Terra bus stops in Montpellier

Faced with the challenge of global warming and its impact local areas and people, it has become a priority to offer modes of transport that emit less CO2. This is why Montpellier implements ecological transition of mobility, by ensuring that it offers attractive, supportive and inclusive services.

The Terra bus stops experiment, launched by Lemon®, the Mobility Experimentation Laboratory of Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, TaM and Transdev, symbolizes this desire to rethink urban transport with a view to user comfort and well-being.

An exhibition from June 15 to July 1, 2022

The first phase of this experiment was an exhibition in front of City Hall: an opportunity to raise public awareness to the challenges of global warming, to highlight the city’s commitment to mobility, and to present the innovative features of the
of the Terra bus stops experiment. The experimental stops will then be installed on the TaM network for a period of 2 years.


Following the exhibition, the in-situ experimentation was launched in July 2022 with two Terra bus stops deployed and tested. Over two years, the objective will be to collect quantitative and qualitative data, in order to later develop an accessible service adapted to the needs of the
the general public.

A strong ambition: more comfort and a fresh feeling

The Terra experimental bus stops were imagined and designed by EntreAutre, a design agency based in Montpellier, with the help of a dozen local craftsmen and engineers, with the aim of improving the comfort of users while waiting for the bus to arrive, and providing passengers with a feeling of coolness in hot weather.


Made exclusively of natural and sustainable materials, these experimental stops have the particularity of not depending on any energy source or scarce resources (water, electricity, etc.).


Together, the different talents mobilized on the project have identified and adapted ancestral techniques known to create a feeling of coolness in geographical areas particularly prone to heat peaks.


These so-called low-tech processes are simple and sustainable alternatives to modern technologies and highlight the combination of sobriety, local materials and creativity as an effective lever for action against global warming.


The concept is based on a more pleasant and comfortable user experience, contributing to the attractiveness of the city’s mobility services.


3 comfort objectives:

  • Physical comfort: the seats at the stops are designed to be comfortable. Shade, ventilation and vegetation provide a feeling of freshness.
  • Psychological comfort: the vegetation and low-tech materials used contribute to a relaxing and reassuring environment.
  • Social comfort: the furniture encourages dialogue, benevolence and sharing. 

Presentation of the experimental stops

The three stops are made of wood, stabilized earth, ceramics, and plants; natural and simple materials that have the advantage of being readily available in the area.


Both independent and complementary, the Terra bus stops adapt to the public space and the needs of the inhabitants. They are modular and offer different characteristics that allow them to adapt to the public space (cramped, constrained or spacious) and to complement the existing stop furniture on the network.

The autonomous stop

This structure has the particularity of not needing concrete fixation in the ground. To create a feeling of freshness, it integrates a cold wall and a perforated ceramic partition, called a moucharabieh, which, through its perforated partition, offers natural ventilation. Thanks to recycled plastic roofs and extensive vegetation, the stop always offers a place in the shade.

Badguir Tower 

Inspired by traditional Persian architecture, this stop is based on the principle of wind towers called Badguir. In the tower, the air is heated at the level of the black plates, resulting in a suction of cold air located at the bottom of the tower. The air current generated is felt when the back, neck or head is near the vents located above the seat.

The pole and its second skin

This additional structure is based on the existing furniture of the network, namely a traditional bus post. This Terra bus stop offers the possibility to sit on an earthen seat with a refreshed backrest. The wooden structure that connects the bus post allows vegetation to grow horizontally and vertically.

One of the common denominators of these stops is the emphasis on vegetation. By selecting plants that are adapted to the climate of Montpellier, climbing, with high covering power and requiring little water, the vegetation creates real urban and shaded canopies. Also, these plants promote the evapotranspiration mechanism, allowing water to rise into the air, promoting its cooling and thus the feeling of freshness.

Measure, adjust, deploy

With a view to deploying these cool stops on a larger scale, numerical tests are being conducted to calculate air exchanges and variations in temperature and hydrometry. To do this, various sensors are placed in strategic locations: cold walls, hoppers, etc. Also, a weather station installed on each station allows to compare these measurements.


This experiment also hosts a project financed by the French National Research Agency to measure air quality in the Montpellier area. This initiative, called Breathe, uses the analysis of dust deposits on the various surrounding surfaces (including the leaves on the stops) to assess the level of air pollution, identify the main pollutants and the concentration of fine particles. Objective: to determine the positive impact of these innovative devices.

Breathe, a participatory project

In order to raise public awareness and contribute to the popularization of science, residents will be invited to work with the researchers to analyze the leaves collected.


Qualitative data will also be collected via an innovation consulting agency, Proofmakers, during the exhibition and later at the two experimental stops (Pont Juvenal and Eureka). Passengers will be invited to express their feelings about the stop, how they perceive it in terms of design, use and freshness. Several data collection sessions are planned for the summer of 2022.


A dedicated web page, accessible via a QR code displayed on the stops, will propose a form for collecting impressions: http://experimentationterra.tam-voyages.com