Analyses of the Reasons of the (non-)emergence of Aerial Cable Transport in Urban Areas in France

Analyses of the Reasons of the (non-)emergence of Aerial Cable Transport in Urban Areas in France




The article provides an overview of the development of aerial cable transport for urban areas in France with a description of projects, social and technical barriers and elements of regulations that might hinder the implementation of this system.


In 2009, the French government enshrined cableways for urban areas in law as being beneficial and declared it as a system which should be promoted in French towns. In 2013, a review of projects in France brought to light a certain enthusiasm for this transport system, but the lack of experiments in the country does not encourage the development of aerial cable system, which remains confined to mountains areas and generally to leisure activities.
Its atypical nature still divides opinion regarding the relevance of such a system in towns in France. Awareness and recognition by the French population has not yet to been obtained.

After editing the first national report on aerial cable system in urban areas in 2012, the next step for CEREMA is to analyse the development possibilities of aerial cable as a means of public transport in towns.

New studies have been launched, including the analysis of obstacles to the development of cable transport in France in 2013.

This study aims to help local authorities to understand how to implement such a system, with knowledge of the issues and impacts and action to be taken for better acceptance of these systems.

This study was based on:
literature (press articles, regulations, publications, etc.) ;
media and conferences;
a series of interviews with local people considering installing cable transport in their town and with state officials responsible for regulation on the subject. Interviews with urban project managers in Brest, Toulouse, La Réunion, Grenoble and Val de Marne have helped complement and reinforce the issues identified, and raise other important issues and avenues of reflection for cable transport project leaders in urban areas.

Methodologically, the arguments raised by the various stakeholders in relation to ongoing projects were analysed and examined in an interview with the national agency STRMTG, responsible for the safety and regulation of ski lifts.

The purpose of this research is to examine in detail any barriers to these projects. Thinking has also been carried out to identify what methods and studies can be used to address these pitfalls.

Different types of barrier have been identified: these may be regulatory, social, psychological, etc.

Among these difficulties are, for example, those to do with requirements concerning the rules for urban integration.
For the absence of this mode of urban transport in France has induced a mismatch between regulations and the actual conditions in which the service is implemented and operates.
The Urban Planning Code, safety standards, different regulatory controls of the system, specifically urban operation, special maintenance, etc., were all drawn up in the context of temporary operation in mountainous areas. Many aspects of them now need to be adapted to the urban context. The study has produced a detailed analysis of this issue.

Acceptability and social barriers have also been widely discussed.

For the conference, we propose to provide an overview of the current development of this type of transport in France and a description of current French projects set within their context. The bulk of the presentation will then be based on understanding the social and technical barriers and the contextual elements of regulations that might hinder the implementation of aerial cable transport in towns. Some of these comments should be useful for other european countries, which like to develop such systems in towns.


Association for European Transport