Recently, the city of Toulouse in France just completed the installation of 4000 m² of synthetic turf on the new tramline of the city that leads to the airport.
Synthetic turf was chosen to avoid the problems of mowing and maintenance. Among the various difficulties faced by the maintenance staff with the up keeping of natural grass on the railway, mowing the grass whilst the tram was operating was the biggest problem. Mowing would be organized every ten or fifteen days, around a team consisting of a mower, two lookouts, a gardener and a blower. To secure all the lookouts, equipped with radio, the driver warned of the arrival of trams from the north and south. You had to be careful and very attentive to avoid accidents.
Today many cities and towns are finding the advantage of synthetic turf to make the urban landscape more attractive. The possibilities are endless: parks, playgrounds, public gardens, a synthetic surface along the lines and tram lanes, roundabouts, central safety barriers, etc … Not only it helps the area to be aesthetically more pleasing but maintenance costs are also greatly reduced. The lifespan of synthetic grass is very long (10 to 15 years): it is therefore a very good long-term investment. Note also that synthetic turf can be installed anywhere, requires very little maintenance and keeps the same refreshing look during all year round (summer and winter). The synthetic turf, which was used for this tram line was designed specifically for landscaping, urban green spaces, roundabouts, traffic islands, sidewalks and so on.
Indeed, this solution is both economical and environmentally friendly. Studies conducted on this subject show that synthetic turf is a lot less expensive than a natural grass surface. In terms of installation cost, synthetic grass does not require any under construction, in contrast to natural grass, which requires complex mixtures. Moreover, maintenance of synthetic surface is limited: no need for gardening, irrigation, fertilizer or pesticides elsewhere.
These ecological reasons should see similar projects extend to other big French cities such as Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille.