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Grenoble Becomes a ‘Smart City’ in October; Launching 100% Electric Car-Sharing Program Connected to Public Transport

June 30, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV Mass Transit, EV News, Toyota

  • Urban transport of the future will become a reality in October in the French city of Grenoble thanks to a partnership between the City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, EDF Group, Toyota and Citélib
  • 70 Toyota “i-ROAD” and “COMS” ultra-compact electric vehicles will be available in a car-sharing scheme, promoting interconnectivity between public and private electrified personal transport
  • Vehicles can be charged at around 30 charging stations managed by Sodetrel (EDF Group) and located close to public transport stops
  • Called “Citélib by Ha:Mo”, this innovative service is ready for pre-registration by Grenoble commuters on www.citelib.com and will be operational for a three-year real-life test
Toyota i-ROAD with Citélib by Ha:mo logo Image courtesy of Toyota

Toyota i-ROAD with Citélib by Ha:mo logo
Image courtesy of Toyota

In October 2014, 70 Toyota i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles, and around 30 charging stations developed and managed by EDF’s subsidiary Sodetrel, will be open for service for a period of three years thanks to a unique partnership between the City and the Metropolitan Area of Grenoble, French energy company EDF, Japanese car maker Toyota and Citélib, a local car-sharing operator.

Connected to the public transport system’s IT infrastructure, this new car-sharing scheme will complement Citélib, the current car-sharing service of Grenoble, by allowing users to pick up one of the small EVs at one location and drop it off at another. The project also aims to promote interconnectivity of public transport methods (trams, buses, trains) and a new type of personal mobility using small vehicles that don’t take up as much space as a normal car. The main idea is to allow commuters to drive the first or last kilometres of their journey for increased flexibility and time-saving, thus contributing to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in city centres.

Citélib by Ha:mo responds to today’s challenges… and saves you time

Recent social trends and consumer behaviours make it clear that sustainable mobility is here to stay. The only question is how fast this market will develop.

Surveys show that the average daily commute in Europe takes between 40 and 50 minutes. Increasingly, commuters use public transport, but most of them still have to walk a good 15 minutes to reach their final destination. New IT technologies, paired with innovative mobility solutions, are starting to allow the introduction of more flexibility to urban mobility, and will undoubtedly make up the cornerstone of future smart cities.

Just imagine: it’s Monday morning. You leave your apartment on the outskirts of Grenoble at 7:25 to go to work. Half asleep, you take the tram to the city centre―a 20-minute ride. You get off, and wait for the connecting bus for five minutes. Ten minutes later, the bus drops you off five minutes from your office.  It’s 08:05. You’re late, again, for the 8:00 meeting and haven’t even had time for a coffee. Sometimes, for more flexibility, you take your car. You drive to the city but this means you must leave even earlier, at 7:15 – and that’s not a guarantee you’ll arrive on time, with traffic and the time it takes to find a parking spot. Sound familiar?

With Citélib by Ha:mo, say goodbye to stress and delays. During your tram ride, you whip out your smartphone. With an app, you can visualise the available i-ROADs at your usual stop. In a few clicks, you reserve and pay. Another app can also allow you to see the status of traffic and public transport before you leave, so you can plan the best route that day.

Once you get off the tram, all you have to do is flash your phone onto the charging station to release your i-ROAD. In six minutes, you ride to the charging station near your office, two minutes away. It’s 7:53 – plenty of time for a coffee before the 8:00 meeting. You just saved 30% of your commute time. Going somewhere else that morning? No problem. There are around 30 stations in Grenoble, a network tight enough to get you as close as possible to your destination.

Graphic courtesy of Toyota

Graphic courtesy of Toyota

A unique partnership with a common vision of tomorrow’s urban mobility

By bringing together their respective competencies, the project partners are offering Grenoble an innovative service which will allow a real-life, thorough evaluation of the potential of this new form of mobility. “The Grenoble-Alpes Métropole community has always been open to innovation,” explains Christophe Ferrari, President of the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole. “In terms of scale, it’s perfectly suited to this kind of test, and in Grenoble, we have a tradition of daring to do things. The partnership itself, between us, Toyota, EDF and Citélib, a local car-sharing operator, is in and of itself also an innovation in France,” he added. “It’s a great opportunity for our community to test, for three years and exclusively in Europe, a new mode of mobility that’s not only innovative but also economic and ecological It’s an experimentation that is bound to be followed by others for the benefit of our citizens.”

The scale of this integrated and complex project means it’s impossible to realize alone: partnerships and collaboration are key to its success – between the project partners of course, but also with the local communities.

  • EDF is bringing around 30 charging stations to the project, but also more than a half-century of experience in developing electric mobility, both through battery technology and managing charging infrastructures. EDF aims to accompany its public, corporate and private customers in transitioning towards modes of transport that are more sustainable, less noisy and CO2-emission free. “To become the city of tomorrow, Grenoble must be both attractive economically, and a nice place to live. Electric mobility offers a good measure of both, by allowing different types of transport to complement one another. It brings together traditional types of transport with innovative ones such as this type of last-mile mobility brought about with this project,” says Christian Missirian, Director of EDF Commerce Rhone-Alpes Auvergne.
  • Sodetrel, a fully-owned subsidiary of EDF, brings its considerable expertise to the project: this includes management of charging infrastructure for EVs and PHEVs, commercial management of charging services, and car-sharing service management for the public and private sectors.
  • Toyota is providing the 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles used in the project: the Toyota COMS (single-seater, 4 wheels, a small rear storage compartment) and the Toyota i-ROAD (two-seater, 3-wheel with Active Lean technology). The latter introduces a completely new and fun way to drive. Very compact, it combines the exceptional handling of a motorcycle or a scooter with the comfort and stability of a car. 4 i-ROADs occupy the footprint of a single car.
  • Toyota is also developing a data management system that will enable the visualisation and reservation of the vehicles. The system will integrate with Grenoble’s existing transport IT system to offer route planning with different modes of transport from a smartphone. Citélib by Ha:mo is Toyota’s second “Ha:mo” (short for Harmonious Mobility) project and the first outside Japan. “This concept fits within our overall future mobility vision which is based on four pillars: safety, comfort, ease of use and ecology,” commented Michel Gardel, Vice President of Toyota Motor Europe. “Ha:mo was designed to reduce the stress caused by traffic jams, peak traffic hours, and searching for a parking space. It also allows a reduction in emissions that cause poor air quality in city centres,” he added.
  • Citélib was chosen for its track record, with more than 10 years of experience in running car-sharing programs in the region. “On top of our current vehicle range, from two to nine occupants, Citélib by Ha:mo will fill an important gap for short-distance travel and allow our customers to pick up and drop off their vehicles at different locations,” explains Martin Lesage, General Director of Citélib. “We have seen 30% annual growth of car sharing in Grenoble, and our service attracts 50% private and 50% corporate customers. It supports the development of economic activity in various areas of the metropolitan area, and links university campuses and research centres,” he said.

Why Grenoble?

Toyota COMS with Citélib by Ha:mo logo Image courtesy of Toyota

Toyota COMS with Citélib by Ha:mo logo
Image courtesy of Toyota

Grenoble has long been an innovative city. Its famous “Presqu’île” science park is home to prestigious institutions and companies, such as the CEA and ST Microelectronics. Its slogan is: “Where we imagine the city of tomorrow”. Its university has more than 60,000 students on one of the most modern campuses in France. In 1987, Grenoble was the second French city after Nantes to re-introduce electric trams. In 2013, 78 million people used the local public transport network. Today, the fifth line of the tram network is beginning operation. Other ecological modes of transport have also an important place in the city’s transport system, such as 5,000 “Metrovélo” bicycles and more than 320 km of bicycle lanes.

Grenoble citizens can reserve now

Grenoble metro community citizens can already pre-register for Citélib by Ha:mo. If they register as early as this summer, they will receive time credits towards future usage of the service when it becomes operational in October.

This article is a repost, credit: Toyota. Video courtesy of Toyota.

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SFMTA Board Approves 12 Percent Increase in Muni Service

March 28, 2014 in EV Campaigns, EV Mass Transit, EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

J Church Streetcar Photo courtesy of SFMTA

J Church Streetcar
Photo courtesy of SFMTA

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that its Board of Directors unanimously approved a 12 percent increase in Muni service and route changes as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP). Through a significant community input gathering phase, the SFMTA was able to modify and improve several of the proposed network changes. Along with the forthcoming capital investments, the proposed route and service changes will allow San Francisco to recalibrate the Muni network in order to meet our existing customer demand as well as adapt to emerging travel patterns.

The TEP is expected to reduce travel times on rapid corridors by up to 20 percent, restructure the network and increase service up to 12 percent, and increase service between neighborhoods. A portion of the approved service increases, 10 percent, are being considered as part of the budget for the next two fiscal years. The projects planned for in the TEP also include pedestrian and streetscape improvements, which support the agency’s Vision Zero objectives.

Today’s vote comes after an extensive outreach process and an informational hearing for the Board of Directors on March 14. At today’s special meeting, the board approved the full set of proposals presented, many of which were revised based on public input. Some proposed route changes were removed from today’s plan either because additional outreach is needed or because the proposals are not going forward.

The details on all of the final TEP proposals are provided on the master table. The TEP Implementation Workbook provides explanations of the proposals, including most of the final changes. The TEP project page also has links to the specific routes and lists them by type of proposal (e.g. Revised or On Hold).

As part of today’s vote, the SFMTA Board approved the policies and some projects outlined in the Final Environmental Impact Report and adopted the California Environmental Quality Act Findings as certified by the San Francisco Planning Commission at their meeting yesterday. The Board did not approve all proposals that have been cleared through the environmental process, but will consider them after more detailed community outreach work is conducted.

The SFMTA has published A Community Guide to the Transit Effectiveness Project to accompany the FEIR. The Community Guide provides an understanding of the transit planning process embodied in the TEP, summarizes the conversations that have taken place, highlights the proposals that have emerged, and responds directly to comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report, published on July 10, 2013.

“The TEP will move Muni forward by making it more efficient, reliable, safe and comfortable for 700,000 daily transit boardings,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the MTA Board. “These modifications will bring citywide benefits to our transportation network by focusing on transit riders with the greatest needs, 51 percent of whom are low-income, and emphasizing connection between our neighborhoods.”

“The approved route and service changes will allow San Francisco to improve the Muni network in order to better meet our existing customer demand, as well as adapt to emerging travel patterns,” said Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “These changes have been shaped through years of public input, and they are based on an unprecedented and ongoing route-by-route analysis of Muni operations.”

One of the greatest strengths of the TEP is the quantity and quality of public input that has been received throughout the process. Since 2008, TEP proposals were developed through more than 100 community meetings throughout the city. In the latest round of public outreach from January to March 2014, the SFMTA focused on the proposed service and route changes. The multi-year public outreach effort resulted in substantial changes to the original TEP proposals. Whenever possible, SFMTA staff identified design solutions that addressed community concerns while still achieving the overall goals of the TEP. In situations where community concerns could not be resolved at the staff level, the feedback was summarized in the presentation to the SFMTA Board of Directors for their consideration as part of their overall decision process.

The SFMTA budget for Fiscal Year 2014-15 and Fiscal Year 2015-16 will consider funding for a 10 percent service increase at a total two-year cost of $44.7 million. The 10 percent service increase would be phased in over the next two years. The remaining two percent of the increases approved today will be considered in the following two-year budget cycle.

The full TEP plan for comprehensive transportation capital investments, also approved today, will require new and stable funding. To this end, a $500 million General Obligation Bond is being proposed as one of three transportation funding measures for the November ballot. If approved by voters, the General Obligation Bond will be partially leveraged to improve the speed and reliability of Muni for riders by investing in the TEP without raising the City tax rate.

About the Transit Effectiveness Project

The TEP represents the first major evaluation of San Francisco’s mass transit system in thirty years, bringing together people, process, and technology to better understand and thus better solve the issues facing Muni. During this multi-year process, the SFMTA collected data on ridership patterns and operating conditions at an unprecedented route-by-route level of detail. This data provided deep insights into who Muni’s customers are, where they come from, where they want to go, and how reliably they are getting there.

The overall objective of the TEP is to modernize Muni ─ the backbone of San Francisco’s multimodal transit network. Through services changes that better reflect today’s travel patterns and capital projects along high ridership corridors, the TEP will improve service reliability, reduce travel time on transit, and improve customer experiences and service efficiency. Citywide, the TEP is expected to reduce travel times on rapid corridors by up to 20 percent, restructure the network and increase service up to 12 percent, and increase service between neighborhoods.

This article is a repost, credit: SFMTA. Better Market Street video courtesy of City of San Francisco.

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SFMTA Encourages Baseball Fans to Go Green to Giants Games

March 26, 2014 in EV Mass Transit, EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

N Judah Electric Streetcar Ocean Beach to Ball Park

N Judah Electric Streetcar Ocean Beach to Ball Park

The 2014 Major League Baseball season opening is less than a week away and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) encourages San Francisco Giants fans to consider how to get to and from AT&T Park on game days. This week the Giants will host two pre-season games against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28, at 7:15 p.m., each night. The Giants will play 81 regular season home games this year at AT&T Park, April 8 through Sept. 28. The regular season Opening Day is Tuesday, April 8.

Alternative 0ptions for travel to AT&T Park include transit, bicycling, walking and taxis.  For those who choose to drive, metered parking is in effect around AT&T Park until 10 pm.

Transit

Muni operates the following lines to and from all home games:

  •         T Third
  •         N Judah
  •         Metro Shuttles
  •         10 Townsend (Service until 7:40 p.m., weekdays and 7:45 p.m., weekends)
  •         30 Stockton
  •         45 Union
  •         47 Van Ness

Baseball fans are encouraged to take Muni as well as other transit options such as BART, Caltrain, ferry, taxis, walk or bike to San Francisco Giants home games.  Baseball fans transferring from BART may purchase pre-paid fare (one-way or roundtrip) at the Embarcadero Station three hours prior to the start time of the game. One-way transfers can be purchased at the AT&T Park ticket windows two hours prior to the game start time and until 30 minutes after the game ends.

Additional Muni Metro “baseball shuttles” will supplement the existing N Judah and T Third service to the ballpark.

The additional service begins two hours prior to the game and continues until approximately 20 minutes after the start of the game.

The SFMTA will deploy Parking Control Officers (PCOs) to assist fans getting to and from the game. Prior to each game, these PCOs are deployed to key locations around the ballpark to facilitate people walking, transit riders and other traffic.

More details about Muni service to AT&T Park, including connections from other Bay Area transit systems, can be found at www.sfmta.com. Regional transit information for BART, Caltrain and the ferries as well as traffic is available at www.511.org.

Traffic

Weekday games often end near the afternoon commute. On these days, motorists should expect heavy traffic on freeways and streets near AT&T Park and on all approaches to the Bay Bridge. The games listed below will most likely experience heavy traffic for the evening commute.

DATE                                              GAME STARTS

Tuesday, April 8                              1:35 p.m. (Opening Day)

Thursday, April 17                           12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, May 14                       12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28                       12:35 p.m.

Thursday, June 12                          12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, June 25                      12:35 p.m.

Thursday, July 3                              12:35 p.m.

Thursday, July 10                            12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, July 30                        12:35 p.m.

Wednesday, August 13                   12:35 p.m.

Thursday, August 28                       12:35 p.m.

Thursday, September 11                 12:35 p.m.

Motorists are advised to avoid driving and using the Bay Bridge to San Francisco on game days. To see a complete schedule of Giants games please refer to the Giants season schedule.

A map showing alternate post-game routes from AT&T parking lots is available on the Giants’ website at www.sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com.

Taxi Zones

Three taxi zones serve AT&T Park on event days:

  •         3rd Street (west side) just north of King Street
  •         2nd Street (west side) between Brannan and Townsend streets (post-event only)
  •         2nd Street (west side) between Townsend and King streets (event days only—not available post-event)

Bicycles

AT&T Park is accessible by a dedicated bike lane that runs along The Embarcadero and on Townsend Street. Bicycle routes with sharrows on 2nd and 5th streets connect to the Townsend Street bicycle lane. A bicycle lane on Folsom Street and a bicycle route on Market Street connect those riding a bike to The Embarcadero.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition operates a secure bike parking facility at AT&T Park. Bicycle parking is located on the south side of the ballpark, along the Port Walk, and opens two hours before every game and closes 30 minutes after each game.

Bike sharing is also a way to get to the game and Bay Area Bike Share stations for bike share pick-up and drop-off are located near AT&T Park at the Caltrain Depot at 4th and Townsend as well as Townsend and 2nd streets. To learn more about Bay Area Bike Share and see nearby bike share stations, visit https://bayareabikeshare.com/

Meter Parking

Parking meters on blocks near the ballpark are in operation during most games. Meters within walking distance of the ballpark operate until 10pm Monday to Saturday, and noon to 6pm on Sundays, and are priced at $3, $5 or $7/hour during events, with higher rates in closer proximity to the ballpark. The parking meters near the ballpark have a four hour time limit or longer and accept credit cards and cell phone payment, in addition to coin and the SFMTA parking card. For more details, please visit www.sfpark.org.

This article is a repost, credit: SFMTA.