City Profile - Articles and news items

moBiel – building a future on customer intimacy

Issue 6 2009, Past issues  •  22 December 2009  •  Wolfgang Brinkmann, Managing Director, moBiel GmbH

For four years, Bielefeld – a city in the Northeast of the Federal State of North-Rhine-Westphalia with a population of approximately 325,000, has topped the category of ‘Overall Customer Satisfaction’ on the annual German public transport survey ‘ÖPNV-Kundenbarometer’. Its strong customer focus is what moBiel, the city’s public transport operator, considers its strongest asset. As the stimulator of Bielefeld’s infrastructure, moBiel banks on expansion – ‘life in the city, it’s where we are’.

Bielefeld, like over a hundred other cities in Germany, introduced its first electric tram line at the turn of the century. Initially, it comprised of 12 railcars and eight tram trailers operating on a 9.2km rail track in 30 minute intervals. Bielefeld’s citizens were enthusiastic about the new means of public transport. Within the year, the tram fleet comprised of 21 railcars with 11 tram trailers and their frequency, at times, stepped up to 7.5 minutes. The tramline remained a fixture of public life in Bielefeld, even after World War II. In the late 1960s, many German cities ripped out their rail tracks and switched to bus-based public transport. However, Bielefeld’s public transport operator, then still a division of the public utility Stadtwerke Bielefeld, not only stuck with its trams so popular with its citizens, but set out to expand the rail system – even after the first prognoses predicted the seemingly anachronistic trams would soon disappear.

An ‘open and shut’ case for safety

Issue 2 2009, Past issues  •  30 April 2009  •  Ramon Malla, Director of Automated Lines, Barcelona Metro

Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) is the main public transport operator for the metropolitan area of Barcelona and an international reference in the urban transport sector. TMB covers the services provided by the companies Ferrocarril Metropolità de Barcelona, SA (FMB – the Barcelona Metropolitan Rail Service), and Transports de Barcelona, SA (TB). These organisations provide collective transport services for travellers through surface and underground transport networks, which complement both each other and the other companies in the sector which share this area of influence.

The services provided by TMB are essential for the two million journeys made by passengers every working day, approximately 577 million per year. This goal is achieved with a fleet of more than 1,080 buses and 150 metro trains and more than 7,000 employees. The regular bus network is comprised of 108 lines, which cover a total distance of 921.5km, while the metro itself is formed by six lines which cover a total distance of 87.6km.

The TMB bus fleet helps to improve air quality

Issue 2 2009, Past issues  •  30 April 2009  •  Ignasi Armengol Villà, Director of Buses, TMB

The protection of the environment is one of the backbones of the strategic policies of TMB. As a public transport company, its activity is essential for the promotion of more sustainable mobility, and a clear alternative to private vehicle transport, which is less efficient and has a greater impact on the environment. However, TMB goes beyond this, and a strategic objective has been marked to reduce the environmental impact that its activity causes, such as consumption of energy and other natural resources on the one hand and as a generator of waste material on the other.

This concern is expressed in a constant search for cleaner and more efficient options for the propulsion of the bus fleet – an essential service that provides daily transport for 700,000 passengers on 108 bus lines that run through Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

Noise reduction measures on Istanbul urban rail systems

Issue 4 2008, Past issues  •  18 August 2008  •  Veysel Arli, Track Facilities Manager, Istanbul Ulasim and Zübeyde Öztürk, Civil Engineer, Istanbul Ulasim

Noise is unwanted sound and is among the most pervasive pollutants today. The problem with noise is not only that it is unwanted, but also that it negatively affects human health and well-being. Problems related to noise include hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure, sleep loss, distraction, productivity loss and a general reduction in the quality of life and opportunities for tranquility.

Sound is a pressure fluctuation in the air; the magnitude of the sound describes the physical sound in the air. The response of human beings to sound depends strongly on the frequency of sound. In general, people are less sensitive to sounds of low frequency, such as 100 Hz (Hertz) than to sounds at 1000 Hz; also at high frequencies such as 8000 Hz, sensitivity decreases.

An important tram line rehabilitation project in Istanbul

Issue 4 2008, Past issues  •  18 August 2008  •  Veysel Arli, Track & Fixed Facilities Manager and Mustafa Polat, Tram Maintenance Chief, Istanbul Transportation Co.

The tram line which passes through Old Istanbul to the Eminönü coast and to Galata Bridge to Kabatas Wharf in the Historical Peninsula is an important railroad. The tram line was constructed stage-by-stage between 1992 and 1996.

Transportation demand in Istanbul is continuously increasing day-by-day and there are currently 385 trips each day (between 06:00a.m. and 00:00a.m.) with a 2.5 minute headway in peak hours. The tram line used to serve 190,000 passengers per day on a 14km track with 55 vehicles. It was awarded ‘Best Practice’ in providing high transportation demand by the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) in 2005, and now the daily number of passengers has risen to 250,000 according to 2007 figures.

Greater Manchester’s transport revolution

Issue 4 2008, Past issues  •  18 August 2008  •  Councillor Matthew Colledge, Chair of Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA)

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) is responsible for overseeing the provision of public transport in the county. It is made up of 33 councillors from the ten councils in Greater Manchester. Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (GMPTE) implements the Authority’s policies.

Greater Manchester is a metropolitan area at the forefront of modern urban transport planning. The city region, which is home to over 2.5 million people, is the prime economic force for the North West of England and connectivity has played a significant role in sustaining its economic renaissance over the past 10-15 years.

Significant advantages for commuters, businesses and communities

Issue 3 2008, Past issues  •  30 June 2008  •  Noel Dempsey T.D., Minister for Transport

In Ireland, we have recognised the critical importance of transport infrastructure in promoting economic development, and a greater quality of life and standard of living, for the years ahead. That is why we are involved in the most extensive period of investment in our transport network than at any time in the past.

This investment is being made according to a detailed plan for the transformation of Ireland’s national road, rail, tram, metro, bus and regional airport links. This plan is called Transport 21.

Improved access for all on-board Dublin buses

Issue 3 2008, Past issues  •  30 June 2008  •  Joe Meagher, Chief Executive, Dublin Bus

Under the Irish Government’s Transport 21 Investment Programme, bus services will be central to providing a reliable and efficient transport service for the people of Dublin. Each year, Dublin Bus carries close to 150 million people across the Greater Dublin Area (GDA) and with the help of Transport 21, the company can continue to improve the service it offers to passengers.

Transport 21 is the capital investment framework agreed by the Irish Government for the development of transport infrastructure and services for the period 2006 to 2015. The first stage of the programme for Dublin Bus was the announcement of additional buses to the fleet. To date, there are an extra 100 buses in service across the network. As a result, over 300 new drivers were recruited in 2007. These staff underwent a rigorous training programme with a combination of driving instruction out on the roads and a series of lectures on issues such as safety, customer awareness, disability awareness and company policy.

STIB: devoted and dedicated improvements

Issue 2 2008, Past issues  •  30 April 2008  •  Alain Flausch, Managing Director, STIB

The Brussels public transport company, STIB, has experienced a spectacular growth in passenger numbers during the last eight years. In addition to expanding its fleet and restructuring the metro, bus and tram networks, STIB has launched a number of studies with a view to expand the network in the highly-populated zones of the Brussels Capital Region.

STIB is the biggest urban public transport company in Belgium. It serves the 19 boroughs of the Brussels Capital Region as well as 10 other surrounding municipalities. It covers a surface area of 240km² and provides transportation for over 1.1 million inhabitants.

The MOBIB Brussels smart ticketing project

Issue 2 2008, Past issues  •  30 April 2008  •  Etienne Graindor, Smart-Card Project Manager, STIB

STIB, the main public transport operator in Brussels, has been involved with smart-ticketing for years, as a founder of the Calypso secure transactions EC supported project (1994-2002). Since June 2004, the main requirement of the Company Board has been to build a smart-ticketing system that is customer focused. Actually, the project was requested to be a strategic tool for marketing and to position the capital city public transport as a unique mobility partner of all facets of urban life.

So far, MOBIB, the Brussels smart-ticketing system, answers all kinds of possible interoperability scenarios, at national and international level, and is able to cope with a maximum of integration configurations, e.g. with other smart functions required in mobility environments (e.g. services, payment, etc).

Vienna’s public transport

Issue 6 2007, Past issues  •  7 December 2007  •  Robert Huka, Treasurer, Fahrgast

Fahrgast was founded in 1985 to work for public transport passengers. Their first great action was the fight for the tramway line 8, which runs parallel to the – as then un-constructed – underground line U6. In 1995 at their tenth anniversary, Fahrgast held a symposium, Renaissance of Tramway. Fahrgast is a participant in the Viennese commission for street building and works for the optimal conception of stations for tramway and bus lines. Fahrgast developed several concepts for tramway line expansions as an alternative to extension plans for the underground network. Furthermore, the Austrian passenger federation works in a commission of the Österreichische Bundesbahnen to help optimise timetables for bus and train connections.

Focusing on Oslo’s transport network

Issue 5 2007, Past issues  •  6 October 2007  •  Peter N. Myhre, Commissioner for Environmental Affairs and Transport

Oslo is the capital of Norway and its largest city, with 530,000 inhabitants. With the surrounding county of Akershus, there are more than one million inhabitants. The growth in population in recent years has been large (8.1 per cent from 2000 to 2006) and higher than expected (4.4 per cent). Around 57 per cent of all employees in Oslo work within the city and in the city centre. In the last 10 years, approximately 75 per cent of new jobs have been situated within the inner city (inside Ring Road 3).

The city is surrounded by green hills (Marka) and the fjord, which together define the areas that can be developed. Today, Oslo is a green city with relatively low-rise buildings (between five and eight storeys) in the city centre. The built-up areas stretch out along three corridors from the heart of the city towards the south-west, the north-east and the south. The building zone in Oslo is bounded by the hills and the fjord, and comprises 34km2, of which 43.3 per cent is residential, while 23 per cent remains undeveloped (largely parks, green spaces, and derelict areas).

Renovating the M2 metro line

Issue 3 2007, Past issues  •  13 June 2007  •  László Somodi – Director for Transport, Budapest Transport Limited; Andor Szonntag – Director for Metro Operations, Budapest Transport Limited and József Pandula – DBR Project Manager, Budapest Transport Limited

The article published in Eurotransport in 2005 (Comprehensive renovation of the Budapest M2 metro line) presented the east-west metro line, the justification of renovation, the road from the resolution to the decision, the technical contents of renovation in a professional breakdown and the work completed until 2005.

This article gives an overview of the results of the renovation achieved from 2003 until the end of 2006.

Developing public transport

Issue 2 2007, Past issues  •  19 April 2007  •  Matti Lahdenranta, Managing Director, Helsinki City Transport

The Finnish Capital Region has an efficient transport system. Traffic flows well, thanks in part to effective public transport. The City of Helsinki plays a key role in developing public transport and Helsinki City Transport aims to offer all citizens equal possibilities to travel, creating a base for a sustainable city.

A private car offers good service but only if there is enough capacity on the traffic network. But traffic keeps growing. An old truth all traffic engineers recognise well is that an empty space tends to be filled. This means that more capacity only creates more traffic. It is important to realise that the problem of growing car traffic can not be solved by increasing street capacity, the only sustainable solution is to make public transport more competitive in relation to the private car.

Madrid’s latest developments

Issue 4 2006, Past issues  •  6 December 2006  •  José-Dionisio González, Head of Light Rail Concessions Department, Technical Directorate, Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid (CRTM)

The integration of different modes of public transport has always been a high priority for CRTM. This, combined with an extensive programme of development, has seen the use of public transport rise dramatically in Madrid over the last 20 years.
Territorial and socio-economic framework

The Spanish State is organised on the basis of a Central Government, seventeen Autonomous Regions with wide ranging powers at the regional level, and Municipalities representing towns and villages at the local level. The Region of Madrid (8,028km2) is composed of 179 municipalities located in three functional areas (or rings):

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