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TRB 91 th Annual Meeting 22-26 January 2012, Washington, DC, USA Session : State-of-the-Art Light Rail: Lessons from France - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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TRB 91 th Annual Meeting 22-26 January 2012, Washington, DC, USA Session : State-of-the-Art Light Rail: Lessons from France. Drivers of French Light Rail Success: Preliminary Findings. Presentation No: P12-5808. Professor Graham Currie Institute of Transport Studies,

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TRB 91 th Annual Meeting 22-26 January 2012, Washington, DC, USA Session : State-of-the-Art Light Rail: Lessons from France

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TRB 91th Annual Meeting22-26 January 2012, Washington, DC, USASession : State-of-the-Art Light Rail: Lessons from France

Drivers of French Light Rail Success: Preliminary Findings

Presentation No: P12-5808

Professor Graham CurrieInstitute of Transport Studies,

Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

Tom Parkinson

Consultant, British Columbia, Canada

France has pioneered transforming urban mobility using Light Rail Transit...

...this paper suggests 10 success factors as a basis for further investigation



Urban Form

Auto Culture




Flexible Design




Mayors with Power and 6 Year Terms

Mayor Electoral Term & LRT Construction Time


Inauguration - Reims Tramway



Versement Transport – flexible funding with deeper pockets for bigger projects

Versement Transport

VT Per Capita Funding (1997)

  • A payroll tax - levied on the wages provided by all businesses with 10 or more employees within a transport authority region

  • Usually 1% of payroll but can be higher if a good case to improve mobility is made e.g. Reims 1.8%

  • Covers Capital and Operating Costs

  • Can be sensitive to economic performance

Funding Source - STIF Paris 1990-2004

Urban Form

High density compact towns where single lines have high impact

Key Comparator Statistics

Little Rock (USA)

Comparator Urban Form Measures

8 km

Reims (France)


8 km

Note: To Same Scale

Auto Culture

Less Auto focussed planning

Motor Vehicle Ownership

Reims – Only Car Access Into CBD


Vehicles/1000 population

Source: OECD Factbook (2006)


Pro-Transit Planning and Consultation (but with protection from NIMBY’s)

Pro Transit Planning

  • Have Urban Master Plans and urban Local Plan which MUST be consistent with 1996 Clean Air Act (Loisurl’air)

    • Emphasises transit development

    • Limits use of cars

Mandated Consultation

  • Board of Inquiry (independent of local biases) formed to review projects

    • Outcome is ‘declaration d’UtilitePublique’ providing Local Powers to act

    • Tends to emphasise project benefits over NIMBY constraints


Concentrated Expertise


  • A few major consultants have concentrated expertise in design and planning

    • Avoids reinventing the wheel on new projects


  • Typically contracted with design, build operate transfer contracts

  • Again concentrated expertise

    • Lessons learned used on next project rather than reinventing the wheel

Commercial-Government Integration

  • Commercial expertise provided by companies where local governments have a high shareholding


French towns have pride in their unique identity & take ‘ownership’ of projects to emphasise this

Flexible Design

Design is for living as much as transport functionality

Flexible Design

Concentrating LRV production produces mass customisation benefits

Flexible Design

Innovation in key features

No Overhead Wires

Grass Tracks




Ticket and service integration considered essential not nice to have


Utility relocation a utility company, not a LRT project, responsibility

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