Section: Application Domains
New transportation systems
The problems related to the abusive use of the individual car in large cities led the populations and the political leaders to support the development of public transport. A demand exists for a transport of people and goods which associates quality of service, environmental protection and access to the greatest number. Thus the tram and the light subways of VAL type recently introduced into several cities in France conquered the populations, in spite of high financial costs.
However, these means of mass transportation are only possible on lines on which there is a keen demand. As soon as one moves away from these “lines of desire” or when one deviates from the rush hours, these modes become expensive and offer can thus only be limited in space and time.
To give a more flexible offer, it is necessary to plan more individual modes which approach the car as we know it. However, if one wants to enjoy the benefits of the individual car without suffering from their disadvantages, it is necessary to try to match several criteria: availability anywhere and anytime to all, lower air and soils pollution as well as sound levels, reduced ground space occupation, security, low cost.
Electric or gas vehicles available in self-service as in the Praxitèle system bring a first response to these criteria. To be able to still better meet the needs, it is however necessary to re-examine the design of the vehicles on the following points:
ease empty car moves to better distribute them;
better use of information systems inboard and on ground;
better integrate this system in the global transportation system.
These systems are now operating (i.e. in La Rochelle). The challenge is to bring them to an industrial phase by transferring technologies to these still experimental projects.