Cross-border tramway between Strasbourg and Kehl


Cross-border cooperation is a partnership between private or public players, separated by a State border, whose actions have repercussions at regional and local level on either side of the border. Within the European area, 360° mobility across the border, the projects and policies that accompany this mobility in territories close to the border, and the progressive cross-border integration that this cooperation builds and gives rise to cross-border territories, characterise different experiences. To illustrate the results of more than 20 years of cooperation within the Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière (MOT), 20 unique experiments conducted by MOT members for the benefit of the inhabitants of cross-border territories were highlighted. In terms of mobility, the example of the tramway between Strasbourg and Kehl is a real symbol of cooperation: more than 20,000 people from Strasbourg work in Germany. The tram serves a potential of 25,000 to 35,000 people on both sides of the Rhine, and should make daily life easier for cross-border residents.

Cross-border public transport contributes to territorial and European integration through the practical implementation of freedom of movement. Mobility is at the heart of the operation of cross-border territories, with daily journeys contributing to the construction of these living areas. A driver of sustainable development, cross-border public transport supports the mobility of workers, schoolchildren and consumers, by limiting the saturation of road infrastructure on many borders. In addition to infrastructure, other actions contribute to smoother mobility in cross-border regions (car-sharing, fare integration, joint ticketing, etc.).

The Strasbourg-Kehl conurbation is the heart of the Strasbourg-Ortenau Eurodistrict, so the tramway link between Strasbourg and Kehl is a strategic issue for the development of the cross-border area. Most traffic between Strasbourg and Kehl is by private car, leading to congestion and pollution.

Against this backdrop, the project initially focused on pre-project studies and post-project assignments for the construction of the cross-border section of the tramway line, linking the last French station ("Port du Rhin") to the terminus station ("Gare de Kehl").

The extension of the Strasbourg Eurometropole’s tramway network to Kehl, which has been operational since 29 April 2017, is an emblematic project resulting from the political will of the mayors of Strasbourg and Kehl to adopt a shared cross-border vision for the construction of a 360° conurbation. Initially linking Kehl station and then its town hall in 2018, this cross-border line required the construction of a new Rhine bridge and the overcoming of regulatory and technical obstacles (mainly linked to the approval of trains from a national network in another country), in order to define a balanced operating framework fully integrating the joint transport networks.

This ‘Rhine’ strategy will be accompanied by the construction of 10,000 homes on almost 250 hectares of land and 8 new tramway stations. It is expected to generate more than 8,500 jobs.

The extension project is also justified by a number of urban development projects to the east of Strasbourg, in particular the « Strasbourg-Métropole des deux rives » eco-city project, which aims to lay the foundations for a sustainable, attractive metropolis based on solidarity and open to the Rhine and Europe. This emblematic tramway project is, however, reminiscent of a historical precedent. From 1896 to 1945, a tramway linked the two banks of the Rhine. After the war, the link was broken.

Aims of the project


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