The Greater Geneva (Grand Genève) is a vast territory of 2,000 sq Km including the Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud, and the French departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie. Composed of the Canton of Geneva, the District of Nyon and the Pôle métropolitain du Genevois français (French part of Greater Geneva), the territory includes 212 municipalities in total, with Geneva being the main city and the heart of the agglomeration. Greater Geneva will have a considerable demographic increase of 500,000 people expected for 2050.
The greater Geneva project proposes a scenario for the ecological transition and evolution of urban territories for the Franco-Valdo-Geneva agglomeration by 2050, based on three main pillars of sustainable development, namely the environment, the social and the economy.
The Canton of Geneva is a global city, the second most populous in Switzerland and one of the most important financial centers in the world (ranked 15th in the world and 5th in Europe in 2017) with offices and headquarters of international organizations such as UN and Red Cross. There are 34 international organizations, 250 NGOs, headquarters of 130 multinationals, not to mention many highly export-oriented companies located in canton of Geneva. With more than a million inhabitants and over 450,000 jobs, Greater Geneva is one of the most dynamic regions in Europe.
Cross-border commute is notable, with high demand in Greater Geneva, mainly from France, predominantly for work purposes. The dynamic labor market of the city / region of Geneva attracts French employees, and, in addition to French commuters, a lot of international officials which are not considered in statistics. Moreover, a considerable number of Swiss citizens who work in Geneva choose to live in France. Hence, the number of cross border commuters using the existing infrastructure is higher than statistics and expected to increase in the future.
Current Mobility Infrastructure
Currently the transport infrastructure of the Greater Geneva includes:
• The Geneva International Airport (Aéroport international de Genève) that is the second largest in Switzerland with catchment of 150 Km and around six million people.
• LEMAN Express (Franco-Valdo-Geneva regional express railway network) of 230 km of track linking France and Switzerland with 45 stops in Grand Geneva and beyond, six lines to and from Coppet, Bellegarde, Evian-les-Bains, Annecy and St-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet, and 40 trains running under the Léman Express brand. The LEMAN Express is inaugurated in 2019 and has interchanges with soft mobility networks and public transport.
• The A1 motorway of Switzerland (called Autobahnen in German, autoroutes in French, autostrade in Italian), which is one of the main two and spans 383 km, is the main east-west axis connection from St. Margrethen in north-eastern Switzerland’s canton of St. Gallen through to Geneva in the southwestern part of the country.
The modal share of Greater Geneva in 2014 is 48.9% Private Transport, 38.6% Soft Mobility and 12.6% Public Transport. Although the current inauguration of LEMAN network will increase the use of public transport across the Greater Geneva, the integration of soft mobility and MaaS with public transport and unifying the payments system are other efficient and effective strategies to decrease the use of private cars.
Today’s Challenges of Mobility Sector
Transport sector is a major contributor to climate change by being accountable for 14% of annual GHG emissions and extremely dependent on fossil fuels by being responsible for about two-thirds of global oil consumption.
Based on current transport modal share and travel behavior in Greater Geneva, it is estimated that the urban and extra-urban transport sector will be responsible for producing 1,309,897 tons of CO2 per year. If the transport network remains the same and considering, the population increase of 350,000 people by 2040, the sector emissions will increase to 1,752,660 tons per year.
Transitioning to a zero-emission transport is a crucial step towards a sustainable future and electrification is an important part of the solution to the challenge of growing transportation sector’s emissions, although the emissions from electricity generation and transmission should also be taken into account to decide whether electrification makes sense in a given location.
The main challenge for proposing a new mobility strategy for Greater Geneva is ensuring sustainable and reliable transport solution between all the current and planned urban areas, improve accessibility from and to the city of Geneva, and within each of the urban areas.
The main mobility vision is to make Greater Geneva the first and largest Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) of the world, where only electric and green vehicles are allowed. The current radial transport infrastructure will be turned into an orbital seamless network of rail and road connecting the current and planned urban polarities of Greater Geneva. In order to minimize the intervention costs and pollutions, the proposal uses the existing infrastructure where possible. The proposed Mobility Loop is an eco-system, which is zero emission, electrified, smart and connected.
In addition to the orbital railway network, a seamless electric and smart ring road, dedicated for e-vehicles only, will connect all new urban centralities through highways, and primary and secondary roads. The mobility proposal includes updating the current road infrastructure to a new electric road that works as a wireless charging station to transfer electricity from lane to vehicle batteries. Charging pads that are built into the road are using the electricity from the energy distributer of Future Circular Collider (FCC), a developing design for a higher performance particle collider hosted by CERN and passing underneath Greater Geneva area, and other sustainable sources. Furthermore, e-vehicle charging stations will be available at strategic locations within the loop.
Furthermore, the entire loop will become smart and connected. Smart roads are digital networks connecting drivers to the internet, supporting driverless vehicle and providing true connectivity between smart cars and smart cities. The sensors in the roads will detect vehicular traffic and communicate valuable data to emergency services, other vehicles and traffic control centers.
As part of the proposal, the entire fleet of public transport is electrified and interchange hubs are provisioned to facilitate the change to electric public transit, shared and on demand mobility solutions, and active modes of transport. The circular and direct connection between urban centralities reduces the travel time and number of changes between modes, encouraging the shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. The last mile connection solutions are provided at e-mobility hubs for on demand and active modes of transport including personal e-vehicles, e-bike, bikes, e-scooters and similar.
Ultimately, implementing the mentioned mobility proposal for Greater Geneva, including defining a ZEZ, electrifying the fleet and encouraging a shift towards alternative and sustainable modes of transport can reduce the CO2 emissions to zero.