Montreal Rapid Transit

North America’s 19th-largest metropolis has its third- (or fourth-*) busiest subway. And the Montréal Metro is not just a successful system, it’s an iconic one, with its rubber-tired railcars (based on Paris, of course) and historically, at least, a unique map. But Montréal is about to get a whole new rapid transit system. The Réseau express métropolitain (Metropolitan Express Network), or REM, will use driverless light metro trains like Vancouver’s Skytrain and Honolulu’s HART, and will take advantage of existing commuter rail right-of-way to extend deep into the suburbs. Before long, Metro, including a planned extension of the Blue Line, and REM together should total 109 miles with 118 stations — if, that is, REM de l’Est is built in something close to its originally proposed form. (* As in other areas, Montréal competes with Toronto for this title.)


The origin of this map was a realization that, for all the official and amateur maps made of the Montréal Metro, no one had yet seriously attempted to integrate the Metro and REM. I was nearly done when I discovered this map by ARTM, the regional transportation planning org. C’est la vie! If the maps look similar, it’s because both draw on the Metro map, starting with its distinctive black background. In defense of this map, it will be interesting to see how a future iteration of the ARTM map incorporates REM de l’Est (again, if it’s built), with its new stations in the heart of downtown and alignment closely paralleling the Metro Green Line, both of which present cartographic challenges. This map also future-proofs potential extensions of the Metro Orange Line to Bois-Franc and REM to Dorval. The typeface is Metro’s, FF Transit.

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