|Country:||a) Western Europe,||b) France|
|Type:||Project, Policy, Concept, 1|
|Area:||City/Town, Rur/area/Village, 20,000-100,000|
|Actors:||Local government, Regional government, Economic sector, Publ.-priv. partnership|
|Funding:||Local government, Economic Sector, Publ.-priv. partnership|
|Topics:||Mobility and transport|
|Objectives:||Increase public awareness|
|Increase use of clean technology|
|Increase use of public transport|
|Instruments:||Demonstration and pilot project|
|Integrated planning approach|
The City of La Rochelle was among the very first European cities to feel concerned about the environment and to make appropriate efforts to put strong measures into action with regard to non-polluting vehicles, in particular electric ones. La Rochelle has become a pilot city for electric vehicles and at present 130 electric cars are in use.
With AUTOPLUS, its multi-modal public transport concept, the city practises an innovative traffic management involving cars, buses, bicycles, boats and public transport vehicles. La Rochelle sees itself as an urban laboratory as its innovative traffic system places public transport in competition with private transport.
In 1981 the Mayor of La Rochelle, Michel Crépeau, decided to streamline and develop public transport as well as to improve its guiding principles. These main ideas are:
It is assumed that public transport is struggling in a competitive field which demands general quality, and not only a technical one. The inhabitant as a customer expects an extra service in the very accurate, personalised solutions of public transport. As early as 1982 the first hybrid cars (diesel and electrically powered cars) came into operation in the City of La Rochelle.
Since 1985, La Rochelle´s public transport campany STCR (Société des Transports Collectifs Rochelais) monitors a multi-modal public transport concept, AUTOPLUS. This concept includes a range of different products like cars, buses, boats and public taxis. Particularly, an innovative traffic management was drawn up with regard to non-polluting vehicles. It is assumed that mass transit means other than the traditional bus so that all citizens can move around their city more easily while protecting the environment.
With the concept of AUTOPLUS and its flexible system La Rochelle has made an original approach by placing public transport in competition with private transport. In addition to the traditional network of bus transport, STCR offers a complementary system (boats, bicycles, taxis) to give the customer a wider choice and to allow flexibility in space and time. The traffic system also has special target groups like buses for handicapped persons and express buses for people who live in remote industrial areas.
As a complement to the regular bus service the citizens of La Rochelle find a broad choice of different transport opportunities. The whole system of AUTOPLUS includes:
Since 1986, electric cars have been used daily in urban conditions by the city´s technical services, the Post Office, EDF (France´s Electricity Board) and since 1993, by private users. From December 1993 to December 1995, 50 inhabitants of La Rochelle tested 25 Peugeot 106´s and Citroën AX´s. The goal of this large scale-operation was to test electric performances in an urban environment. Starting in 1995, the concept ELECTRIC AUTOPLUS offers a short-term electric car and scooter hire service for daily urban use (9 cars and 10 scooters).
The City of La Rochelle created parking facilities with recharging units and has made parking free for electric cars. EDF has created a recharging infrastructure: seven normal recharging units (six to seven hours recharge time), three of which can accommodate two vehicles at the same time. Three rapid recharging units were installed at Total petrol stations, due to their specific operating mode. Recharging can be paid for by a ´smart´ card, with users filling in a questionnaire every two months. In early November 1995, the sale of "106 and "AX models started up nation-wide. At present the fleet totals 130 vehicles.
In addition, a research centre on electric vehicles was founded and is now operating from the School of Engineering.
As La Rochelle is a seaside resort, the city was an appropriate place for establishing a regular sea route service between the old harbour, the new harbour and the Minimes district. Originally, the sea- bus had a tourist purpose as it served as a tourist service during the holiday season (May - September). But soon it became a full-time transport system working throughout the year. In winter one boat operated a week-end service, while in summer there was a high frequency (every quarter of an hour) with two boats. In 1993, the sea-buses carried 234,000 passengers.
In 1988 the AUTOPLUS Ferryman was created as a complementary service to the seabus. The Ferryman provides, on request, the crossings from an old harbour and connects it with Gabut and the ´Wooden Town´. This district includes a camp site, a youth hostel, a few museums and numerous car parks. By ferry, passengers can reach this destination within two minutes from the town centre. From January to December 1993 this service carried 92,000 passengers.
Although this alternative to motor vehicles had been initiated by Michel Crépeau in 1975, the town bikes were integrated into the transport system by STCR in 1986. However, La Rochelle´s little yellow bikes operated all year round in 1994. Now the bikes can be borrowed not only by tourists, but also by local inhabitants. They are free of charge and can be used up to two hours. Beyond that time the hire charge is 6,000 francs an hour. In 1993, there were 25,000 bike hirings in four months with 350 units.
AUTOPLUS Taxis is a system of collective taxis operating a 24 hour-service. It is based on a partnership between STCR and the Rochelle Radio-Taxis group. This co-operation is a real innovation for the traffic system of La Rochelle and is possible due to
The service connects, with a call card, the 48 ´Eurekar´ service points in the built-up area with the two centre-town service points, at a set price of 28 francs (regardless of time, destination and number of passengers). It is meant as an essential complement to the bus service and meets all the transport requirements in space and time.
La Rochelle´s was the first bus network to use a comprehensive ticket system on all its vehicles. STCR delegated to the builder CAMP the task to demonstrate the whole range of the abilities of his new DATAMAG technology. The guiding idea was "transport at a set price and the aim was to make paying simple, exclusive and coherent. Previously, the passenger had to buy books of tickets and to show a card.
Now the ticket system gives the passenger more freedom of movement and, therefore, shows the strong advantage of AUTOPLUS. The new ticket system was introduced in April 1986 and offers the opportunity to take many trips on one ticket at a set price for a certain period. The bus user has got used to this new technique without trouble. The obligation to stamp the ticket was no problem and cheating has dwindled. However, the bus company had to shift from one machine to two validating- or cancelling machines for each standard bus. La Rochelle´s ticket system is still in the course of development. It is already in place in buses and in the sea-buses and is gradually being introduced into all AUTOPLUS services.
In La Rochelle priority is given to the customer and his requirements. The city´s Automatic System of Information, SAI, not only answers in terms of information, but also helps to formulate individual requirements. The scheme "La Rochelle - Information - AUTOPLUS put into operation by the Lumiplan company makes it possible to inform the inhabitants of the catchment area of La Rochelle, at home or in the street, 24 hours a day about:
The information is obtained either through a Minitel screen (at home, in a public place), on a paper ticket (telematic service points) or by phone (telephone exchange). The system also allows a dialogue with the user. In the version route-inquiry the user must give, through the keyboard, his destination in the form of addresses in the city, public places or various institutions. The system interprets it and can also give several alternative methods. The user can choose what suits him. Exceptionally, it will answer by suggesting a taxi and provide the phone number of the taxi company.
In 1993 STCR was equipped with a system to assist its operations and information. This system works on the following levels:
Help for drivers:
In May 1991, La Rochelle was earmarked by the government for the creation of a university providing complete courses within the scope of the "University 2000 scheme. With regard to public transport it will be implemented by general reflection on the future of the network, more particularly by a scheme for the service on site of the Minimes district including the university (10,000 students by the year 2000).
Today, 130 electric vehicles are being used daily in La Rochelle and its surrounding areas. By now, electric vehicles have travelled more than 2 million kilometres. The objective is to operate 300 electric cars in La Rochelle by the end of 1996. After setting up a short-term rental system on May 5, 1995, AUTOPLUS plans to test a self-service system in 1997. The introduction will depend on experiences in La Rochelle and other experiments in this field, both in France and abroad. The operation is going to be extended throughout the cities around La Rochelle as well as to Rochefort where two recharging units have already been installed.
Concerning the AUTOPLUS ticket system a simpler type of stamping machine is planned for the taxis. It is regarded as essential for the credibility and the efficiency of the concept that taxis will be equipped with these machines. Then the passenger will be able to buy "multiservice card beyond the range of public transport means a significant step towards the "city-card whose effects should be well considered.
Regarding the Automatic Information System, a specific scheme for the public acceptance of service points in the street has been carried out. The test covered if the information given by that service point is clearly understood and complete, and if the use of the service point is easy and satisfactory. As a result, interviews have shown a favourable acceptance for the telematic service points in the street. The number of calls exceeds 700 per day (with 4 points).
In response to the success of these traffic innovations, the Communauté de Villes de La Rochelle is now working on two main projects: the development of an automatic rent-a-car system, which combines the advantages of both individual vehicles and public transport; and of an urban good distribution system with electric vehicles in the city centre. Experiments will also be launched shortly with different types of use for electric vehicles, e.g. 2nd or 3rd privately-owned car, urban service car. self-service vehicle.
Beside the activities of the municipal, La Rochelle´s Public Transport Corporation (STCR), that is running AUTOPLUS, and the local taxi Group of Economic Interest (GIE), two other actors are of importance:
In 1998, an Individual Public Electric Vehicle service (V.I.P.E) will be created to operate the transport system.
Until now the operational costs of the AUTOPLUS transport concept (except investment and staff) turned out to be as follows: expenditure of the sea-buses service and the Ferryman amounted to 3 million francs per year with an annual receipt of 2.5 million francs. The expenditure for the AUTOPLUS taxis comes to 190,000 francs per year, with an annual receipt of 120,000 francs. The AUTOPLUS bicycles cost 40,000 francs per year with an annual receipt of as much as 65,000 francs.
The expenditure on 31 electric vehicles (Volta V1, Citroën AX, Peugeot 106, Barigo Scooter AS.EL50) amounts to 1,576,834 million francs per year with an annual receipt of 233,000 francs. Expenditure by the Communauté de Villes de La Rochelle per annum is 450,918 francs for 6 electric vehicles (Citroën AX and Peugeot 106) with an annual receipt of 48,000 francs.
Grellier, Jean-Marie: Transport and Urban Movements in La Rochelle, manuscript
Ministère de L´Environnement (ed.) 1996: French Towns for Sustainable Development - Habitat II, June 1996, Paris
Mollard, Jacques: La Rochelle and the electric vehicle
|Telefon||:||0033 / 5 / 4651 5141|
|Telefax||:||0033 / 5 / 4651 5011|
|Ingénieur en Chef|
|25, quai Maubec|
|F - 17086 La Rochelle Cedex 02|
The City of La Rochelle, western France, is the capital of Charente-Maritime Department and situated on an inlet of the Bay of Biscay, opposite the Île de Ré. It is an important base for Atlantic fishing boats and is served by the nearby major commercial port of La Pallice. Manufactures of La Rochelle include processed fish, ships, and chemicals. The city has 75,000 inhabitants.
Project was added at 23.01.1997
Project was changed at 02.07.1997