Queensland UTC +10
Terms of use Privacy About us Media Contact


Author Topic: French Light Rail / Tramway presentation  (Read 1123 times)

Offline Scott

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
French Light Rail / Tramway presentation
« on: January 01, 2017, 09:19:47 AM »
If people are interested in light rail, I would encourage thenm to study the French systems, which are state of the art in my opinion.

France pioneered modern Light Rail with the Nantes system opening in 1985.  They then took the idea a step further in 1994 when the Strasbourg system opened with the first 100% low floor trams.

In the past 30 years France has built new LRT systems in 28 cities with great success, attracting high ridership (often beating forecasts) reducing car usage, and encouraging economic redevelopment where they are built.  All have segregated track (Type B or C priority ROW) with priority at signals and large low floor vehicles.  This gives them the capacity of a four or six lane freeway (6000 to 9000 passengers per hour per direction).  This has all come at a cost per km lower than what we spend on new freeways of equivalent capacity. 

Today six French LRT systems (Bordeaux, Lyon, Montpellier, Nantes, Paris and Strasbourg) have daily patronage exceeding 250,000 trips per day.  This is higher than the Brisbane Citytrain heavy rail patronage, on less than half the length of track.  These cities are not all high density - Bordeaux, Nantes and Strasbourg have population densities comparable with Adelaide or Brisbane, and lower than Melbourne.  In fact the LRTs have been so successful that Nantes and Bordeaux have abandoned plans to build underground Metros since opening their LRTs.

Why are they so successful?  They are easy to use - convenient access and integrated with feeder buses.  Segregated track and signal priority makes them quick (average speed 20 to 25 km/hr) and reliable.  They run a very high level of service - typically French LRT frequencies will be 3 to 6 minutes during the peak, and at worst 6 to 10 minutes off peak.  This means they also get much higher patronage off peak.  Lastly they look good.  The French are willing to spend up to 10% of project cost on grass track, landscaping, and improved paving of footpaths.  This gives them high public acceptance.  The current fight between Sydney City Council and NSW state government over landscaping in George Street for Sydney SE Light Rail illustrates the importance of this.

This presentation gives a useful overview.

So given that they have the capacity of a six lane freeway (or busway), cost less, and look much better, I find myself asking, why don't we build them more often here?

Online ozbob

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 85389
    • RAIL Back On Track
Re: French Light Rail / Tramway presentation
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2017, 09:31:09 AM »

Thanks for the information.  Very interesting.  :tr :tr :tr
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
Bob's Blog  Instagram   Facebook  @ozbob13@mastodon.social

Offline Scott

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: French Light Rail / Tramway presentation
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2017, 10:58:26 AM »
Thanks Ozbob.  I only just discovered your forum.  Good job!  I hope to visit here regularly in future :)

BTW the French language version of Wikipedia also has much more detailed articles on all the French LRTs, which they call tramways.  Pop the text through Google translate and you can get the gist.  Lots of good stats too.

While I think the latest generation LRT technology is great, I do not suggest it replace heavy rail.  Heavy rail will always have more capacity and speed.  But in a suburban corridor with no land preserved for heavy rail, street running LRT, G:Link style, makes a great cost effective alternative.

I work in transport planning, but not in Qld. 


Sitemap 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 

“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.” -- Erol Ozan