The Modulobus Noêl (Christmas Modulobus) helped people to get to the Christmas market in 2006 from any of 529 bus stops in the Montbéliard urban area. The new feature is that people could book at any time of the day for a departure within the hour : there was no need to book the day before nor even several hours in advance.
The service proposed is unique and is similar to flexible systems existing in other countries : Publicar in Switzerland, Flexline in Scandinavian countries, Shuttle in the USA. It adds a new dimension through its route-optimisation engine which takes into account demands in very short times.
The research and the development for the concept that led to the experimentation were carried out within the framework of the project "véhicule du futur" (vehicle of the future).
The objectives were:
- to increase and diversify the demand-responsive transport offer,
- to test the robustness and reliability of a very flexible service,
- to evaluate people’s interest in such a service, that could be continued if need be to serve special events or specific sites,
- to measure to what extent the demand-responsive transport management and optimisation methods developed were able to group passengers together in the vehicles.
The joint report drawn up by Prorentsolft in June 2006 takes stock of this experimentation.