Redesigning public spaces
In anticipation of the opening of the city’s second metro line, Toulouse developed a package of activities and mobility changes in the city centre, including access controls on private cars and freight delivery vehicles and the reallocation of public spaces to pedestrians and cyclists.
Implementing sustainable mobility
The construction of the second metro line was foreseen as having a major impact on transport and mobility organisation in the city as a whole that needed to be anticipated within urban planning policy. An agreement was therefore signed in 2001 by all stakeholders, including the city of Toulouse, the Greater Toulouse Authority (CAGT) and the public transport authority Tisseo in order to prepare for the redesign of the city centre based on the promotion of public transportation and the development of alternative mobility modes.
Specific objectives related to the renewal of the city centre as a result of the construction of the metro line were to:
- facilitate mobility and promote the use of public transportation;
- improve pedestrian accessibility to metro stations;
- reallocate space on the streets in favour of pedestrians and cyclists by installing bicycle parking racks near all new metro stations; and
- create dedicated lanes for freight delivery vehicles.
The measure included the modification of the traffic layout, urban planning for bicycles, the extension of pedestrian zones and the creation of delivery areas in the city centre.
Some two-lane streets were reduced to single-lane streets; some areas were closed to car traffic; the direction of travel was changed in some streets; and wider passages were designed for pedestrians and cyclists. One of the main streets in the very centre of the city was redesigned from having two bus lanes and one car lane to having two cycle lanes, one car lane and a wider pavement for pedestrians. The central part of this street was also closed to road traffic. The bus lanes were moved to the surrounding boulevards. As a result, the very centre of Toulouse is now dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists.
Special areas were also designated for freight delivery. At the end of 2007, the opening of the second metro line and the introduction of the bicycle rental system VeloToulouse rounded off the new developments.
There was a remarkable reduction in the amount of car traffic in the city centre. Between 2006 and 2008, the volume of car traffic was reduced by 12.5 percent in morning peak hours and by 17 percent in morning off-peak hours. There was also a distinct drop in car traffic along the main street in the city centre, although traffic increased on surrounding roads.
The habits and routes of cyclists changed: bicycle use decreased during the week by around 10 percent between 2006 and 2008, although numbers of cyclists on the city’s main street, which had been reorganised in favour of cyclists and pedestrians, were constantly growing at the end of the project period.