Decentralization and Organization of Public Transport in France

Decentralization and Organization of Public Transport in France


T Gouin, CERTU, FR



Since the decentralization laws designed in the early 80s (LOTI, 1982), the organization of public transport in France is divided between the different institutional authorities which are the state, the regions, the departments and cities. Some recent and important laws (LAURE, 1996 - VOYNET, 1999 - SRU, 2000) have stressed even more the partition or specifications of the responsibilities of all the stakeholders involved in public transport.

Separating responsibilities clarifies stakeholders? role but may create some new problems. Transport systems are actually more and more complex and their organization often needs to go beyond the frontiers of the institutional territories, by setting up cooperations between public transport authorities. Moreover the institutional French framework which has resulted from decentralization is not yet stabilized. The CHEVENEMENT law (1999), for example, has changed the forms of cooperation between cities. More essentially, some new laws of decentralization are now being prepared and they could change the division of responsibilities between the different organizing authorities.

For all those reasons, the Certu has been interested for a long time in the institutional organization of public transport and all its consequences (legal, technical, financial) in France and in Europe.

This paper is based on some of the documents published by the Certu about those topics. It summarizes the present situation of the organization of public transport in France (how does it work ?) before the next reform of decentralization (how could it work ?).


Association for European Transport