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Multimodal mobility mangagement

The challenge: sustainable mobility

It seems self-evident that the increased attractiveness of urban agglomerations brings with it an increase in the transport demand.

Today, most agglomerations do not have the means to create new road infrastructures due to their cost, the nuisances they generate, and their social and environmental impact, despite the impact of these being to increase demand by increasing the attractiveness of the new areas serviced.

The positions today taken under the Grenelle de l’environnement (French round table on the environment) to promote sustainable mobility which aims to increase demand by trying to modify mobility practices:

The general strategy is to reduce individual journeys in private vehicles (solo driving) and encourage the use of public transport or other less environmentally damaging modes of transport.

It is difficult to imagine this will be possible without having full control of the mobility offer, accompanied by a capacity to anticipate demand. This is why some agglomerations (in France: Grenoble, Toulouse, Montpellier… and also the towns enrolled in the CIVITAS project) have begun to think about implementing multimodal mobility management.


Bring together all stakeholders working on the mobility offer and encourage the development of data exchange, cooperation and collaboration processes.

A principle for collaboration based on shared objectives and strategies

The first aim is to bring together the different stakeholders involved in the mobility offer: Infrastructure managers, public transport operators, parking managers, the police and even the emergency services, so they can, at the very least, share their operating procedures and gradually develop the reflex of sharing information, cooperating and collaborating with other partners. The aim at this first stage is to set up a platform for discussion and exchange which does not in itself constitute a form of multi-modal mobility management.

In order to meet this objective, it is vital that the different stakeholders reach a consensus regarding a set of actions that will allow each partner to manage their transport offer using jointly-developed shared objectives and strategies. An example of one such objective could be to favour public transport over other modes of transport. The related strategy to ensure the correct functioning of the public transport network could be traffic signal priorities for buses, for example. In the event of specific incidents affecting traffic and bus flows, a set of actions could be jointly-defined to best meet the initial objective.


The role of stakeholders

A reinforced role for public authorities

Whilst there is no intention to interfere in how different operators manage their networks, one of the aims of multi-modal mobility management is that the authorities responsible for transport infrastructure and public transport networks  can clearly define and share their objectives and services. There is no doubt that improved coordination would in turn improve the conditions under which delegated services are operated.

The operators’ roles

The role of the operators is to engage in close collaboration with all partners, including the contracting authorities, via collaborative data exchange platforms.


The role of ITS

Today, most ITS are implemented to respond to a contracting authority’s specific needs with regard to a given activity or professional sector. ITS can also be put to more limited use, for one specific application in order to provide a specific type of service. In public transport for example, operation support systems primarily respond to the needs of the network operator.

The first step towards system interoperability is to ensure that the data produced for one application can be reused for others: For the transport offer for example, the data collected to check the punctuality of vehicles can be used to create a user information database, possibly associated with a route planner, which operates in real-time (or non-real -time)? this is only possible however, if the data can be used for more than one application. It is therefore necessary to use a shared data repository.

It would seem logical that any one operator, acting on the behalf of a TOA, would use one single data repository allowing them to move from one application to another without re-entering data and with less risk of errors, but this is not always the case!


Associated pages

Outils & méthodes

The benefits of shared data repositories

In order to make data exchange between partners, and in particular between systems, possible it would seem necessary for transport operators to agree on shared data repositories:

  • cartographic data repository
  • data repository of the road system, roads and services (a means of describing locations, specific points - hubs - and lines etc.)
  • temporal data repository (stops, connections)
  • timestamping of historised data (the means by which it is possible to reuse qualified data)
  • vocabulary (a means for describing specific events whether these are planned or unforeseen, serious or not)).

Therefore, an event which occurs on a road can be more rapidly identified as affecting the public transport services that use it. The way in which the event is described allows incident response teams and emergency services to be informed, and for all services to be provided with clear information, allowing them to react to the disruption and inform users.


Expanding the services available on platforms.

In addition to supporting the management of transport networks, the sharing of historised information using common guidelines, can be used to provide information for transport offer watch, the monitoring of service quality, the mobility accounts made compulsory under French transport law and the tools for planning or advising on  the implementation of new services  (and even for setting up companies). When this data is used in a responsive manner and associated with demand monitoring through social networks, it can also contribute to developing 2.0 services offering alternatives to conventional modes of transport.