Bybanen Bergen light rail: Some important lessons learned when planning a new light-rail system

25 June 2012  •  Author(s): Thomas J. Potter, Senior Transportation Engineer, Norconsult AS

Bergen is Norway’s second largest city with a regional population of 350,000. In March 2000, and after more than 10 years of heated political and public discussion, a decision was made to build the city a new light-rail system. In 2006, the Norwegian Parliament approved the innovative financing package based largely on revenues from the toll ring around the city and the alternative use of highway funds.

The first 10km section of the system was opened in June 2010, and with passenger ridership figures 50% above expectations, it has proved to be a great success. A 4km extension to Lagunen is now under construction and will open in 2013. In order to cope with higher than expected ridership numbers, an additional eight 32m-long Variobahn vehicles from Stadler Pankow GmbH have been ordered. These additional vehicles will allow an intense service to be operated with four minute headways during the busiest periods of the day, for approximately seven hours.

A further 7km extension to Bergen Airport at Flesland, along with a major workshop/depot near the airport, are now in a design phase and both are scheduled to open in 2016 in close coordination with a major expansion of the airport terminal.

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