Award-winning project Urban Transport Plan for the Ile-de-France Region

Paris - Ile de France, France

The Plan aims to find a better balance between transportation and environmental issues in the metropolitan region of Paris Ile-de-France

Drafting a Transport Plan is a legal duty for the Ile-de-France Region. Public participation and consultation of concerned political institutions and authorities during a six-year preparation period were organized. It results in a strategy aiming at conciliating parties’interests and developing a common vision for transportation organisation. Through the transversal character of its objectives and instruments, the plan represents a good example of Integrated Urban Governance at the metropolitan level. Its goal is to overcome implementation weaknesses of a former plan and to take into account development trends until 2020. Its prescriptions have a binding character for urban planning at a local scale.

The main challenge of the plan is to tackle potential and existing conflict interests in the “use” of the city, between different modes of transportation, transportation reasons (work, leisure activities, merchandise transportation…), and to limit negative externalities due to transportation (air and noise pollution). The plan’s goal is to achieve an optimal distribution between each method of transportation, reduce the number of cars, and encourage public and green transportation methods (bus, cycle, walk…). The two main instruments that the plan foresees are regulation and spatial planning.

Award-winning project

This project was awarded the 'Sustainable Transport Award' in 2008. Learn more about the award.


City information
Paris - Ile de France

Size and population development
2011: 10,620,000; 1990: 9,330,000; 2025: 12,163,000; 2010-2015: +1,07%/year

Population composition
one quarter of the population not born in France

Main functions
economic, political and cultural centre in France.

Main industries / business
tourism, culture, fashion; industrial diversity.

Political structure
Paris administration: Mayor and City Council; regional assembly for the Ile de France.

Administrative structure
20 arrondissements in the inner-city (Paris)

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Background and objectives

Paris is the capital of France and has a population of around 2.2 million inhabitants. The Ile-de-France Region (including Paris) is a metropolitan area counting near 12 million inhabitants and represents an economic and cultural centre of national and international importance. In fact, the region contributes to almost one third of France gross domestic product. People living in the region account for 41 million people travelling daily. This is due to a high share of commuting between towns, economic interdependencies, and existing territorial discrepancies between working and living areas inside the region. In addition, 360 million tons of goods are carried from or to Paris each year. This concentration of activities and persons on an area of around 12.000 km²leads to competition for space occupation and poses significant challenges on the side of transport’s offer and regulation.

Since 1996 Urban Transport Plans are mandatory in France for urban areas of more than 100,000 inhabitants. The first one for the Ile-de-France entered into force in 2000 and was evaluated in 2006. Based on final assessments concerning the first plan, Paris-Ile de France started in 2008 the review process for the development of a second plan. The Urban Transport Plan intends to take into accounts different interests and needs and to guarantee on the long run the coherence and sustainability of regional development. Paris and its region are considered as a territorial unit, so that the transportation system should link each point of the territory to one another and allow the fluidity of exchanges.

The plan forecasts an upward trend in travels up to 2020 (+7%), which is linked with population growth in the Region. Main objectives of the plan concern a transportation modal report and are detailed as follow:

  • Increase of 20% travels in public transportation ;
  • Increase of 10% travels in active transportation (walk and cycle) ;
  • Decrease of 2 % the use of car and both wheels for travel

Multimodal transport, encouraging the development of various transportation modes and their combination, is a key element of this strategy. For that, the plan identifies 7 guidelines, further detailed into concrete measures and actions:

  • Adapting spatial planning in order to favour the development of softer transport modes (public transport, cycling and walk). Making the city more compact and more “intense” through land-use and planning Policy.
  • Acting on the attractiveness of public transportation by increasing their offer by 25% until 2020 and improving service quality.
  • Giving priority to walking (39% of current transports) for purposes other than leisure.
  • Encouraging cycle use through appropriate spatial planning.
  • Acting on using conditions of car: both trying to limit it and to decrease the negative effects through better ride share, cycle, and walking encouragement.
  • Improving the accessibility of transport modes for all.
  • Diversification of transportation modes for goods (90% of goods are transported on roads).
  • Improving the governance system of transportation to bring in participative stakeholders as actors.
  • Giving better access to information to the population in order to make people aware of the consequences of their choices in terms of transport.

The evaluation of the first plan (implemented from 2000 to 2006) revealed mixed performance in the Parisian transportation policy. Actions from the plan have been implemented but no direct effect derived from it. In the end the former plan allowed the emergence of a sense of need for the organization of transportation in the Ile-de-France Region but was not operational enough.

The new plan for the period 2014-2020 was developed in two main terms as follows:

  • From 2008 until June 2009: diagnostic definition of challenges and first strategic direction
  • From September 2009 until the end of 2010: objectives accuracy and action’s definition.

The plan was presented to concerned parties in its first version in the beginning of 2011. It has been revised during the same year to include the “Grand Paris Express” project, which is a national plan aiming at modernizing and extending existing network and creating new automatic metro lines in the capital.

The development of the strategy itself intends to take into account all issues linked with transportation (economic development, environmental issues…). At each stage of its development the plan was the object of an “environmental strategic evaluation” which derives from a European directive. It aims at anticipating positive and negative environmental effects of potential actions, in order to maximize or minimize them.

The responsible institution for the plan’s development was the Ile-de-France Region. The process was coordinated by the STIF, the public authority responsible for transport development in Ile-de-France. Consultation of local institutional authorities was organized by: communes, public bodies for inter-municipal cooperation, and departments. Then, the environmental authority presented its opinion on the plan’s draft. A public enquiry was organized. Finally, the French State gave its opinion on the plan. The fact that the region was identified as the leading institution allowed a better understanding between supra- and intra-national interests. Moreover, the inclusion of others institutions in the draft process was organized in a bottom-up approach with the smaller entities first enquired (the communes) and the state only on the latest stage, so that the plan could develop from the beginning a precise approach of challenges on the local level. 

Financing and resources

The implementation of the plan has three main financing sources, all based on an agreement between involved authorities:

  • State-region project contract for the period 2007-2013 (re-conductible): 3 million Euros.Financing of heavy infrastructure development such as extending metro lines. The financing key is shared as follow: 30% for the state and 70% for the region.
  • Departments-region contracts: 1 million Euro. Financing of transport projects at the departments scale (half by the region and the other half by the departments and the city of Paris).
  • A resource mobilization plan for the period 2007-2020: around 19 million Euros. Financing of actions aiming at improving service quality (renewal of public infrastructure, reserved public transport lanes…)
Results and impacts

French territorial and institutional organization is characterised by a high degree of complexity; the plan is conceived as an instrument helping to define a common transportation policy and link it with spatial planning. The document complies with former planning documents elaborated at the regional level (spatial and environmental planning) and constrains future local planning documents within its spatial area to be compatible with its recommendations. Insofar, the plan tends to harmonize planning policies at all spatial and institutional levels and to reinforce common planning aims and principles.

The elaboration phase of the plan registered a high rate of mobilization on the side of the responsible authorities (about 300 communal notices were received). It reveals the interest for the plan and the wish to have influence on it. It is not yet possible to conclude on the future implementation grade of the plan, but the participation element can be seen as a potential success factor for its development and effective appropriation by authorities.


Barriers and challenges

The two main difficulties identified are the existence of diverging interests between actors and the operationalization of the plan.

Potential conflicts in transportation policy are numerous because the interest of each actor (private/public; individual/collective) is not always the same as the public interest. Through participation procedures each party could express its own interest and vision for transportation organization. In the end, the plenary assembly of Ile-de-France, which is the competent legal institution for transportation organization, voted for the plan’s final version and thus could adopt a document conciliating interests.

The evaluation of the former plan revealed its lack of operational character. The new plan is oriented toward concrete and realizable actions. To that purpose, each action is linked with estimated realization cost, a supervising actor and potential financing of the action.

Steering committees have been foreseen in order to follow, evaluate and if necessary reorient priorities and actions of the plan. Purpose of this evaluation in real time is to guarantee the effective implementation of the plan and its coherence with current challenges in a changing environment.

Moreover, in order to help communes and other territorial entities with poor intern resources, complementary documents, such as a giv for the transcription of PDU’s transcription in planning documents has been written.

Lessons learned and transferability

The way the plan was elaborated prepared the ground for its future successful implementation. It occurs over a long period of time (6-years-term), which enabled the organization to enact a broad participation process. In other words, it resulted in actor’s mobilization which made them aware of handling needs for transportation organization. It also tended to make actors responsible by showing that transport is for most a matter of individual choices. It also allowed time to assess results of the former plan and to develop a coherent strategy taking into account changes in policy, such as the Grand Paris Express. This became a global strategy which favours transversal approaches.

Transport in the Ile-de-France Region has the advantage of being organized by a dedicated public authority (the Stif) which could coordinate the procedure and had intern resources and competences dedicated to it. Steering committees are yearly meetings of parties involved in the elaboration of the plan. They will give the opportunity to assess on-going results and to adapt if necessary the plan while being implemented. The plan is only relevant for the Ile-de-France Region but others cities in France (if they have more than 100,000 inhabitants) have to develop the same kind of plan. Nonetheless it seems that few intercity knowledge exchanges are actually taking place.

External links / documents