Posts tagged light rail

Nieuw boek: Investeren in de stad; lessen uit 47 light rail projecten

Dit boek is een pleidooi voor investeren in de stad door middel van hoogwaardig OV, en in het bijzonder light rail. De economische en sociale betekenis van steden is groter dan ooit, terwijl het belang van duurzame ontwikkeling in toenemende mate wordt onderkend. Stedelijke bereikbaarheid per rail of met hoogwaardig busvervoer biedt bij uitstek mogelijkheden voor de totstandkoming van succesvolle steden. Dergelijke steden zijn goed bereikbaar, hebben een hoge ruimtelijke kwaliteit en hun economie gedijt binnen optimale infrastructurele condities. Succesvol ontsloten en verbonden met hun omgeving kunnen deze steden hun sociale barrières slechten en met hun infrastructuur uitstootvrije, duurzame mobiliteit faciliteren.

In Nederland is de afgelopen jaren gewerkt aan een reeks stedelijke OV-projecten. Met wisselend succes. Veel nieuwe stedelijke railinfrastructuur is gerealiseerd, maar veel projecten zijn ook mislukt, soms zelfs na jarenlange voorbereiding. In dit boek worden 47 casussen tegen het licht gehouden, waaronder drie grote projecten in Nederland: RandstadRail in de stedelijke regio van Rotterdam en Den Haag, Uithoflijn in Utrecht en de Groningse RegioTram. Uit het slagen en falen van deze projecten zijn lessen te leren waaraan geen enkele bestuurder, politicus, ambtenaar en wetenschapper zich kan onttrekken.

Het boek ‘Investeren in de stad. Lessen uit 47 light rail projecten’ van Rob van der Bijl, Bert Bukman en Niels van Oort is een uitgave van Milete Media.
Het geïllustreerde boek telt 174 pagina’s en kost € 34,50. Het is te bestellen via

Light rail implementation: success and failure aspects of Dutch light rail projects

Light rail has been successfully implemented in many urban regions worldwide. Although light rail has been a proven transport concept in many cities, there is much debate on the (societal) cost-benefit ratio of these systems. In addition to the success stories, several light rail projects were not that successful or even failed. In recent years, many light rail plans have been cancelled in The Netherlands, some after many years of planning and some even after the start of the tendering process or during trial operation. We want to know why this happened, so we will be able to support future design and decision making. This paper describes our research aiming at the answer to the question: what are the success and failure factors of light rail planning based on the Dutch experiences? This research has been performed as a survey, in which we investigated five projects, being light rail projects in the Netherlands (and one reference project in France) that either succeeded or failed in different project stages. The main conclusion is that several, multidisciplinary factors make a success or failure out of a light rail project. Projects do not fail just because a lack of funding, small political support or technical obstacles only. Rather than that, a combination of factors causes projects to fail. Subsequently, projects will only be successful if they are based on more than one success factor. Just a high potential ridership or political support is for instance not enough to guarantee a project to succeed.

Read the paper: TRB2015

EMTA Report: Light rail explained

The need for viable, cost effective and attractive public transport in high-density areas is immanent. Transport Authorities have a responsibility to foster innovations in urban transport and look at smart replies to match the growth of demand for quality mass transit. A good living climate, economic efficiency, social inclusion, sustainability and competitiveness depend on the capacities of a city to invest in high quality transport services. The authors of this paper explain what especially in urbanised areas should be main reasons to persuade cities to improve accessibility and liveability by engage and develop a light rail solution. It comes down to a very basic question: “why light rail?” or more in general “why chose for high quality public transport?”.

In a thorough evidence-based description Rob van der Bijl and Niels van Oort demonstrate how it has been overlooked that light right rail does not only provide benefits that are obvious to all, like speed and comfort,
but that in cost-benefit terms also reliability of service should be valued in money. Efficiency benefits
thereby are incomplete and therefore impeded chances on smart light rail realisation. If taken into
account the social context of projects and awareness of the influence of the difference in types of
legal context, governance and institutional legacy a transformation of urban networks by light rail
can be an asset to spatial urban revival. The Light Rail can be an impetus to the urban quality of
life and more importantly provide a sustainable way of accommodating mobility needs of city
denizens and visitors.

Read the full report: EMTA Report

Big data supports light rail business case

Transport planners are starting to consider how “big data” retrieved from passenger smart cards, computers and mobile phones could improve the design of urban rail networks and timetables, and improve operations by predicting ridership. Niels van Oort, assistant professor at Delft University of Technology, and consultant at Goudappel Coffeng, explains how big data was utilised to support the business case for a proposed light rail line in Utrecht.

Read the full article: Internation Railway Journal (URL) or Internation Railway Journal (PDF)

Success and failure aspects of light rail planning

The report ‘Light Rail in Nederland, een studie naar de succes- en faalfactoren over de ontwikkeling van light rail-projecten in Nederland’, was performed by twelve students from the Technichal University of Delft, supervised by Rob vd Bijl and Niels van Oort. They investigated which factors could make or break a light rail project. During the last decades, the term light rail became a very known concept. As a hybrid mode with the best characteristics of train, tram and metro combined, light rail became an important and desired mode of transportation.

Nonetheless, several important light rail-projects failed. Some of these project were in a preliminary stage, whilst others were already quite advanced. One project so advanced, operation trials were already performed. Five cases on light rail projects in the Netherlands
and France (reference project) were extensively investigated. Not only the internal parts of the project were investigated (plan and development stages), but in particular the external context is set out. Political context and sustainability and urban development are
important external factors.

The investigation of five cases- Uithoflijn (Utrecht), RandstadRail (Rotterdam and The Hague), Regiotram (Groningen), RijnGouweLijn (Gouda and Leiden) and Straatsburg (France) – led to an overview of factors that will make or break a light rail-project. Important success factors can be found in the project organization, the political context and (external communication). Dangerous fail factors are found in the political domain, the project organizations and the decision-making process. Often, the success and risk factors which are involved in a light rail-project are a truism. It seems quite obvious that these factors are taken into account. Nevertheless, the failure of several important light rail-projects proves that –unfortunately- these factors are underestimated.

Read the summary here: Light rail research

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