Funded research projects

PASA-GES: Exploration of the potential of alternatives to solo driving to reduce GHGs

by Bobin Wang (principal investigator, GMC ULaval), Owen Waygood (Polytechnique Montréal), Zachary Patterson (Université Concordia), Geneviève Cloutier (ÉSAD, ULaval), Dominic Villeneuve (ÉSAD, ULaval); research grant, FRQNT, 353 060$, 2022-2024.


The Quebec tramway is the most important project of the City of Quebec (VdQ) in its history, this electrified and high-capacity travel mode will offer an attractive transport alternative to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Quebec City. The tramway forms the backbone of an improved multimodal transportation network throughout the city, involving different components of public transport, cyclists, pedestrians and automobiles. Since the tramway is still in the work phase, how to predict the travel demand of the new tramway accurately and how to promote the mode shift from car to sustainable mobility are big challenges. At the same time, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) provides a new means for urban transportation sustainable development, which greatly increases the travel convenience for consumers (i.e., travelers). However, people’s perceptions about MaaS and their travel preferences under MaaS still need exploration. Therefore, this program takes Quebec City’s tramway as the research background, analyzing the travel mode shift from car to alternative sustainable mobilities under the new reality and exploring the potential of MaaS adoption in Quebec City. This program includes two work packages:


Package 1 focuses on the mobility system with the new tramway in Quebec City, which includes travel demand forecasting and GHG emissions evaluations. First, an innovative experimental design comparing the straight text-based survey with a visual-based (e.g., images) or sophisticated visual- based survey is developed to increase the prediction accuracy of travel decisions. Then, the travel demand and travel preference toward the tramway are analyzed. Different econometric and statistical models are built to predict the travel mode shift from car to new sustainable mobility. Finally, the life cycle GHG emissions of the integrated multimodal transportation network with tramway are evaluated. Scenario analysis is carried out to support decision-making favorable to the reduction of GHG emissions.


Package 2 explores the potential market share of MaaS and analyzes the travel demand and multimodal travel decisions under MaaS. First, a new MaaS concept framework suitable for Quebec City is generated and a web-based MaaS survey is conducted based on the framework. Then, advanced behavioral models are developed to understand the consumer’s (i.e., traveler’s) decision- making under MaaS. The population diversity (e.g., gender, age and region) is considered to understand the travel preferences of different subgroups. Finally, travel demand forecasting is conducted and GHG emissions are evaluated for the multimodal transportation network under MaaS.


This program can contribute to achieving the GHG emissions reduction target of the Plan for a Green Economy 2030. The research results will provide optimal travel solutions for travelers to meet accessibility and sustainability, and provide great theoretical support for the government to make long- term and short-term mobility policies.


PeFaDA: Putting an end to car dependence: a scoping review on the modal shift from the car to public transport by Dominic Villeneuve (principal researcher), Jean Dubé, Alexandre Lebel, research grant, CRSH, 29 556$, 2021-2022


This scoping review aims to draw an up-to-date portrait of the abundant literature on modal shift in order to synthesize it and present it in an organized manner. The main objective is therefore divided into five specific sub-objectives linked to the challenges of modal shift, namely i) the habits anchored in the daily life of motorists; ii) values, preferences, and lifestyles; iii) the impact of economic levers such as public transport pricing or the externalities of automobility; iv) the effects of the supply of public transport and the spatial distribution of its infrastructure; and v) effects related to land use planning and residential locations.


PIRAMIDES, an Interdisciplinary Action Research Partnership in Planning and Decision Support for Social Equity: from interdisciplinary training to intersectoral intervention with Alexandre Lebel (principal researcher), Etienne Berthold, Sophie Dupéré, Isabelle Goupil-Sormany, Roxane Lavoie, Manuel J. Rodriguez, Dominic Villeneuve, research grant, FQRSC, 280 000$, 2021-2025.


Integration of the RSTC and the BAPE process for the Quebec City tramway in the AME-6501 distance learning course, replacing activities requiring face-to-face

Dominic Villeneuve (chercheur principal), subvention, MITACS Inc., 6 000$, 2020-2021.


Villes-Régions-Monde

Sandra Breux (chercheuse principale), Priscilla Ananian, Philippe Apparicio, Gérard Beaudet, Hélène Bélanger, Etienne Berthold, Harold Bérubé, Laurence Bherer, Julie-Anne Boudreau, Manon Boulianne, Sinisha Brdar, Cédric Brunelle, Mario Carrier, Geneviève Cloutier, Marie-Soleil Cloutier, D. Dagenais, Claudine Déom, François Des Rosiers, Carole Després, Martin Drouin, Guillaume Ethier, Gabriel Fauveaud, Dany Fougères, Caroline Gagnon, Louis Gaudreau, Mario Gauthier, Pierre Gauthier, Annick Germain, Stephane Guimond-Marceau, Pierre J. Hamel, Thi-Thanh Hiên Pham, Yona Jébrak, Violaine Jolivet, Thomas-Bernard Kenniff, Mohamed Reda Khomsi, Danielle Labbé, Ugo Lachapelle, Virginie Lasalle, Anne Latendresse, Roxane Lavoie, Sébastien Lord, Nik Luka, Tania Martin, Nathan Mcclintock, Jean-Philippe Meloche, Jean Mercier, Sylvie Miaux, Dominique Morin, Richard Morin, Paula Negron-Poblete, Sylvain Paquette, Sophie Paquin, Michel Parazelli, Sylvie Paré, Florence PaulhIiac-Scherrer, Christian Poirier, Claire Poitras, François Racine, Shabnam Rahbar, Juste Rajaonson, Michel Rochefort, Manuel J. Rodriguez, Frank Scherrer, Georges A. Tanguay, Marius Thériault, Isabelle Thomas, Juan Torres, Fanny Tremblay-Racicot, Patrick Turmel, Geneviève Vachon, Sophie Van Neste, Marie-Hélène Vandersmissen, Dominic Villeneuve, Edward Owen Douglas Waygood, Pauline Wolff, subvention, FQRSC, 1 767 500$, 2020-2027.

My PhD research project

Thesis abstract - Get full text here

This research explores the links between social exclusion, car dependence and public policies for members of non-motorized households who are potentially socially excluded. It is at the crossroads of urban sociology, public policy and transport geography. Comparing urban areas in North America and Europe, it comprises two case studies: Quebec City in Canada and Strasbourg in France.


Using a mixed methods approach, I combine qualitative and quantitative research tools to examine how the interactions of various policies, levels of car dependence, urban planning and land use affect mobility-related social exclusion with special attention to gender-based differences.


The analysis is based on official origin-destination survey data from both urban areas, semi-directed interviews within non-motorized households and with public servants, and policy documents.


I find that the factors causing non-motorized households to feel socially excluded are similar on both sides of the Atlantic. Mobility-related social exclusion can be associated with the fact of having to find an alternative to the car in order to reach certain destinations. Relying on the bus is often experienced as inconvenient, linked to long waiting times, having to leave early during evening outings and making detours instead of using a direct route. Such feelings made many of the study participants feel excluded.

Participants who felt socially excluded commonly mentioned feeling left out of the political process and not listened to during public consultations. Some participants also felt excluded for not having a driver’s licence, especially in France. Non-motorized households revealed that aggressive behaviour by motorists or their refusal to share the road with alternative mobility users were a further factor leading to social exclusion. Finally, judgmental comments by others who literally could not understand how they could live without a car – or who thought they didn’t have one because of drunk driving or poverty – was also associated with social exclusion in our sample.


The study participants often felt that owning a car had negative repercussions on their independence, as it comes with financial burdens of including car payments, vehicle repairs and maintenance. They reported feeling liberated from such burdens, as well as from logistical grievances like finding a parking spot or moving the car during snow removal, thus presenting a point of view not often explored in the literature.

The public servants considered that some of the population was car-dependent, which made the implementation of restrictive measures on the car challenging. When discussing policy solutions, the main challenge brought up by civil servants were urban sprawl and political aspects related to urban planning.


The policies in place to address transport and social exclusion contained three distinct sets of discourses. They either discussed social aspects, legal aspects, or mobility and land planning aspects. Each order of government had its own different focus, but car dependence per se was almost completely absent from policy documents, and most causes of mobility-related social exclusion were not addressed.

Keywords: car dependence, transport policy, social exclusion, non-motorized households, lexicometry, discourse analysis


Western cities are developed around the automobile mobility. The development of the automobile system can lead to automobile dependency. In such a society, the fact of not owning a car can even lead to a form of social exclusion.

To better understand the response of public policy in the face of automobile dependence, especially for non-motorized households, this research analyzes the situation of non-motorized households in four cities in Europe and North America. Implementing a literature review, a territorial contextual analysis and semi-structured interviews, the comparative perspective of this project will identify a typology of models specific the automobile dependency for each of the cities studied , namely: Quebec City (Canada) and Strasbourg (France) for the first phase of research.

It will also list the various measures put in place (through public policy as well as individuals from non-motorized  households with limited resources ) to compensate for the automobile dependency and social exclusion. It will also document for each case public policies related to social exclusion, car dependency and non-motorized households and document the expectations of non-motorized households towards the state.


Finally, we also aim to develop an automobile dependence indicator of territories that can be used by policy makers to include this phenomenon in their thought process and decision. Such an indicator may for example be part of a monitoring approach results inspired by the new public management where the achievement of public policy objectives is gauged in terms of quantitative indicators.

My Master of Arts in Public Administration thesis

To understand why all new light rail projects under development in Canada are carried out in public-private partnership (P3) rather than through the traditional mode (public administration) that prevailed in the past, this research explores three light rail projects currently underway (Edmonton, Ottawa and Toronto). Using three case studies, we explore the arguments surrounding each decision leading to the choice of P3 governance as well as the form taken by the partnership. We show that in all cases, it is possible to observe the mechanisms of policy transfer, whether voluntary or coercive. We believe that policy transfer can provide an answer to our question. Moreover, the argument used by local actors to justify the choice of P3, although similar in several respects, still display a unique combination of justifications for each case, which leads us to believe that the 3P is a versatile policy instrument. These findings demonstrate the importance of taking into account the policy transfer of the municipal level and not only transfers that take place between national states.