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Constructing the first municipal-level GIS for France and a multi-modal transport network

Constructing the first municipal-level GIS for France and a multi-modal transport network

Reconstructing historical transport networks in France, 1750 to the present

The existing geohistorical data on French transport infrastructures have been partially digitised by different institutions, with varying degrees of completeness: the railway network has been fully digitised from 1832 to 2015 with data on opening, closing dates and the evolution of technological innovation (electrification, rolling stock, high speed line…). The road network c.1750 has been digitised from Cassini maps (1750) by the COGIT laboratory at IGN (Perret et al., 2015). In this project we are: i) adapting existing railway data to fit to the much higher accuracy standards used for the GIS of French Communes; ii) digitising roads for two benchmark years (1830 and 1910). We use French military maps (Etat Major) for the period 1820 to 1866. For the second date, the 1900 maps (type 1900) digitised by IGN are our main source; iii) digitising navigable waterways 1700 to the present. The most consistent part of the data collection concerns French waterways. We use existing database of links, locks and tunnels, and complete it with data created by the Babel project. It includes construction dates, opening time and the technical evolutions for all existing canals. We complete this with data extracted from works by Delalande (1778), Grangez (1855) and Pinon (1886), allowing us to provide speed and cost assessment based on rights of way.

Rail network

The French railway network since 1860 (Thévenin/Mimeur)

Building a multimodal model of transport accessibility in the long run

We are also creating homogeneous and comparable data on accessibility since 1750. This will greatly improve our understanding of the morphogenesis of transportation networks in France. In this way we will be able to quantify rigorously how changes in transportation networks contributed to spatial inequalities, and conversely we will be able to explore the extent to which public policy influenced network organisation.

The multimodal approach will allow us to combine microscopic and macroscopic analyses in order to look at the multi-scalar effects of spatial interactions. Combining roads, railways and waterways in the same model will help us assess the impact of innovations on territories suggested – but never quantified - by Dupuy (1991). We will provide measures of potential substitution effects and/or the complementarities of transportation networks. Finally, we will apply a morphological analysis of networks, in order to observe the impact of the co-evolution of transportation systems on population dynamics and notably emergence of centralities. These different hypotheses will be assessed by systematic comparisons between UK and France.

An example of railway accessibility in 1911 (created in partnership with

Legend visualisation

© Benjamin Tran-Dinh(@_benjamintd)/ANR-COMMUNES 2022