Marseille city council was due to consider at the end of December a new urban transport plan incorporating up to 25 km of new light rail routes and extensions to the city’s metro system. On November 29 councillors voted to begin public consultation on modernising RTM’s 3 km Noailles - St Pierre tram route (Line 68), which is to receive new low-floor vehicles, and a 1·8 km extension from Noailles to Place de la Joliette, running on a reserved alignment along the Cours Belsunce and Rue de la République.

Work could begin at the end of this year for opening in 2003; the city hopes to obtain Fr326m of the Fr680m cost from the Euroméditerranée development agency, government at local, regional and national level and from European sources. Subsequent extensions from St Pierre to Les Caillols and from Place de la Joliette to Arenc would cost a total of Fr3bn.

An extension of metro Line 1 from La Timone to St Barnabé has been costed at Fr1bn; the first 1 km to an interchange with SNCF and Line 68 at La Blancarde could be open by 2005. Looking to improve local rail services, the Provence-Alpes-C