The renaissance of tramways and urban redevelopment in France

Above – Tramway in Strasbourg


Tramways have made a remarkable comeback in France since the
1980s. An organization of public transport based on the decentralized
administration system set up in the early 1980s has allowed local urban
authorities to make their own choices to develop public transport networks
in the context of automobile domination. As in many other countries,
worries about fossil fuel dependency and demands concerning sustainable
urban development appear as strong elements in favour of urban light rail.
However, in France, tramways are not just technical solutions for traffic
congestion, they have also become a symbol of a cultural mutation in urban
development planning. Coupled with a national political push for a more
inclusive city in social terms, tramways are the backbone of contemporary
urban policies, in a French version of transit-oriented development (TOD),
especially for mid-size cities

more cities embraced light rail as a backbone of their
transportation networks and as a central tool for sustainable
urban development. France can now boast about a quarter of all
world-wide tramway systems launched since 1980……….

The renaissance of tramways and urban redevelopment
in France
Department of Geography,
Université de Bourgogne, France
Yves Boquet
Received: 3 June 2016
Accepted: 15 March 2017