France is enjoying a renewed love affair with the trolley as several cities from Nantes to Marseilles are constructing high-tech streetcar lines as important new components of urban redevelopment. A bright yellow with black stripes tram now runs through Mulhouse at eight minute intervals like a streak of light. Mayor Michel Samuel Weis says, “we wanted a tram that called attention to itself as a symbol of economic vitality, environmental awareness and civic improvement–transportation as an integrated cultural concept.” In order to install the new network which also connects outlying municipalities, streets, sidewalks and bike paths had to be thoroughly overhauled and the strips of land on which the tracks run have been given fresh green turf.
The tram lines have been constructed to be people friendly with station platforms that come up to the height of the tram door so a m other can simply wheel out the baby carriage. The French government hopes the trams will help deal with automobile gridlock by offering a relaxed and comfortable way to get around a city. The tram is also able to connect poorer areas of a city and other localities with the city’s center enabling poorer people access to all aspects of modern urban life.