• Oct. 28, 2022
  • Impact communications, Public affairs and government relations
  • Column, Public transit
  • Written by: Mathieu Lavallée

A look back at the annual conference of the Canadian Urban Transit Association

Public transit: A fast-moving sector where communication will be key.

Exponentiel was present at the annual conference of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, held this week in Montreal. The event brought together mobility players from across the country, and highlighted the vibrant public transit sector and the expertise found in the Montreal metropolitan area.

Public transport is currently undergoing a number of transformations, with many infrastructure projects taking shape. What's more, the move towards electric transportation will play a major role in the efforts of transport operators. All these changes will have a lasting impact on the user experience and journey in the near future.

Mathieu Lavallée, Vice President and Partner at Exponentiel communications agency

One key finding emerged from the conference: communication will be one of the keys to the success of public transport in the coming years, and not just in terms of getting users back on board buses, metros and trains. With so many stakeholders involved, from municipalities and provincial governments to civic groups, transport companies and transit authorities will have to coordinate and mobilize many players, all for the benefit of the public.

The major public transport projects emerging across the country - such as the REM, the extension of the Blue Line and the Pie-IX BRT in the Montreal region alone, and the tramway in Quebec City - will make concerted action and public consultation crucial to ensuring the social acceptability of these major projects, which will be carried out in a variety of environments. In addition to public consultation methods, many transport companies are already innovating in the ways they take the pulse of the population before, during and after the construction of infrastructures.

Whether we're talking about pricing or even integrated mobility, which will eventually provide easy access to the entire sustainable mobility offering in their region, it's undeniable that technological innovations will have a lasting impact on the daily lives of public transport users, and will require sustained communication efforts.

The electrification of transport is also on everyone's mind: transport companies are redoubling their efforts in view of the fact that their entire fleets will have to be electric in the near future. Many of the sector's key players are mobilizing their resources to acquire buses and build or retrofit garages, while also calling on cutting-edge construction expertise.