Behind the scenes of GS: shared mobility

The GS-IS team responsible for mobility is working on the problematic equation of improving transport with a growing number of people on site.


Congested car parks and sites that are far apart mean that going from one place to another at CERN often requires patience. Transport is major a concern not only for people working at the Organization, but also those in charge of the road infrastructure. The 120-hectare Meyrin site and the distance between the various sites mean that efficient modes of transport are essential. The growing number of people on site and the increasingly congested car parks have made the problem even trickier. Over the past five years, the GS-IS group has launched several initiatives to facilitate mobility on site without proportionately increasing CERN’s fleet of vehicles. Sharing is the only solution!

The shuttle service has been reinforced:  since 2010, four regular routes have been set up as well as a service for operators working shifts during the LHC run. Last year alone, the shuttles transported 100,000 passengers.

The car-sharing service, in place since December 2011, is another such innovation. Once you have signed up to the Car Pool and Rental service (Building 130) and booked a car online , you can use one of the 35 available vehicles at one of the 16 pick-up points on the Meyrin and Prévessin sites as well as at Points 2 and 5. Now in its third year, CERN car-sharing has been a growing success with more than 15,000 bookings in 2013.

This initiative also aims to reduce CERN’s fleet of vehicles. Some 800 cars are in service and 150 extra vehicles were added for the long technical shutdown, LS1. The use of CERN vehicles, which are, on average, driven infrequently, is not optimal. “We have launched a study with the various departments to evaluate their needs and how much they use the vehicles," explains Véronique Sogno, Deputy Head of the GS-IS group and responsible for transport and mobility. "Our goal is to maintain the same level of service while reducing the fleet by 12%." The idea, therefore, is to share vehicles in order to free up parking spaces and reduce operating costs and the carbon footprint.

The GS-IS group has started a global rethink on mobility at CERN. “The goal would be to develop a long term mobility plan to improve transport sustainably,” states Jurgen de Jonghe, Head of GS-IS group. Transport and mobility matters go beyond the boundaries of the Laboratory. The group has recently forwarded CERN personnel and users a survey from the Republic and Canton of Geneva that investigates the daily commute of the staff of international organisations. The results of the survey will contribute to the establishment of transport policy in the region.

Our old transport habits are at the heart of the problem. We’re the first to use our own car when we could car-share or use public transport. So, next time you need to go somewhere at CERN, do a bit of research, there could be a shuttle or a car-sharing station a stone’s throw from your office. Have a look at the GS department’s transport and mobility page.

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by Corinne Pralavorio