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Transport systems and technologies

Specialist opinion

With the creation of the VT (Versement Transport – Transport Tax paid by employers) in the 1970s and PDUs (Plans de Déplacement Urbains – Urban Transport Plans) in the 1990s, French towns and cities have enjoyed the means to significantly improve their public transport provision. This rapid growth was accompanied by the development of new and varied public transport systems and technologies in order to satisfy ever more demanding requirements in terms of energy efficiency, pollution, accessibility, comfort, safety, reliability and operating costs.As far as guided transport is concerned, metro systems have become automated (e.g. VAL systems, Line D [Maggaly] in Lyon, Line 14 [Météor] in Paris) while trams have made a comeback in many large towns and cities. More recently, tyre-based guided transport systems, supposedly more economic, have also made their appearance (e.g. TVR, CIVIS, Translohr).Buses are evolving, too. Although manufacturers have, up to now, concentrated on accessibility (low floors) and engine improvements (diesel particulate filters, natural gas, biofuels, hybrid and electric motors, etc.), future developments will most likely focus on creating high-capacity buses in dedicated corridors that benefit at last from all the advantages of trams (priority at traffic lights, guiding at stops, passenger information, etc.): this is known as the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) concept.Finally, mention should be made of the emergence of flexible, alternative systems that are progressively being developed to fill the gap between private vehicles and standard public transport lines. These systems – which range from transport on request to carpools and from carsharing to fleets of compact, automated urban vehicles – often make use of high technology (NICT, real-time route calculation, robotics) to achieve their objectives.

Latest documents available online

  • Road and rail in real time in Stockholm

    (2005)
  • EXPERIMENT : "Trafik Stockholm" is a traffic management centre in which sophisticated information systems, based on powerful technologies, help road users to travel in and around Stockholm. Through this part of the Trendsetter project, the traffic database has been used to create a system providing real-time information that takes account of traffic conditions for all modes. The underlying real-time dynamic model is called MatriX. ...Read more
  • Contribution to the management of an on-board fuel cell

    (2005)
  • STUDY : The fuel cell (FC) is seen as an autonomous energy source on board rail-based vehicles (trams and locomotive tractors) and buses. An FC on board this kind of vehicle can only be used in combination with an Energy Storage System (ESS) such as a battery, super-capacity battery or flywheel. The aim of the COPPACE project is to identify the technologies and best choice of FC/ESS combination for use in locomotive tractors and buses. ...Read more
  • Development of the Hybrid Microbus

    (2004)
  • STUDY : The study relates to the building of a "microbus" (22 seats) with a hybrid engine located in the front of the vehicle, which means the passenger compartment can have a flat, low floor throughout. ...Read more