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Promotion of Public Transport

Measures extending and promoting the use of public transport

An important alternative to using cars, scooters or other personal motorised means is public transport. We therefore evaluated evaluate what measures cities are designing to raise the share of public transport. We have looked into cities’ investments plans and expansions of lines, changes in the bus or tram fleet, interconnectivity schemes (i.e. park and ride). Some cities have a very high share of public transport, especially in the city entre. In others, public transport plays a relatively minor role and is an equal alternative to car use. In some cities, there are well developed and long existing networks, while others are currently expanding theirs. We looked at the measures implemented over the last five years as well as solid plans to do so in the future.


Capital of Luxembourg

Luxembourg has a public transport system, which consists of bus and rail services. 140 municipal and about 110 private buses operate with 31 lines on about 150 km of the road network. Partially using dedicated bus lanes, these 250 buses stop at 645 bus stations.

In the framework of the mobility strategy MODU as well as a sectorial mobility plan, the construction of a tram line is due for completion in 2020, and this will form the central pillar for promoting the public network. At the moment the planning is in the tendering process. It will operate on 16 km with 24 stations and will cost about €560 million. Furthermore, an expansion of the bus system with a new diameter line and an optimisation of public transport connection spots is planned. Peripheral train stations are being modernised and extended, and an additional lift station up the hill unburdens the main station. An increase of Park & Ride facilities is a further pillar to support increasing the share of public transport to 25% by 2020.

In 2009, a national job ticket was introduced which allows reduced prices for participating companies or administrations. The e-City system makes it possible to pay public transport tickets with a text message.

Information on sustainable mobility in Luxembourg (Fr.):

Information on the mobility strategy MODU (Fr.):

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Capital of Austria

Vienna’s public transport system includes metro, tram and bus lines, which have been optimised and extended over the last few years. A metro line extension of 9 km was created to implement a connection to the newly built satellite city Seestadt. Another extension of 5km is planned for 2017. Additionally, bus and tram lines were extended to the newly built main station and higher frequencies of specific bus, tram and metro lines were implemented.

In 2012 the city implemented a new public transport ticket tariff of €365 per year, which is far below the European average of €660. As a consequence, the large increase of customers overcompensated for the decrease of revenue from individual tickets.

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Capital of Sweden

Stockholm’s Urban Mobility Strategy 2012 is an agreement between the Swedish government, the City of Stockholm, the county council and the other municipalities in the county. It determines large-scale developments up to 2021. It featured the extension of light rail by 2013, a new tunnel for commuter trains called Citybanan by 2017 as well as further light rail lines to Solna and Kista by around 2018. Other measures include new tram lines, metro extensions and other measures.

Also, the city further prioritises buses and trams and crossing signals and from 2015 intends to develop a new strategy on attracting more passengers to public transport. However, it has to be noted that the public transport is not the responsibility of the city but of the region. Furthermore, there are tendencies towards privatisation in the public transport system, which is seen very critically by NGOs.

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Capital of Finland

Helsinki has a comprehensive public transport network with a diversity of private bus services, a new driverless metro, trams, trains and ferry services, most of which experience continuously growing demand. Only trams had a 1% decrease in passengers between 2012 and 2013. An expansion of the public transport is planned to be funded through investments in the trunk route network, hubs and priorities. However, no specific future route extension is formulated. In 2009 a new 18 km commuter Ring Rail Line began construction and is planned to begin its delayed operations in 2015. There are recommendations by the city to extend the tram network rather than the metro network. The ticketing system will be restructured in 2017 to be based on zones.

In the context of the transport vision for 2025, in which Helsinki wants to dispose of private vehicles, the Regional Transport Authority HSL has been trialling Kitsuplus, a minibus-on-demand service using a digital platform. The minibuses can be ordered online or via SMS and are priced between public transport and taxis. However, despite these innovative measures the share of public transport decreased rather than increased over the last years.

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Capital of United Kingdom

The public transport system has been continuously improved and maintained, with good information provision and good accessibility. It consists of a large metro system, trams and 700 bus lines. Besides other local trains, London is currently building a new East-West railway called Crossrail at a cost of £15 billion. This is expected to open in 2018 and will increase London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10%. Overall, London is investing around £20 billion over ten years in upgrading the metro and train network.

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Capital of Czech Republic

Prague has a comprehensive public transport system with three metro lines, 31 tram lines and 148 bus lines. Retrieved information show that the public transport system has been extended over the last ten years. However, in recent years the overall length of the system slightly decreased both in network length and passenger kilometres. There are plans for a new metro line which should open in 2018. Tariffs for public transport are relatively cheap.

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The public transport system of Milan consists of the metro, the suburban railway, a tram system, trolleybuses and bus lines. The tram system in fact is one of the largest in Europe and is maintained, revised and expanded regularly, including some major projects in the near future. After the final decision in 2008 that the EXPO 2015 will be in Milan, ongoing and high investments in public transport network extensions and fleet renewals were released. For instance, two metro lines and several bus and tram lines were extended by 2013. Furthermore, a completely new metro line is going to be in full operation in 2015, and construction of a second new metro line is planned to start in 2015, having total costs of 1.8 billion euros until its completion after 2020. The city promotes public transport with special tickets, like a temporary activity where clients of an insurance company were given free public transport tickets if they left their car at home.

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Barcelona steadily advances its public transport system. The introduction of a new bus system initiated in 2012 is particularly noteworthy, as it includes priority lanes with individual bus lanes, which are more efficient and faster. In total, 28 new bus lines were established. Earlier, but with a long-term effect, Barcelona’s metro system was extended by two lines between 2008 and 2010, including a 16% increase in the length of the system. The increase in capacity of the public transport system matches the city’s commitment to increasing its share of the modal split.

A lot of promotion for public transport is undertaken through newspaper articles explaining the new system and through an informative website.

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Capital of Belgium

Public transport almost doubled its modal share between 1998 and 2010, reaching 28%. This was achieved through a diversity of measures implemented during the last five years: the seating capacity of buses increased by 13%, 17 new bus night lines were created, and bus frequencies were raised. From 2015 onwards, the number of seats will be raised again by 7%. A New Plan Directeur bus will evaluate and improve measures.

A new tram line has been opened and others have been extended or increased in frequency. Further comprehensive improvements are planned for the coming five years (raising the number of seats by 6%). Additionally, the Metro frequency has been increased.

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In the last eight years, two new tram lines, two metro line extensions out of the four existing ones and two trolleybus lines have been built, and the bus system has been reorganised. Also, new Park & Ride sites have been installed. Accessibility has been improved for people with reduced mobility. Customer information has been increased with several measures on information, and real time travel plans, including 500 visual terminals and broadcasting information. The city has a wide range of projects and investments. The current investment costs for public transport amount to €130.50 per person. The extension of Metro Line B to 1.8 km was finished in 2013, the tram network was extended by 50 km within ten years by 2014 and new regional bus connections (Lignes Express de l’Ouest) were set in operation. Furthermore, investment in hybrid buses has become another focus of clean public transport.

To promote public transport, the city offers free public transport use at specific dates of the year.

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Capital of Denmark

Copenhagen’s public transport builds on local trains, a metro and an extensive bus system. For a long time, the city has significantly built on its system and continues to do so. Currently, Copenhagen is investing in a new metro city ring that is scheduled to be finished in 2018, with a total of 17 stations in the city centre. A further extension by three stations to Nordhavn will open in 2021. The city also has done a lot of work on the high-frequency bus system.

Interestingly, national regulation mandates a principle of station proximity, requiring new office buildings to be within 600 metres of a train station.

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The city plans to continuously increase the share of people travelling by public transport. Measures already undertaken are an increase in frequency and capacity of buses and trams, a reorganisation of the bus network and optimisation of stations. Furthermore, a new particulate matter ticket for inhabitants was introduced: car owners and their passengers pay €19 per person and choose any one day on which they can use all public transport in the metropolitan area from November to March.

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After a first expansion finished in 2013, the U12 suburban railway is now being expanded into the Neckarvalley with the effect of doubling seating capacity until 2018. For the U6 an expansion of to the airport is planned for 2019.

Since January 2014, there are job tickets for employees of the municipality and since 2015 also for employees of the federal state. The expansion of job tickets was a cooperation between transport operators and municipal administration to offer all employees seasonal tickets at reduced fares. It has been very successful and put considerable stress on the public transport company.

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Capital of France

The Parisian public transport system is composed of a large metro system with 16 lines and local trains that connect the surrounding areas. Since 2010, the metro network has been extended by 4 km to over 200 km. An additional major extension by 5 km is planned to be realised until 2030. The bus network is composed of 65 lines covering about 600 km in Paris and 242 lines covering 2,400 km in the suburbs. On the other hand, the tram network has seen the number of lines and network length reduced since 2010.

Investments of 1,100 million euros are envisaged by the new mayor for developing the public transport system (including the cycling infrastructure) between 2015 and 2020.

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The city has set public transport as a priority for decades. In the last five years, the frequency of public transport modes has increased, several new tram lines and a new fast S-Bahn (city train) track called Durchmesserlinie (literally, diameter line) were put into service recently. A further tram line connecting various parts of the city is planned, and the electrification and extension of two bus lines is planned by 2025. Overall, about 570 million euros will be spent. The city has established very good information and communication services for its public transport.

A further push for the usage of public transport can be expected through the ”2000-Watt-Gesellschaft“ project (2000-Watt Society).

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Capital of Ireland

In Dublin City and the Greater Dublin Area, Dublin Bus with its extensive bus network works is the main public transport operator. There are about 80 radial, cross-city and peripheral bus routes and additional night lines. Furthermore, some DART rail and Luas tram lines operate in the city.

To encourage people to travel by bus, Dublin Bus constantly improves their services. Besides continuously replacing or retrofitting the fleet to have more environmentally friendly vehicles, the company offers Wi-Fi on its entire fleet. The Transport Strategy 2011-2030 further suggests several measures to increase the share of public transport. Whereas an introduction of metro lines is planned in the long-term, the extension of the DART network as well as the Luas network is currently underway. A new Luas Cross City line is planned to start operation in 2017. Currently, an evaluation process for developing a public transport infrastructure in North Dublin is being conducted, also revisiting the earlier idea to construct a metro line to Dublin airport.

To foster integrated public transport usage in the Greater Dublin Area, a new ticketing system was introduced in 2012. Using the Leap Card, customers save up to 23% compared to cash payments.

The Minister of Transport plans to privatise 10% of Dublin Bus and Irish Bus routes from 2016, with the purpose of securing a better service at the same cost. The planning for privatisation is currently under a tendering procedure.

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United Kingdom

Glasgow has a large public transport system featuring busses, rail transport and one circular metro line. About one third of the modal split is done by public transport. The city has extensive plans to expand, improve and modernise the bus, subway and suburban train networks, especially in the run up to the Olympics in 2012 and Commonwealth Games in 2014. These plans also include the Clyde Fastlink, a dedicated bus link system separated from the rest of the network. Finally the city is also developing an integrated multi-modal smart card ticketing system.

Note: Due to an editorial mistake we claimed that the public transport system of Glasgow also included tram lines. This is not the case and we are thankful for informing us.

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Capital of Italy

Rome has a public transport system with metro, (trolley-) bus, tram and urban train lines. The system faces capacity problems in peak hours. An expansion and reorganisation of the public transport system started in 2008 and is planned to be completed by 2020. Within this time frame, both the metro and tram network is envisaged to almost double. Local railways will be expanded by about 10% by 2020. In 2014 the first part of the new line C was opened. Generally, the public transport fleet as well as public transport stations seem to be in very bad condition.

Monthly tariffs for public transport are relatively cheap compared to other Italian cities, taxi costs are about average compared to other European cities.

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Capital of the Netherlands

The Amsterdam public transport system is well developed and relies on buses, trams, ferries and a metro network. The municipality has stated that it will carefully develop its system as long as measures are cost-efficient. There are plans to increase the speed of trams on important routes and plans to improve the train service. The city is restructuring their network step by step. For example, they are abolishing the underutilized A-tramline and substituting it with other existing lines. Also, as a consequence of the new North-South metro line scheduled to be finished in 2017, the municipality expects that the number of bus lines will be reduced.

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Capital of Germany

Berlin has a good public transport system with a metro network, trams and buses. The city aims at promoting public transport and increasing its modal share. Nevertheless, it does not set ambitious targets. In the past years, the city has concentrated on renovating old network sections and stations, has increased public transport frequencies and has introduced measures for speed increase of buses and trams. The plans for the future include a further increase of metro frequencies, extensions of different tram lines and improvements in multimodal customer information. However, enormous sums of money are invested in big projects such as metro expansions on relations with already very good public transport supply (e.g. U5/U55 extension) instead of expanding the tram network. Positive is the extension of the tram line to the main station and from S-Bahn station Adlershof to Karl-Ziegler-Straße.

Compared to other cities in the ranking and compared to Berlin before 2011, the city shows little activities to expand public transport despite a continuous increase of customers. A new strategy, adopted in October 2014, contains an increase in budget and various measures to improve reliability, frequency and accessibility by 2018. This is positive and necessary, but comes very late. In the coming years the city also aims at increasing the capacity, especially in areas that experience high growth in population and rising demand of public transport for some years already.

Berlin suffers – like all other cities in Germany – from the refusal of the national government to commit to continuing the investments in public transport in cities.

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Capital of Portugal

Lisbon has a limited public transport system comprising a metro, buses and trams. The metro has four lines, of which one was extended by 4 km in 2012. However, there are major inconveniences: 5 years ago saw the first approaches to building a real network instead of separated metro lines, connecting three of the major underground lines. Tram investment in Lisbon, despite the touristic potential of this transport mode, has stopped for several years.

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Public transport has never been prioritised in Dusseldorf despite the high modal share of cars. Programmes for acceleration of the tram system have been adopted but implemented half-heartedly. Thus average speed of the trams or light rail vehicles is clearly below 20km/h.

The city planned the expensive construction of an underground metro line (Werhahnlinie) whereas tram would seem to have been a much more cost-effective solution with the ability to connect much larger areas in Dusseldorf to public transport. A new tram line to the harbour could be realized after heated debates. No other major investments or improvements in public transport have been agreed over the last years or are planned for the future, except for minor measures such as the U79 extension to Dusseldorf University. Instead, priority has been set on road construction measures

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Capital of Spain

Madrid traditionally has a comprehensive public transport system including metro lines, trams and busses. The modal split share varies from around 49% for the city area to over 60% in the city centre. However, in recent years since 2010, the public transport system has undergone a rapid decline due to lack of public investment. Since 2012, the city council has suppressed an annual subsidy of more than €100 million. The consequence was a substantial fare increase by an average of 21% between 2010 and 2013 as well as a decline in the public transport quality. There are about 16% less vehicles in the suburban railway system and frequencies dropped significantly. As a result, the public transport system has been loosing passengers in the last years (9% decrease in metro and 6% decrease in urban buses between 2011-2013).

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