Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

(Hybrid) tram in Bremen (Germany)

This task required the participation and co-operation of several partners with different roles in the planning process for a new border-crossing tramline. The planning and participating process was intensified and is taking longer than expected. The construction phase for the tramlines 1 and 8 is scheduled for 2009. The delay is partly due to the long debate on the appropriate route that the forthcoming tram is to take.

The delay may caused to some degree by political obstructionism. The recommendation of the voluntary local planning council “Planungsbeirat” has not been accepted by the social democratic party (SPD), so that the decision on the appropriate route could not have been taken for a long time. Round table and cost benefit analyses were important steps to increase the acceptance of residents, experts and politicians. The experience with the extension of tramline 4 served as a reference for tramline 1 and 8. For tramline 4, no quantifiable targets have been stipulated but it is clear that it should lead to a higher use and acceptance of public transport. The 2nd construction phase of the new tramline 4 was finished in Dec. 2002 and it opened as scheduled. Evaluation shows that the new tramline 4 attracts significantly more passengers (+40 % and higher) than the previous bus services. This means that residents who have never used buses in the before situation now get on the tram. 28,000 residents and public transport passengers will benefit from the tram train concept. Main innovative features/benefits: Renaissance of the tram (set up new tram lines) New tram routes that cross the border of the Land Bremen (it is very innovative for this region to include communities of Lower Saxony in tram planning procedures of the City of Bremen.) Use of a mixed service of heavy rail and trams - using an existing freight rail track.

The situation of integrating an underused rail track into a tram network is potentially transferable to many European cities as there are many underused rail corridors both with and without freight services. Market or application sectors & possible applications In general, the shift from bus to light rail in the suburban region is likely to be an efficient means of improving the public transport system so that it can compete better with private car usage. It also contributes to the development of the area.

Despite high investment costs, mainly covered by the national state and not by the communities, a positive effect can be expected, as the operation of PT is getting cheaper. In general a tramline extension can be recommended for other cities. Despite the benefits to the public, major projects always produce negative effects on some residents. The experiences from the extension of tramline 4 show that the majority of the affected population are in favour of the tram projects.

However, the involvement of the locally concerned, the public debate about the tram, and the consideration of informal and formal participation activities are essential. The arguments of opponents have to be taken very seriously and it is the task of the operator and the City to deliver comprehensive information about the process and targets of the project onsite. By no means should these activities and processes be viewed as factors that delay the implementation of the measures. They are likely to be necessary in each European country. A further lesson refers to the use of old or underused freight rail tracks.

There is a strong argument to revitalise those routes by running trams on them, but it is also necessary to plan easy access for passengers by close, convenient and safe access to tram stops for residents for the routes to be successful. Finally, the extensions of the tramlines across the administrative borders of Bremen are a step towards the construction of a metropolitan area including Bremen and surrounding municipal areas. Bremen is both a city and a state (Land). Barriers between the communities for a common region are much higher than for other German cities, like Hanover or Stuttgart. PT is fundamental for the building of such a region.

When Bremen and its surrounding municipalities agree on a common tram network, it is a big step forward. Potential barriers Tramline extensions are major projects, which affect the mobility patterns of many people and which also have various consequences for those concerned. They are very expensive and therefore they rely heavily on financing by the national state. They are controversial and they require political legitimacy and the acceptance of the citizens affected. The concrete alignments of new tramlines are a particular matter of dispute. These characteristics often cause a long lasting planning, participation and implementation phase, which can be seen as a barrier to realisation but also as necessary steps for a well accepted transport measure.

Reported by

BSAG Bremer Straßenbahn AG (PT operator)
Flughafendamm 12
28199 Bremen
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