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Bordeaux, France Encouraging Public Transportation Users to Walk Instead of Ride?

Bordeaux, France Tram

In order to relieve congestion on downtown tramway lines, a marketing campaign plans to suggest that users of Bordeaux's TBC choose to walk between certain stations.

It's the world turned upside down: a public transportation operator inciting its customers to walk rather than use the tramway! This is what Keolis, manager of the TBC network in the urban community of Bordeaux, is getting ready to do at the beginning of the school year.

Beginning September 16th, and for the duration of one month, the owner will launch a large marketing campaign entitled "Marche a Suivre" (a play-on-words, literally meaning "the procedure to follow," but also employing the verb "to walk"). The initiative will encourage Bordelais to walk small distances downtown, rather than waiting for jam-packed tram cars.

Walking in Bordeaux, France

The goal of their endeavor: to relieve the usage of public transportation between the Hotel de Ville, Meriadeck, and Gambetta stations. These stations form a triangle where two tram lines (A and B) cross. The lines also happen to be particularly overcrowded during rush hour. The marketing campaign wants to show travelers that walking is a viable alternative for reaching corresponding transportation.

New signage will be put in place and announcements made over the tram loudspeakers throughout the experiment in order to help guide those public transportation users who choose to walk rather than take the tramway.

This initiative, unique in France, was organized by the Forum des Vies Mobiles [Forum for Mobile Lives], an association created by the SNCF (Keolis is an affiliate of the SNCF) that conducts studies around the topic of mobility.

Two researchers, Stéphane Malek and Lucas Delafosse, worked in partnership with l'A'urba, an urban planning agency of the CUB, in order to create this experiment that also aims towards better integration of walking into the heart of daily travels.

During the same period of time, another experiment will be put in place in Eysines. Entitled "A pebble in your shoe," the initiative will encourage people to combine walking with the use of bus lines in their daily lives. Several activities will also begin during the week of September 16, European Mobility Week, to invite residents to leave their cars in the garage.

All in all, Keolis, with its original operation, could gain new subscribers. Do you think that temporary initiatives like these have the ability to change how people move around the city in the long run? Has your city enacted any similar measures?  

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.