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Soft, shared and alternative modes of transports

This section is devoted to all modes of transport that provide alternatives to private vehicles. The articles in this section look at ICT applications for individual soft modes of transport, notably walking or cycling, and for shared transport services other than scheduled public transport services: These are mainly demand responsive transport (DRT), car sharing, car pooling and public bicycle hire schemes.


  • Arrival at Roissy
  • Allobus (Roissy)
  • Creabus (Dieppe)
  • HandiTan (Nantes)

Demand Responsive Transport


Article 26 of the decree n°85-891 dated 16 August 1985 on urban passenger transport and non-urban passenger transport states that “demand responsive public road transport services are individual public services, partly scheduled according to user demand, for which pricing criteria are established in advance and which are provided using vehicles with a minimum of four seats, including the driver’s seat”.

These “on-demand passenger road transport services” are more commonly known as Demand Responsive Transport (DRT). Article 26 of the decree n°85-891 dated 16 August 1985 sets out the main characteristics of these DRT services:

- They are public services. They are available to all. There are however, exceptions to this principle: Article 27 of the aforementioned decree states that DRT, like scheduled services “can be set up for specific categories of users” such as people with reduced mobility for example.

Responsibility for organising these services over urban transport perimeters (UTP) is part of the urban transport organising authorities’’ remit. Beyond these UTP, responsibility for organising DRT falls to the departmental councils (non-urban transport organising authorities for the departmental perimeter), the regional councils (transport organising authorities for rail and inter-departmental bus services across the regional perimeter), or the State, depending on the perimeter serviced.

DRT may be implemented under local authority control by the relevant organising authority or by a transport operator registered with the register of public road passenger transport companies, who have signed a fixed term contract with the OA.

- the minimum capacity of the vehicles used is four seats.

- finally, the DRT are « partly scheduled according to user demand ». This means that these services are only implemented when the user makes a prior reservation.

DRT are notably used over a large perimeter around the Roissy - Charles de Gaulle airport (the Allobus system).

Remote information and communication technologies make it possible to optimise the management of these fleets of vehicles. The system allows users to call one hour before their departure and have a bus service pass along a pre-determined line, in a certain time slot.

This system does not use GPS to track buses but the Mobibloc system which uses the principle of radio-positioning in which each mobile element determines its position by measuring the transmission delay of a code emitted from fixed marker.


Associated pages

Outils & méthodes

Car sharing

Car sharing schemes, also known as car clubs are a form of vehicle rental which make a fleet of vehicles available to their users. Once these users have signed up as members of the car club, they can access a vehicle on demand, by simply booking by telephone or internet.

Article 54 of the law dated 13th July 2010 setting out the national commitment for the environment (known at the Grenelle 2 law) provides an official definition of car sharing stating that:  the action of car sharing is defined as the pooling of a fleet of motorised land transport vehicles for the use of members of the car sharing scheme. Each member can access a vehicle (without driver) for their journeys of choice and for a limited duration.

In practice, car sharing companies make a fleet of vehicles available 24/7 to users who have signed up to the scheme. Users pay for their actual use of the service, and can book a vehicle by telephone or internet. The cost of the service is calculated according to the mileage and/or duration of the rental period, with the aim of inciting users to take advantage of the scheme for shorter journeys.

These car sharing schemes should not be confused with private car sharing arrangements. The former correspond to the aforementioned definition: They provide rental services for short periods, managed by a company or not-for-profit organisation, for the sole use of service members. Private car sharing arrangements cover the use of one or more vehicle by a group of friends, neighbours or families for different journeys, at different times.


Car pooling

Car pooling (also known as car sharing, lift sharing or ride sharing) refers to the shared use of a vehicle by a non-professional driver, and one or more passengers who travel together for all or part of a journey.

Organised car pooling should be distinguished from dynamic car pooling which uses mobile internet technologies or GPS to connect people wishing to car pool.

Various operators are currently studying options for implementing dynamic car pooling in France.

Car pools can also be set up by different stakeholders - mobility centres, not-for-profit organisations, companies, individuals - and take different forms: Websites to connect drivers/passengers, route planning, one-off arrangements between two people with no prior planning etc.


New bicycle sharing schemes


- Around stations:

Several local authorities have developed innovative parking  solutions  which integrate with the public transport system: Secure covered car parks, travel cards used to access car park facilities, modular car parks that can adapt to demand etc.  In some cases short or long-term car rental services complete the offer.

Some of these car parks are known as "cycle parks".

For more information:

- In residential buildings:

The Grenelle law dated 12th July 2010 made it compulsory that new residential buildings offering secure car parking must also provide secure bicycle sheds.   Some landlords have anticipated the application of this law by offering parking facilities adapted to residents’ needs.

For more information:


-Private rental services:

These services offer short-term (hour, half day, day) or medium to long-term bicycle rental (week, month, year).  The fleet may include electric bicycles and tandems to increase the  number of potential clients. The bicycle must be returned to the place it was rented. This type of services is offered by bicycle specialists, and also from certain bicycle stations and by organisations which promote cycling.

- A different type of rental scheme: Public Bicycle Sharing Schemes:

Bicycle sharing schemes have become remarkably popular over the last few years. These schemes usually take the form of automated rental systems allowing users to hire a bike for a short period of time, with a network of stations covering a given geographical area. These bicycle hire schemes generally operate along the same lines: The user borrows and returns the bicycle from self-service stations, which can be accessed using a credit card or designated travel card.

There are also other public bicycle hire schemes available which do not use a network of stations but which operate via mobile phones. These "call a bike" schemes, used widely throughout Germany, can also be found in a hybrid form in France (Chalon-sur-Saône) in a hybrid form (mobile phone + stations).

Some public bicycle hire schemes have equipped their fleet with RFID technology (Radio Frequency IDentification) and even, in America with on-board GPS.

Currently, in France around thirty medium to large cities offer public bicycle hire schemes.

For more information:


Associated pages

STI en France

Produits & Services