On June 17, 2016, the Public Transport Authority (SMTC) of Grenoble and the Sfax Governorate responded, with the support of CODATU, to the Franco-Tunisian call for projects of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) thus initiating a city-to-city cooperation project co-financed by the SMTC of the Grenoble agglomeration and the MEAE.
Led by CODATU, this cooperation aims to set up exchanges on technical issues related to the implementation of a sustainable urban mobility network in Sfax and Grenoble.
A Cooperation Charter was signed in July 2017 at a meeting held by the Transport Committee of Sfax, committee which has been set up with the support of CODATU and the Euromed RRU project (Road, Rail and Urban Transport) and which foreshadows the Regional Transport Authority (AROTT). The charter was jointly signed by the President of the SMTC Grenoble and the Governor of Sfax, in the presence of the various transport stakeholders of Sfax.
This new charter of decentralized cooperation is based on the values of transparency, solidarity and respect of populations and territories. Its main themes and objectives can be summed up in the following points:
- Develop technical and political exchanges on urban mobility between the SMTC, the Sfax Governorate and the members of the Transport Committee in Sfax;
- Promote the development of a multimodal urban mobility network, promoting both active modes and motorized modes, in Sfax and Grenoble;
- Promote in both territories the role of the civil society in bringing forward proposals and innovations in the field of transport and urban mobility;
- Enhance the feedback of an experienced agglomeration in transport and mobility such as Grenoble, and to capitalize on the lessons learned;
- Highlight the potential of a growing city such as Sfax, by involving the young generations and decision-makers of today and tomorrow.
The actions carried out within the framework of the cooperation will mainly, but not exclusively, focus on the following themes, identified jointly during the visit of the President of the SMTC Grenoble in Sfax:
- The implementation of a Transport Authority in Sfax: Support to the process of creation of the AROTT, ensuring the leadership by the Transport Committee in Sfax on the key issues related to urban mobility and transport in the Greater Sfax.
- The implementation of a light metro line and interface with the existing and rationalized bus system: The implementation timeline for the first phase of the project including the concept design and detailed design studies is validated and the commissioning of the first metro line is expected for 2020. The feasibility studies were carried out by the EGIS design office which also worked with the SMTC for line E and the extension of line A of the Grenoble network. The new Metro Company will ensure the management of the various projects. A doubt remains regarding the coordination between the Metro Company and the AROTT in the follow-up of the projects.
- The implementation of a bicycle rental service (metro-cycle type) with the civil society and launch of a fleet of bicycles as part of an experimental project: The NGOs and the President of the SMTC expressed a strong willingness to develop a “humanized” bike rental service with rental agencies targeting mainly the student population widely present in both agglomerations.
- Rolling stock and maintenance: A point was made following the instructions of the Secretary General of the Tunisian Ministry of Transport regarding exchanges of rolling stock. The General manager of technical Services mentioned the current Tunisian standards in this field and proposes to study the opportunities for a possible donation of rolling stock to SORETRAS according to these standards.
- Biofuel: The University of Sfax has developed a patent for the recovery of waste from the production process of olive oil as biofuel for buses. A pilot project has already been set up. The Agglomeration of Grenoble would be interested to evaluate the possibility of adapting the results of this research on its territory.
The cooperation between the SMTC of Grenoble and the Sfax Governorate remains active and new activities are planned for 2018, including the arrival of a fleet of 100 to 200 metro-cycles, the support to the implementation of a bike rental service as well as a support to the Metro Company of Sfax to monitor the ongoing preliminary studies