January 20, 2011

Sustainable Transport Award cities: Nantes

From public bike systems to BRT to integrated mass transit solutions – all of the 2011 Sustainable Transport Award-nominated cities are exemplars in implementing integrated transport solutions. Over the next week, we will cover profiles of the nominated cities – Guangzhou, León, Lima, Nantes, Tehran – culminating in the presentation of the Sustainable Transport Award on January 24 at Transportation Research Board conference in Washington D.C.



Nantes has been at the forefront of sustainable transportation for more than two decades – Time magazine described it as “the most livable city in Europe” in 2004 –  and has been chosen as a European Green Capital in 2013.

Last year it made significant progress in re-organizing its tramway and bus system for improved efficiency, promoting bicycling, and continuing to shift people away from cars. Its previous mobility plan had an ambitious target of, at the minimum, a city wide 50% modal split of car trips. The new plan (2010-2015-2030) includes new objectives such as a joint development of urban and mobility policies to reach the following goals: slower car speed, improved quality of public spaces to provide pedestrians and cyclists with optimal conditions, denser city centers to favor short-distance trips, improved PT and cycling networks to connect these living centers.

Nantes’ integration of its tram-based mass transit network with a bus with a High Level of Service (Busway) has proved to be an efficient solution. The Busway has reached a frequency of just three minutes at peak times and is carrying over 27,000 passengers per day. This concept has been further developed with the launch of the Chronobus project: seven new lines and Ccontinuous improvement is being incentivized by the design of a new ‘Chronobus’ lines with quality and performance indicators such as similar guaranteed travel times for peak and off peak hours and improved frequencies making it easier to choose to take the bus without knowing the timetable.

Carbon savings have been further boosted by moving over 80 per cent of the city’s total bus fleet to run on compressed natural gas; expanding electric trams; and experimenting with joint procurement for the purchase of hybrid buses.

Bicycling is encouraged with a bike-sharing scheme that uses high-tech kiosks; secure bike parking spaces; and a rent-a-bike service.  The city is also experimenting with electric bikes and will combine foldable bicycles with public transport.


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