Let’s get rid of the second car

Jean-François Rheault
October 13, 2022

Following the October 3rd election, we reiterate to the government and all elected officials that they must do everything in their power to help Quebecers free themselves from their second vehicle.

With the climate crisis set to be the major issue of the next few decades, and with Quebec households facing soaring debt levels, we must act now and make bold decisions that will allow Quebecers to face these challenges with sustainable, modern and practical solutions.

Several parties have put forward good ideas on mobility that will hopefully inspire the government as the Prime Minister has pledged to work across party lines.


Road transportation is currently responsible for one third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Quebec. It is therefore time to prioritize the combination of active and collective transportation modes as well as car-sharing to reduce our carbon footprint. It is by offering people the possibility to choose among a cocktail of transportation options that meet their needs that we will succeed in achieving truly sustainable mobility. This will reduce the number of cars on the road and improve air quality, which is greatly affected by the particles generated by the wear and tear of car tires on our roads.

Much more than a purely ecological measure, increased investment in public and active transportation projects will reduce the economic burden imposed by the current dependence on the automobile for many Quebec households.

To achieve this, it is essential to improve public transit services throughout Quebec, particularly in rural areas. We therefore call on the government to launch projects that will double the public transit service offer by 2035, in addition to ensuring service in the most remote regions of Quebec.

Currently, 70% of the Quebec government’s actual planned investments in passenger transportation are devoted to road transportation, which reflects an outdated vision of transportation planning. We propose that two-thirds of confirmed investments in ground transportation be directed to public transit as soon as possible, as is already the case in Ontario.

Obviously, public transit alone cannot meet all the travel needs of Quebecers. It is essential to combine this improvement in public transit with increased investments in active transportation. In order to improve active transportation infrastructures to the level of Quebec’s needs, the current amounts must be doubled to reach $100 million per year. It is by proposing more extensive public and active transportation systems that we will be able to meet the financial and climate challenges of our time, and thus convince Quebecers to free themselves from their second car.


In view of the growing number of vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists) who are victims of road accidents, it is imperative that the Quebec government implement a road safety policy with a vision of zero severe or fatal collisions. In this regard, gains have already been made in recent years, and it is time to adopt a clear line that ensures the safety of all people on the road network. The adoption of such a strategy is also necessary to ensure that access to public transit, which is mostly pedestrian, is safe and user-friendly.

Let’s think about the aging population and families: let’s stop seeing serious or fatal collisions as inevitable consequences of using the road network!

To support these measures, we need to create complete environments that enable more people to work, shop, play and live in the same place. The electoral campaign has focused on creating new road links, but reducing the length of trips is the key to shifting a large proportion of trips to public transit and active transportation.

Our organizations will be there to work with the new government and all elected officials to implement these concrete solutions, particularly through the implementation of the Plan for a Green Economy and the Sustainable Mobility Policy implemented by the previous CAQ government.

Our request is therefore very simple: we must be forward-thinking and put in place a real cocktail of sustainable mobility solutions to allow Quebecers to free themselves from their second car, in order to face the climatic and financial challenges to come!

Jean-François Rheault, President and CEO, Vélo Québec

Sandrine Cabana-Degani, Executive Director, Piétons Québec

Sarah V. Doyon, Executive Director, Trajectoire Québec

Christian Savard, Executive Director, Vivre en ville


*Initially published on La Presse + (French only)