Estimating the health benefits of planned public transit investments in Montreal
Abstract Background Since public transit infrastructure affects road traffic volumes and influences transportation mode choice, which in turn impacts health, it is important to estimate the alteration of the health burden linked with transit policies. Objective We quantified the variation in health benefits and burden between a business as usual (BAU) and a public transit (PT) scenarios in 2031 (with 8 and 19 new subway and train stations) for the greater Montreal region. Method Using mode choice and traffic assignment models, we predicted the transportation mode choice and traffic assignment on the road network. Subsequently, we estimated the distance travelled in each municipality by mode, the minutes spent in active transportation, as well as traffic emissions. Thereafter we estimated the health burden attributed to air pollution and road traumas and the gains associated with active transportation for both the BAU and PT scenarios. Results We predicted a slight decrease of overall trips and kilometers travelled by car as well as an increase of active transportation for the PT in 2031 vs the BAU. Our analysis shows that new infrastructure will reduce the overall burden of transportation by 2.5 DALYs per 100,000 persons. This decrease is caused by the reduction of road traumas occurring in the inner suburbs and central Montreal region as well as gains in active transportation in the inner suburbs. Conclusion Based on the results of our study, transportation planned public transit projects for Montreal are unlikely to reduce drastically the burden of disease attributable to road vehicles and infrastructures in the Montreal region. The impact of the planned transportation infrastructures seems to be very low and localized mainly in the areas where new public transit stations are planned. Highlights An integrated burden of transportation in association with planned modifications of the public transit infrastructure. Based on our results planned public transit projects in Montreal will not reduce significantly the burden of transportation. Future work needs to address land use and public transit projects needed to further reduce the burden of transportation.
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