Urban Gondolas in Ile-de-France: Forecasting Traffic on a New Mode

Urban Gondolas in Ile-de-France: Forecasting Traffic on a New Mode


Anne-Eole Meret-Conti, STIF, Marco Kouwenhoven, Significance, Eric Kroes, Significance


This paper presents the methodology used for forecasting traffic on urban gondolas in the Ile-de-France region, based on a qualitative and a stated-preferences survey comparing mode characteristics of gondolas and existing public transport modes.


Limeil-Brévannes, Valenton and Villeneuve Saint-Georges are three cities located on a plateau 15 km south of Paris. Due to this topography, they are only served by bus lines linking them to RER lines A and D and to metro line 8. In 2011, metro line 8 was extended to a new terminal station very near Limeil. However, a motorway, many railway tracks and a high tension line prevent direct access from the plateau to the new station. As a result, busses have to make a considerable detour.
To cross these barriers a project of urban gondolas has been imagined by local authorities. A study conducted by STIF, the public transport authority in the Ile-de-France region, compared this solution to the construction of a new bridge for buses. Considering the costs, the feasibility and the patronage of both projects, the urban gondolas solution was chosen.
There are no existing urban gondolas in France at the time. Hence, it is difficult to forecast the patronage of such a project. Therefore, STIF commissioned Significance to conduct a study to better understand traveller’s perception of this new mode both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view.
The first phase of the study gathered 20 open-ended interviews of persons with various profiles, some of them living in the Limeil area. The interviewees were asked about their understanding of the mode and of the project. The results were used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of gondolas in an urban context.
In the second phase, an online questionnaire was designed in order to give an evaluation of the perception of gondolas in the population, among the population directly concerned by the project but also for inhabitants of similar areas elsewhere. The questionnaire included qualitative questions about the advantages and disadvantages of gondolas, attitudinal questions about perceptions towards public transport in general and stated preference experiments. These experiments allowed measuring the perception of gondolas in the public transport system – in competition with other modes or as part of a chain of modes. Participants were recruited in Limeil area, in other rareas were urban gondola projects could emerge and from an Internet panel with people living in the denser part of the Ile-de-France region.
The last phase of the study will enable traffic forecasting. Results from the stated-preferences survey will provide boarding penalties, in-vehicle time multipliers and transfer penalties for urban gondolas in comparison with other existing modes. These parameters will be included in STIF’s forecasting model, ANTONIN 3.
The paper will present the methodology of the study, show how the methodology was adapted due to issues encountered during the study – and explain how, beyond providing parameters for traffic forecasting, the survey supported decision making.


Association for European Transport