Meet the users of the Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

We are heading to Le Cotentin, Normandy and its urban area to meet the (young) users of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport network, inaugurated last summer 2019.

First step at the “College” stop which is located opposite the Denis Diderot high school in Tourlaville, a town located in the urban area of Cherbourg. We meet Antoine, 12, who is patiently waiting to go to class. He confesses:

I don’t use the service because I already live next to the high school and I like to walk or use my scooter to get there. Nevertheless, several people of my class take the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport every time we finish classes. I see them get on board. They mainly use it to go home after school but not every day. Before using it, most of them came by car with their parents.

If I had to use it myself, it would be mostly to go to town. The big advantage I see is that the van can come at times the bus might not be there. It’s more convenient and faster.

Four of Antoine’s comrades arrive precisely at the moment we are talking. When they get off the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport, we question them successively. For Mathis, 12 years old, who lives in Le Becquet, he heard about the service at the beginning of the school year.

Of course I’m not the only one around to use it. I book the van directly from my smartphone every week, several days in advance. It’s been between 1 and 2 months that I use it mainly to go to high school, which avoids me to go by bike or by foot. It takes between 10 and 30 minutes to get there. It’s complicated when it’s cold and rainy. In addition, in winter it’s dark very early and the street is not enlightened where I live.

Mickael, same age, same grade, adds:

It’s a very convenient service because buses come here only every two hours. I use it with a friend who books for me. As we live in the same place, he books on my behalf and I take the van with him.

For Fanny, who uses the service every day to go to high school, it’s her elder sister who books for her via her smartphone.

I like the service because it goes fast.

Paulo, doesn’t have a smartphone (yet) but his mother books his trips every Wednesday and Thursday through the app.

What is great is that you can book at any time. Sometimes we have a teacher who is absent or we have free time slot in our timetable. When the service did not exist, I stayed at school or I took line 8 but it does not come all the time.

Many high school students use the service, we ask Véronique, a driver of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport if she meets other types of public.

It’s  true that I carry mostly middle school and high school students. Sometimes I carry 5-6 of them from the same class! There are some adults too, especially during the holidays. After that, since we are in the countryside, there are older people. For them, the service is not optimal because they have to get off at the stops where classic buses come to go to the city center. The minibus itself is not really suitable for the elderly, the door is difficult to close but it seems that it will evolve!

Demand-Responsive Transport: Le Cotentin

It is a service suitable for children and teens who don’t live in the city center. Here we also have sport complexes that offers a lot of activities in the afternoon. There are children we’re picking up out of class, we bring them home and then, an hour later, we bring them back to their sports activities. For the parents, it is very practical because they don’t have to go back and forth in the middle of the day anymore. We are 3 to run the service 3x24h per week, from Monday to Saturday, except on Sundays and public holidays so we relieve the parents a lot during the week.


About La Saire TAD DRT service

Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport  service aims to ease the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities, especially those located on the eastern part of the territory. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.

Read more (in French)

Meet other users of Dynamic Demand-Responsive Transport



To respect their anonymity, the first names of the interviewees have been modified.


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Interview with Arnaud Catherine, Le Cotentin Urban Community

Demand-Responsive Transport: Interview

Interview of Arnaud Catherine, councilor of the Urban Community of Le Cotentin about the implementation of the La Saire TAD Demand-Responsive Transport.

In which context was born the project of La Saire TAD?

Originally there was only Cherbourg-en-Cotentin which had a public urban transport network: 6 to 8 regular lines, coupled with some Demand-Responsive Transport (DRT) services for people with reduced mobility called Itineo Access. It was a Demand-Responsive Transport service in the very classic sense of the word. It did not use tools based on artificial intelligence. Reservations were made in advance by phone and drivers’ shifts was managed by a dedicated staff.

We structured ourselves to put in place a real travel plan for the whole Cotentin territory. We did a lot of analytical work on some projects such as the BRT, which alone might not be up to our new ambition. Finally, we experimented three new mobility solutions:

  • Long-term-lease power-assisted electric bicycle, which was a great success and showed a real desire to move differently.
  • Electric, thematic, touristic and free shuttle that we used to experience gratuity.
  • Smart and dynamic Demand-Responsive transport in rural areas with Padam Mobility.
How Demand-Responsive Transport adapt to your mobility challenges?

The low density of our territories prohibits us from offering traditional bus transportation. It would allow at best a dozen people to move during the day. Inspired by the example of the Orleans Metropolis, the Padam Mobility Demand-Responsive Transport solution seemed to us the most adapted to our territory: an urban area of ​​80,000 inhabitants surrounded by peri-urban or rural territories of about 100,000 inhabitants.

Padam Mobility has been a revelation. You have opened our minds to the fact that we cannot put conventional transit lines everywhere, especially when the territories are not dense and the rolling stock is not suitable.

What are the feedbacks?

Once the service launched at La Saire, the success was almost instantaneous. We faced a colossal expectation of the inhabitants to have a flexible transport service that is adapted to their uses. We soon realized that we were not ambitious enough in the delimitation of the mobility pool benefiting from the service.

Why did you begin with La Saire?

This territory has 3 municipalities that touch Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, and therefore touch the conventional network on which we wanted to interface the Demand-Responsive Transport with. It was a way for us to analyze the relevance of our service design. We wanted to know if the users would come to connect to the conventional network.

What are the future developments?

We intend to make the service 100% accessible to People with Reduced Mobility (PRM) throughout the urban area. Regarding the motorization, an ongoing study will lead us to make choices. To give up gas, it will be necessary to arbitrate between electric and biogas motorization. Today we have experimented on a mobility pool that is far too small. Ultimately, all mobility pools must be covered and connected to the structuring network.

We expect to ramp up gradually. There is a huge expectation from our citizens.

Why did you choose to work with Padam Mobility?

We know that we have an essentially urban, diurnal and schoolchildren-centric public transportation network. Being able to move at night, to go to a show requires to propose a global offer.

Padam Mobility is really the brick that was missing in our global transport offer. We had in mind the structuring lines and services we had connected to them (electric bikes, school buses). For the rest we had nothing. DRT with Padam Mobility makes it possible to complement the existing offer and to propose an integrated and global offer, to eventually cover all the needs of the inhabitants. That’s the point.

Padam Mobility would come to finish to mesh completely our territory which is rather rural by offering a transportation service for all. Whether you live in Taillepied, 26 inhabitants, or in Cherbourg-in-Cotentin, 82,000 inhabitants, with Padam Mobility, everybody could benefit from a mobility offer. It’s revolutionary for a territory like ours.


Arnaud Catherine, delegate councilor for urban transportation of the Cotentin Urban Community and 4th deputy of Cherbourg-en-Cotentin in charge of energy and energy transition.

About La Saire TAD, the Cotentin’s Demand-Responsive Transport Service

Launched in July 2019 in partnership with Zephirbus (Keolis group), La Saire TAD DRT service aims to facilitate the access to the heart of the city of Cherbourg from the peripheral municipalities. Its +900 trips per month score an average of 4.9 / 5.

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Interview with Thierry Occelli, Sophia Antipolis Urban Community

Demand-Responsive Transport: Thierry Occelli

Interview of Thierry Occelli , VP of the Sophia Antipolis Community (CASA) about the implementation of the Icilà Demand-Responsive Transport.

How is the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community (CASA) specifically adapted to the challenges of shared mobility?

CASA is constantly facing new demands and needs, due to the development of the Sophia Antipolis technopolis. CASA is improving its mobility services and is constantly thinking about how to optimize its solutions, mainly in the area of DRT: to expand the resources allocated to the offer, to span new territories, improve booking processes and its reliability, ensure good customer feedback….

Does CASA already have a DRT solution? For which use cases?

Yes. There is already some very successful DRT solutions in 10 areas under the IciLà brand.

  • For school children, the DRT allows trips beyond the traditional hours of school (8am, 5pm). 128,000 journeys have been recorded since it was commissioned a year ago. These trips are carried out on the 24 districts of the agglomeration.
  • For mobility impaired people, we provide a more individualized offer because it allows sidewalk to sidewalk trips.
  • CASA is often asked to deploy this service in the evening, especially during major one-off events (shows, theatres, etc.).
Why did you choose to launch a new service with Padam Mobility?

The main problem faced by the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community regarding to its DRT is the booking. Our call center is often saturated at the beginning of the week, despite the recent introduction of an online pre-booking plant.

Since the main users of CASA’s DRT are high school teenagers, Padam Mobility will make the bookings easier to those who are more comfortable with smartphones.

The agglomeration tend to digitize and dematerialize all the process, especially the transport tickets. We also rely on Padam Mobility to achieve this goal. Finally, the DRT was certified ISO9001 in March 2019 and meets CASA’s ongoing improvement objectives.

What are the locals expectations of DRT?

To be able to book by themselves, online, and easely.

What about your expectations?

The Sophia Antipolis Urban Community expects a lot from this experimentation with Padam Mobility, involving 12 vehicles on 2 areas. Despite the particularity of our offer (zoning, single operator from the first of July), we desire to collect as much quantitative informations as possible (statistics, survey informations, datas, kms travelled, grouping rate, number of people transported, etc.) and qualitative feedbacks (trips evaluations, etc.) because we don’t have them for the moment.

The point is to gain enough detailed datas for the implementation and KPI’s that evaluate if the DRT solutions are improvable.

Padam Mobility provides extremely detailed statistical reports and will be able to meet these expectations. The introduction of a banner in the application, pointing to a satisfaction survey, allows to have very qualitative feedback.

We advocate the responsiveness of our solutions. Like CASA’s dynamic carpooling approach, we want dynamic DRT.

What other innovations are you preparing for shared mobility?

CASA is constantly considering new mobility solutions and has recently embarked on an experimentation of autonomous vehicles on public roads. An experiment on a dedicated track has already taken place in 2016, and now we would like to experiment it in general traffic conditions and on a specific area of Sophia Antipolis (last mile management and intermodality with the future Bustram line).

Padam Mobility works with autonomous vehicle players to offer on demand autonomous vehicles.

Regarding soft mobility, CASA has launched its own bike plan with electric bicycles, opened bike paths with the possibility to use forest tracks, enhanced home-to-work trips, improved traffic black spots, created a bike house in Sophia Antipolis with 10 and soon 20 bikes available, free of charge to users, to promote electric bicycles… Finally, the Sophia Antipolis cycling community was created and already has 500 members.

Thierry Occelli, vice president of the Sophia Antipolis Urban Community.


About Icilà, the Demand-Responsive Transport service of Sophia Antipolis

Launched in July 2019 with Envibus, icilà is a DRT service which meets a great success. With +6600 trips per month for around 37000, the service answers mobility needs in low-density areas of the Sophia Antipolis urban community and at the same time contributes to its digital transformation.

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