Contracting to Coordinate Urban Planning and Public Transport? Perspectives on Four French ‘contrats d’axes’ Experiments

Issue: The Role of Transit—Land-Use Planning Coordination Instruments in Urban Policy Making


This paper analyses the technical and political uses of a new tool developed by French local authorities to coordinate land-use planning and transport : the contrat d’axe. It considers the contrats d’axe as instruments and indicators of change in local visions and in coordination practices in transportation and urban planning projects. Based on a detailed study of four cases of contrats d’axe in the rail domain, the paper examines the diverse uses of this tool, the technical and political issues related to its implementation, and its effects on the visions, practices and content of local urban and transport projects. The study shows that, despite their limits, the contrats d’axe allow stakeholders to bypass sectoral and territorial boundaries and contribute to an incremental change in practices linking rail transport and urban development.
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