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Mobility Measure

New rail link and the Nantes Bus way

The measure focused on the city’s south east area, one of Nantes’ less well served areas in terms of public transportation.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Prior to measure implementation, the south east area of Nantes was relatively poorly served by public transport connections and suffered rising levels of congestion as a result of being crossed by a highway that was the most frequented access to the city centre. While improving the network, the aim was to use public transport as a comprehensive tool to reshape the urban environment in favour of other alternative modes. 

How did the measure progress?

During the first part of the project (2002 to 2004), existing railway tracks were used to create a new rail link between the suburban town of Vertou and Nantes, along with two new intermediary stations, park and ride facilities and connections to the bicycle and bus networks. With a train every 20 to 30 minutes at peak hours, the new service offers 19 round trips per day and access from Vertou to the city centre in 12 minutes.

In the second stage, the former urban through-road linking the ring road to the city centre was remodelled in 2005 with the creation of a clean and reliable BusWay (articulated buses running on a reserved priority lane). These buses run on compressed natural gas, have priority at all intersections and run at three-minute intervals during peak periods, connecting the ring road to the centre of Nantes in less than 20 minutes via 15 stops. The stops are equipped with real-time information displays and ticket-vending machines.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The new rail link proved to be very successful, with the number of passengers rising from 300 passengers per day prior to line improvement up to 1,100 passengers per day in November 2007. The new rail line also allowed or the smooth implementation of the second element of the project, as it offered a viable public transport solution during the remodelling of the highway into the city centre, which paralysed access to the city centre by car. During this period, the rail line carried up to 2,600 passengers per day.

The impact of the BusWay project is even more impressive. It had attracted 28,000 daily passengers by 2010, reducing car traffic by between 40 and 70 percent (depending on the section of the road), and creating a calmer environment for other road users.