Forum : Public Transport in the 21st Century
Date : Wednesday, 7 May 2008
Venue : Novotel on Collins, Vienna Room
270 Collins Street, Melbourne


  • 5:00 to 6:00 pm – Presentations
  • 6:00 to 6:30 pm – Panel Discussion
  • 6:30 to 7:30 pm – Drinks and light refreshments.
Modern Tram   

Moderator and Presenters

  • Graham Currie is the Professor of Public Transport at Monash University and is one of Australia's most innovative promoters of sustainable solutions for Public Transport.
  • Jean-Christophe Hugonnard is Director Asia Pacific of Systra, an international subsidiary of the SNCF and RATP in France, specialising in the planning and detailed engineering of projects for urban and inter-urban rail transport.
  • Sebastien Fleury is Senior Project Manager - Rail, with Consulting Engineer GHD.  In the absence of the scheduled speaker, Véronique Flament, Sebastien presented an introduction to the services of French industrial design company MBD Design, one of the world's leading designers of transport passenger vehicles, including the TGV and tram and light-rail vehicles.

Summary of Presentations

Graham Currie, as moderator, introduced the speakers and led the Panel Discussion by making the links between the content of the presentations and the local Melbourne and/or Australian context.

Jean-Christophe Hugonnard's presentation provided an overview of the latest advances in Public Transport technology and the challenges facing Public Transport in the 21st Century.

He summarised the factors having a prime bearing on the establishment and operation of mass-transit systems as the following :

  • Long-term objectives
  • Institutional involvement
  • Limiting the expansion of motor-car traffic
  • Integration of transport modes
  • Economic factors.

He then went on to look, within this context, at examples of each of the following classes of mass-transit system :

  • Commuter Railways – such as the Réseau Express Régional (RER) of Paris
  • Mass Rapid-Transit (MRT) systems – such as the Paris Metro, which includes examples of both conventional and automated MRT
  • Automatic Guided Transport (AGT) – such as the automated systems for passenger transfer between terminals at airports
  • Down-town People Movers (DPM) – such as the Sydney monorail
  • Light-Rail Transport (LRT) systems – such as the many tramway networks currently being reinstated and modernised
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – encompassing both local and express services.


Sebastien Fleury showcased some of the latest developments in environmentally-adaptive design to suit the new priorities of the era in which we live.

He presented examples of both passenger rolling-stock and light-rail vehicles designed by MBD Design and exemplifying the attention given by MBD Design to the following factors :

  • Compatibility with local culture
  • Relevance to local references
  • Concordance with stakeholder expectations – through review of initial sketches and implementation of progressive revisions
  • Coherence of design – through assessment of mock-ups
  • Balance
  • Atmosphere – through a suitable combination of shapes, dimensions, materials, colours and lighting.

For further detail regarding the projects discussed, please click here.



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