Public policy tools to implement transit-oriented development: The case of the Montreal city-region


  • Juliette Maulat Institut de Géographie, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Géographie-Cités research unit
  • Florence Paulhiac-Scherrer Département d’études urbaines et touristiques, École des sciences de la gestion, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Franck Scherrer École d’urbanisme et d’architecture de paysage, Université de Montréal


Transit-oriented development, Planning, Implementation, Public policy instruments, Montreal


Over the last 25 years, Transit-oriented development (TOD) has become one of the core models of planning in North
American cities. However, the implementation of TOD is still hindered by various barriers (institutional, political, economical, etc.) leading cities to develop specific policy tools to support TOD. But while TOD has generated a substantial
body of research, literature has paid little attention to its implementation processes, from metropolitan-scale planning to local urban development projects, and the policy tools designed by governments to support TOD. To fill this gap, this paper shifts the focus by analysing the public policy tools used to support TOD implementation, based on a case study of Montreal. It argues that the inclusion of TOD in metropolitan-scale planning has led metropolitan government to develop new public action tools to support the implementation of TOD. It proposes a typology of these tools (regulatory, informative, institutional, good practices and project-based) and examines their differentiated uses and implementation. It demonstrates that these instruments—mostly incentives—are both mirrors and vectors of changes in the planning and governance of the Montreal city-region, favoring collective learning about TOD, new inter-institutional cooperation and shifts in planning practices. This work thus provides empirical evidence of the renewal of planning strategies and the diversification of public policy tools associated with transi