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Cable transportation, a solution that overcomes many planning obstacles

A more compact, low-equipment tramway

 Téléphérique de Brest

In recent years, a new movement has been observed in urban areas. In places where trams, BRTs and metro systems are struggling to overcome obstacles (rivers, motorway bridges, etc.) and significant changes in elevation – except by creating very expensive tunnels -, cable transportation is proving a resounding success. It is beneficial in terms of the scope of the transport service, is economical, and provides access to new landscapes, by offering a new dimension not only to everyday travel, but also to the urban space.

Egis’s experience in cable transportation projects gives it a strong positioning throughout the engineering chain, both in the upstream phases such as feasibility and opportunity studies, where Egis’s expertise in the decision-making process is recognised and essential, as well as in the most downstream phases including technical design studies and project implementation. The examples of the Grasse funicular railway and the Brest cable car illustrate how Egis has assisted decision makers, from the definition of their long-term transport project right through to the realisation of the project itself.


  • Acceptability: The acceptability of a cable transport project by the different parties involved (transport organisation authorities, communities, economic actors, local residents), is ultimately the key to its feasibility. Particular attention should be paid to overflight issues and regulatory matters.
  • Urban integration: While cable transport impacts the landscape, it also creates a mobile view of the city and therefore offers the possibility of enriching the perception of the city’s landscape in a way that is accessible to all. The challenge is to design a project that creates a feeling of harmony between the transport infrastructure and the urban landscape.
  • The choice of system: This is strongly influenced by the service requirements (number of stations and expected customer traffic) as well as the local context (topographic, environmental, urban, and so on).  Each system has its limitations, in terms of crossing constraints, ease of use and operation.


Since the early 2000s, Egis has participated in the definition of a network of dedicated public transport corridors in the Brest urban area. In 2011, as part of the discussions concerning the third phase of development of a dedicated PT network, Egis analysed the different ways of crossing the Penfeld. Following this study, the cable car solution was chosen. This solution will connect Brest city centre to the plateau through an infrastructure that can be used by pedestrians and soft transport modes alike. It will have limited impact on existing buildings thanks to the perfect integration of the system, particularly at stations (creation of an underground station). Since 2012, Egis has acted as agent to the project owner for the realisation of the cable car project. The designer-builder was appointed in 2014 and work began in the summer of 2015. The commissioning of what will be the first urban cable car in France is planned for autumn 2016. “It is the first cable car in France that is used in an urban context” said Nicolas Chapuis, CEO of BMF Remontées Mécaniques France – on 17/08/2016


Because Grasse city centre is separated from the train station by a considerable incline, Egis conducted a feasibility study to analyse fast and attractive travel options for linking the two. During the study, it became clear that a funicular method was the most suitable solution, because of environmental integration constraints (particularly topographic) and traffic issues. Egis currently provides project management consultancy as part of the design and construction of the Grasse funicular railway.


In January 2016, Egis was assigned to provide project management on behalf of the Orleans Metropolitan area to build a cable transportation system connecting Les Aubrais railway station to the ambitious INTERIVES office and housing area currently under development. The project 400m-long project will cross a wide SNCF railway that is in constant use, including the Paris-Toulouse line and the Paris-Tours line. The two project sites will naturally integrate into their surroundings – at ground level by the Interives Joint Development Zone (ZAC) and a few metres from the ground at Les Aubrais station. By the station, there will be a complete multi-modal transport hub: Train, tram, taxis, buses and soft modes. The design, build and maintenance contract will be launched in the first half of 2016 for commissioning in the second half of 2018. Find out more about the Orleans Cable Car – french website


In south-west Toulouse, which suffers from a lack of public transport services, a major synergy is being organised between Paul Sabatier University, Rangueil teaching hospital and Oncopôle specialist cancer centre. At the request of Grand Toulouse, Egis studied the feasibility of a funicular solution to meet the challenges of the routes required while considering the importance of the study area’s physical constraints (Pech hill, crossing the Garonne, etc.). Beyond its ability to overcome physical obstacles, a cable car also fulfils requirements in terms of capacity and accessibility in reasonable economic conditions.

And also…

Boulogne-sur-Mer cable car (France), Pays-d’Aix cable car(France), Grand Parc de Miribel-Jonage cable car (France), Bagnolet-La Noue cable car (France), La Soufrière cable car (Guadeloupe), Givors Ville -Plateau de Montrond telecabine (France), Cable car studies for Cilaos and Salazie (Réunion).