Route Development - Articles and news items

QCS Board rejects proposal for NECA control of North East bus services

Industry news  •  4 November 2015  •  Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

A North East Combined Authority (NECA) Quality Contracts Scheme for control of North East bus services has been rejected by the QCS Board and local traffic commissioner.

Current and future position of public transport in the Czech Republic

Issue 6 2012  •  22 January 2013  •  Pavel Dobeš, Former Minister of Transport, Czech Republic

Urban public transport systems have a long tradition in the Czech Republic and are well-known operational networks, especially in our large cities. Public transport systems can currently be found in more than 100 different sized cities in the Czech Republic, ranging from our smallest where there is often only one bus line in operation; providing a link between the main residential areas of the city and places of basic services such as schools, offices, medical facilities, shops, etc., up to our large cities where bus networks operate along with trolleybus networks, trams and, in the case of Prague, metro networks.

Public transport in the Czech Republic is operated under the conditions of transportation companies which are set-up and owned by the cities. Although urban public transport development projects are extremely expensive, improvements in this area during the last 15 years have been significant. Of particular importance is the project to gradually replace all aging vehicles with new, modern and more environmentallyfriendly vehicles which meet the standards and requirements of passengers. Strong emphasis is placed on providing vehicles that can easily transport people with reduced mobility.

Extending Prague’s metro line

Issue 6 2012  •  22 January 2013  •  Radek Hončl, Project Manager, Capital Projects Department, Prague Public Transport Company (DPP)

The west end of Prague’s metro line ‘A’ is being extended in a construction project estimated to cost CZK 21.13 billion (expected total capital cost including indexing). The section known as Metro Line V.A is located in the northwest of Prague and will run from Dejvická Station via four new stations: Červený Vrch (Bořislavka), Veleslavín, Petřiny and Motol. After several appeals against the building of the section were addressed, construction began in January 2010. Operation of the new section is expected to start in late-2014.

However, the project’s capital cost had to be reduced and so the general designer was asked to submit cost-cutting measures which were mainly applied to the construction of Petřiny Station.

For the first time in Prague’s metro system, single-track tunnels have been bored using Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) technology and benefiting from the latest tunnelling machines. Station tunnels and two-track running tunnels are being built using the New Austrian Tunnelling Method (NATM) using access tunnels to transport all material.

The project also includes construction of three bus terminals for urban lines, and zoning and construction permit applications have been submitted for a Park & Ride facility to meet the aim of terminating surface transport further from the city centre.

Large investments in public transport in the Copenhagen area

Issue 3 2012  •  25 June 2012  •  Henrik Dam Kristensen, Minister for Transport, Denmark

If you have recently visited Copenhagen, you will have noticed it has a large number of on-going construction sites. Significant investments made in various public transport projects over the last couple of years has meant that many roads have been closed and there have been temporary changes in public transport timetables and schedules. The new investments will mean that in a few years’ time, the city will have a new metro line, a new railway (60kmlong), a light-rail connecting the suburbs west of Copenhagen, and new signals on the railway network.

Additionally, the busiest train station in Denmark will be renovated into a modern and attractive facility. Unfortunately, the large number of construction sites will make Copenhagen a less inviting city for the time being, but I am confident that the massive investments will ensure that public transport in Copenhagen will be able to maintain a very high standard in many years to come.

In January 2009, the Danish Parliament decided that the number of passengers using public transportation must be more than the number of motorists. Therefore, the Parliament decided to invest almost €8 million in the Danish public transportation system. The investments have an unprecedented level in Denmark.

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

Issue 3 2012  •  25 June 2012  •  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.

Act brings Denmark’s first lightrail a step closer

Issue 3 2012  •  25 June 2012  •  Ole Sørensen, Head of the Light Rail Secretariat and Project Manager, Midttrafik

Construction of the initial phase of Denmark’s first light-rail network has now progressed from the planning to the construction phase, as the Danish Government recently passed the Aarhus Light Rail Act. Work towards the building of a light-rail network in the Aarhus area began in 2007 when eight local authorities, the Central Denmark Region, and the regional public transport authority, Midttrafik, entered a formal partnership to develop a light-rail transit network (LRT network) centred around Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus.

The procurement strategy for Phase 1 of the LRT network will soon be presented. It is expected that prequalification and tender will take place during summer and autumn 2012. At the same time, the parties involved in the Aarhus Light Rail Partnership are planning to extend the network with more light-rail lines in Aarhus and to neighbouring towns in the Aarhus region. The State is also considering a possible new and fast regional railway line between Silkeborg and Aarhus.

The vision to build a light-rail transit network around Aarhus is now closer to becoming a reality as the Danish Government has adopted the Aarhus Light Rail Act of 8 May 2012.

Financing urban and intercity transport in the North

Issue 3 2012  •  25 June 2012  •  Stefan Fridriksson, Senior Manager, Lending Department, Nordic Investment Bank

Cities and large urban areas usually allocate large proportions of their budgets to fund the construction of the vital transport infrastructure, often in combination with borrowing. Funding infrastructure and public transport projects through the budget requires balanced, economic and ecological long-term planning, including factors such as availability and utilising land and space, estimates of population growth, general economic development and environmental requirements.

In the same way, planning the financing of transport investments through borrowing needs to take into account the life-span of the given infrastructure and equipment. Financing investments with long-term loans is often an indispensable means in urban financial planning, especially when necessary infra – structural backlogs become insurmountable, and yes, also during times with diminished budgets. Planning is the key for successful investments, where the will to borrow and the ability to repay the loans go hand in hand, creating the necessary credibility.