Geneva – the ultimate in “multimodalism”‘

Lots of places claim to be have multimodal transportation networks. Much of the time, the truth is that cars still dominate the system, but some accommodations are made for other modes of transportation. One of the first things that strikes you as you travel around the city of Geneva is that the system has developed to accommodate the transportation needs of all types of people. The transportation network in Geneva goes well beyond the “complete streets” we strive for in the U.S., rather, the entire transportation network can be said to be complete (albeit crowded!) in this European metropolis.

As one would expect for any large city, the automobile is the dominant mode. However, there is an obvious difference in the types of automobiles used by virtually everyone. And that is the size of the cars.

Does this qualify as a car?

Does this qualify as a car?

Parking is very difficult in this town, which encourages people to opt for the train, bus, bike or walking, but for those who do drive, your best chance at parking is to drive a car like this one.

Public Transportation is – of course – also very popular in Geneva. The Transport Publique de Genève (TPG) is the primary public transportation system and offers both rail and bus service for commuters and for local mobility in and around the city.

TPG Bus in Geneva

TPG Bus in Geneva

One interesting difference between the European system and the system most are accustomed to in the US is that in Europe, you purchase your ticket at the station, but no one ever actually asks to see it or takes it from you. I am told there is a steep fine for riding without a ticket, but for the dozen or so bus rides we have taken, there never appeared to be anyone interested in seeing our ticket.

Another very notable difference between most large European cities and their American counterparts is that bikes and motor scooters or motor cycles are much much much more prevalent in Europe. WP_20140701 2

Lots of Swiss ride bikes and scooters

Lots of Swiss ride bikes and scooters

Europe’s smaller cars do get significantly better gas mieage than your typical American car, but the price of gas in Geneva, for example, currently is about 1.70 Swiss francs per liter. After the conversion to gallons, and converting Swiss francs to dollars, the price of a gallon of fuel in Switzerland is a little over $7 per gallon! At that price, plenty of people opt for the less costly – albeit more risky – bike or motor cycle/scooter option.

And like most major cities, many people forego all mechanical modes of transportation altogether and travel around by foot. You can be anywhere in the heart of the city, at virtually any time of day, look around and you will see literally hundreds of people on foot, exploring the city, shopping, walking to or from work, or just out for a stroll.

One thought on “Geneva – the ultimate in “multimodalism”‘

  1. I want to see the photo of you in the car. Having a hard time seeing the geometry work. Thanks for sending the link.

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