Project 2/12: Bordeaux Metropolitan Area (France) – State of Guanajuato (Mexico)

25 March 2020

For the second time, PLATFORMA has decided to reward the best city-to-city and region-to-region international cooperation projects. Twelve projects have been shortlisted out of 26 applications. Every day, we are presenting one new project (sorted by alphabetical order). This is how the Bordeaux Metropolitan Area in France is presenting its partnership with the State of Guanajuato in Mexico, and in particular their “UNEBUS” project.

“Since 2011, Bordeaux Metropolitan Area (Bordeaux Métropole) in France and the State of Guanajuato in Mexico have been linked by a cooperation agreement, initially for three years, then renewed on 30 June 2015 for four years, which is currently being re-negotiated. The 2015-19 agreement was organised around the themes of “Metropolisation, sustainable city and citizen participation” and was broken down into various measures relevant to metropolitan areas (waste management, water and sanitation, urban transport, culture and metropolitan identity, etc.).

The metropolitan area of León, made up of four municipalities, is the object of special attention because it wishes to move towards a more advanced metropolitan operating model. As it is in the process of being developed, this is an opportunity to steer it towards a sustainable city model. Bordeaux Métropole, a pioneering French local authority in this area, therefore came forward as a referent city, while drawing on the experience of León in the fields of urban expansion and economic attractiveness. This technical cooperation is therefore justified by the fact that the two territories can mutually benefit from each other’s experience and technical knowledge.

In this context, the “transport and mobility” component aims to support the movement to encourage a reduction in car use in Guanajuato. Since 2011, the support of Bordeaux Métropole has made it possible to draw up specifications and two inter- and intra-urban mobility studies in the above-mentioned metropolitan area, in cooperation with a Bordeaux engineering office. On the 18th of March 2016, the State of Guanajuato adopted a new mobility law providing for the creation and implementation of a state-wide mobility programme and its corresponding network, the “UNEBUS”. This integral mobility project was initially developed around the metropolitan area of León, and the expertise of Bordeaux Métropole was once again called upon.


The initial diagnosis, based on previous studies, highlighted the efficiency of the mobility system but also certain problematic aspects: long journey times, uncoordinated transfers with no fare integration scheme, no modal integration, improvised stops with no signage, non-priority public transport and little incentive to use it.

The Bordeaux Mobility Directorate therefore worked remotely and then sent its deputy director to the site for two weeks to discuss in detail with State and municipal officials the aspects of intermodality, metropolitan organisation of the public transport service, and the overall strategy for redefining urban organisation around sustainable transport. Needs in terms not of infrastructure but of operational support systems (OSS) and integration of “smart systems” were identified and led to the organisation of a two-day Franco-Mexican seminar focusing on the themes of traffic management, OSS, urban development and smart cities, with the involvement of AFD, the French Embassy and public and private transport stakeholders in Guanajuato.

The UNEBUS has now been in place for almost two years and connects the four municipalities of the León Metropolitan Area, two UNESCO cities, the State’s main industrial area, the airport, and should soon be extended to the metropolitan areas of Celaya and Irapuato.”

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