led to minor differences in the simulation results, including the number of boardings per time of day, per station, and the maximum load per section.

For these 24-hour models, SYSTRA Canada used the digital tool QUETZAL developed by SYSTRA’s Consulting and Planning Department. The tool uses libraries in Python language and is open source.