Introduction The importance of the transport infrastructure role is often described in the attempt to describe the characteristics of a “smart city”. Good planning and organization of communication networks contributes to the development of cities that are more fluid and user-friendly and sustainable, concepts underlying “smart cities”. The paper focuses on the impact on social organisation and on conception of transport intermodal infrastructures such as city-hubs inducing new and smarter practices of transport infrastructure, but also the urban dimension and their insertion through the actual city and, even more, by the creation of an entirely new neighbourhood and the preoccupation of a better quality of life. As part of the European research project FP7 “City-HUB”, 27 interchanges have been studied in nine European countries. The paper emphases on the implementation of the City-HUB interchange typology to the case study of Lille European Metropolis (MEL) where two contingent railway stations, Lille Flandres and Lille Europe, were analysed as a potential unique interchange named “Euraflandres”with socio-economic impacts and the possibility that it may become a “place” of life in the smart city. Methods Within the FP7 project City-HUB a literature review was conducted on the role and characteristics of interchanges in the cities and their contribution to smart cities . For 27 interchanges in nine European countries, we have determined a number of relationships between these transport multimodal interchanges and their environment, and established a typology capturing different interchanges and a scheme for scoring their characteristics in terms of function and logistic dimensions (demand, number of transport modes, services and facilities, location in the city) and their local constraints. The governance framework was specified through carrying out semi-structured interviews with key interchange actors for each City-HUB case study that also questioned about the role of interchanges in local economies and their potential impact on that. The Lille Flandres and Lille Europe as a unique landmark “Euraflandres” were particularly studied to understand their characteristics and role to contribute to a smarter city. Results Based on the City-HUB typology, the “Euraflandres” gets a score of 9 because its demand is higher than 120,000 in daily passengers, includes 13 public and private transport modes (several PT, long distance coaches, car and bike), is located in the city centre and is included into a local plan of urban development and TOD definition. “Euraflandres” has all the characteristics for becoming an urban Landmark for the city of Lille. We show how this interchange gets a higher role for being a node on the international railway network, and how their inside and outside spatial and functioning reorganisation contribute to ease the use of public transport for travellers by introducing ITS, innovations in ticketing and providing new urban characteristics transforming transport infrastructures into new places to live. Conclusions Linking the smart city and the development made with “Euraflandres”, we have seen that an opportunity exists to join together the two Lille railway stations and urban Public Transport interchanges in order to combine a great urban interchange. It will procure advantages for increasing the accessibility for all destinations at urban Lille metropolis and regional level, but also at the national and international levels by the possibility offered by the French TGVs running on national network and the Railteam high speed trains such as Eurostar and Thalys. Each type of interchange, according to the identified functions and local constraints, should require the involvement of different stakeholders interchanges and the Lille City-HUB management with its stakeholders’ committees seems to be oriented to make effort for finding an agreed way for reducing conflicts, in order to better plan outcomes and to allow communities to have an influence over the future shape of the places where they live. The community-led participation is the first step to identify requirements and needs of operators (i.e. transport activities including services and facilities) and of users who will perceive the City-HUB as a transport node and a place where to have access to their mobility mode and where to carry out some other activities during their waiting time. Despite existing barriers (complex governance framework, physical barriers, functions and logistics to revise, local constraints), all the stakeholders are willing to improve the visibility and the functionality of these interchanges. “Euraflandres” has the role of developing activities and regenerating the urban environment, by transforming the surrounding area features. All this will make cities more convivial and fluid, answering to two key aspects of the Smart City, when we follow the definition of the smart city as a “fluid”, “intelligent” and “convivial” city by . The extension of the Euralille neighbourhood where is located “Euraflandres”, is part of the Lille urban regeneration, still under construction, will provide new housing and also social housing for low income people and new city amenities transforming it in a new place to live transforming the current two separated interchange towards the future one landmark interchange with a higher share of sustainable and affordable public transport modes share.
Document type: Article
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