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ANR funded project

Bâtiments et villes durables (BVD)
Edition 2011


Methods and tools to optimize planing, design, construction and operation of structural covers over transportation infrastructures in urban areas

Methods ans tools to optimize planning, design, construction and operation of structural covers avoer transportation infrastructures in urban areas.
CANOPEE aims at building a methodology and decision-making facilitating tools for the realization of infrastructure covers in urban areas. Indeed, despite their complexity, those structures are not the subject of a «doctrine« or any specific rules.

Merging urban challenges with legal and technical stakes at every stage of the design and building of an infrastructure cover.
Road and railway infrastructures in urban contexts generate visual, acoustic and atmospheric pollution, as well as deep disconnection within urban structures. To compensate for this issue, infrastructure covers are being developped, without any «doctrine« or specific rules to comply with.
This research program originates from the reflexions and realizations of the City of Paris during the last decade («Porte des Lilas«, «Porte de Vanves«). It aims at building a methodology and decision-making facilitating tools for the realization of thos compex urban structures.
The research follows 4 main scientific objectives :
- A multidisciplinary characterization of structural covers, through the setting up of an urban, legal, organizational and technical analytic grid, and its use throughout existing projects.
- Establishing methods and evaluating tools, to be used by owners as well as design and project managers, who currently do not hold such tools. This scientific objective shall aplly to the projects themselves, thir place wihtin nearby urban environments, as well as the interests of political and economical actors, residents and the general public. At this stage, the project also aims to identify and analyze the relevant legal issues, and the tools that may be used by oweners to build and operate such equipment.
- Creating a decision-making facilitating tool under the form of a «meta-referential« with a cross-optimization of the advantages of sustainable development.
- Transfer towards engineering : innovative methods of design and construction of structural covers, taking into account their following operation.

A multidisciplinary and systemic approach of infrastructure covers
The analysis of projects of structural covers over transportation infrastructures in urban areas will cast the light on a number of specificities including: operations, regulation, legal and financial setting-up processes, populations’ expectations, integration of territorial scales larger than the structural covers themselves, design and construction constraints. In addition to the fact that such constraints are not well known (cognitive barrier), they are also treated differently.
In response to the cognitive barriers: the scientific questioning on expressed notions, tacitly put into practice will allow to formalize, put forward and justify certain criteria that cannot be ignored to appreciate the contribution of cities’ development towards more sustainability.
In response to the lack of a global analytical framework: a multidisciplinary and systemic analysis of these projects as well as proposals for evaluating methods and decision-making facilitating tools, adapted to elected officials and services of territorial public authorities, engineers, economic actors, lawyers, population etc. The objective consists in providing a common language for all the actors of such projects, to be used throughout their design and construction phases.
Finally, the construction of structural covers suffers from poorly adapted regulations and a lack of specific recommendations. The constraints linked to the design of such works, which restrain their development, are linked to several issues: the security of works done at underground levels, the treatment of gas pollution, the management of networks both at the level of the infrastructure covered and the structural covers themselves, as well as the harmonious and efficient integration of different functions. In parallel, their construction suffers from strong constraints linked to the use of the infrastructures being covered during the works. We will look at how, in each domain, such constraints can be tackled.


The research program main objectives are to provide a multidisciplinary charecterization of structural cover projects, as well as evaluating and decision-making facilitating tools for projects' owners. We also aim to synthesize the research study, in direct link with the engineering processes, through: technical and organizational innovation synthesis notes and recommendations for a coherent and innovative global approach regarding the technical conception .


After one year and a half research study, CANOPEE has achieved a database filled with existing infrastructure cover projects, in France as well as abroad, that will be made public at the end of the research program. That database enabled us to build a multidisciplinary characterization of such structures.
On-going studies regarding legal stakes and analysis of the management of the project will lead to recommendations on contractual set-ups as well as actors' organization and coordination methods.
The functional approach of infrastructure covers aims at establishing an operational evaluating tool. Once all functions are describes, technical and functional specifications can be put forward. They will lead to global structural covering concepts, complying with new recommendations dor a global and coherent approach of structural covers' design and construction, respecting sustainable development criteria.

Scientific outputs and patents

CANOPEE group is organizing a seminar on november 5th 2013, in order to gather invited experts' advices on the achieved work and the orientations to be followed later on.



TECOMAH / CCIP Ecole de l'Environnement et du Cadre de Vie Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de paris

EIVP Ecole des Ingénieurs de la Ville de Paris

EGIS SA EGIS Structures SA

IREX Institut de la Recherche appliquée et de l'Expérimentation en Génie Civil

UPEMLV - LEESU - GU Laboratoire Eau Environnement et Systèmes Urbains

SDIE Sources du droit, institutions, europe

Ville de Paris Ville de Paris

ANR grant: 769 579 euros
Beginning and duration: janvier 2012 - 36 mois

Submission abstract

Structures covering roadway and railway infrastructures in urban environments (that we will name “covers”) respond to multiple objectives and stakes: environmental and social (reducing noise and environmental pollution, restoring urban flow, offering an opportunity for urban renovation), legal and contractual (superimposition of property rights and different statuses, territorial borders issues), financial (high costs, creation of property rights and value), public safety and comfort. As such, these structures play a crucial role in urban planning processes and are conceived to last (“long living town”). Further, they are also essential contributors to the sustainability of cities (“sustainable town”) and this, in its three different meanings: energetic, economic and societal.

Our intention in the following report is to offer a methodology, along with tools for planning and putting into practicea concept which, despite its complexity, is still yet neither the subject of a “doctrine” nor of specific rules. This lack of a global vision, a systemic approach, and planning and design tools restrains without any doubt an optimal use of this concept for urban renewal.

Our project is positioned within a broad and diverse group of discussions and research in this area, carried out by consortium partners and other entities: we can here mention studies led by the City of Paris in the framework of its GPRU (Great Urban Renewal Project) and for the design and construction of Boulevard Périphérique (Ring Road) covers, as well as APUR’s research, the PREDIT program, the ANR projects GERMA and RESILIS, and the TRACI project.

We have gathered around this project academics (Paris Est University, EIVP and Tecomah) as well as the City of Paris, IREX which represents contractors, and consulting engineers: Arcadis and Egis. These partners cooperate regularly, within the framework of research programs or projects. These are strongly involved within the “Advancity pole” and the “IEED Ville Durable” proposal.

Our program’s primary goal is a multidisciplinary characterization of covers, through the setting up of an urban, legal, organizational and technical analytic grid, and its use through existing projects. The results of this first phase will serve as the starting point for establishing methodology and evaluation tools, for the use of owners and consulting engineers, who currently do not hold such tools. This second goal shall apply to the projects themselves and their role played in the nearby urban environment, as well as to the expressed interests of political and economical actors, and by the public itself. At this stage, we will also aim to identify and analyze the relevant legal issues, and the tools that may be used by the owner to plan, design and operate such equipments. The third scientific goal, proposed within a multidisciplinary and systemic approach, is the creation of a decision tool under the form of a “meta-referential”. This will aim at a complexthe optimization in terms of the advantages ofsustainable development. The transfer towards design and construction engineering is CANOPEE’s fourth scientific and technical goal. In line with the first three axes of research, it aims at putting forward , innovative methods of design and construction of covers, in view of their exploitation.

The proceedings of this research will provide the actors of these projects with evaluation and decision-making tools, as well as recommendations to optimize their planning, design, construction and operation processes. The number and size of the concerned projects and the high stakes they represent for cities’ sustainability, are the founding bases of this research project.


ANR Programme: Bâtiments et villes durables (BVD) 2011

Project ID: ANR-11-VILD-0003

Project coordinator:


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The project coordinator is the author of this abstract and is therefore responsible for the content of the summary. The ANR disclaims all responsibility in connection with its content.