|Country:||a) Western Europe,||b) Germany|
|Area:||City/Town, Rur/area/Village, 100,000 - 1 mill.|
|Funding:||Local government, Regional government, National government, Economic Sector|
|Topics:||Mobility and transport|
|Objectives:||Increase non-motorised mobility|
|Increase use of public transport|
|Reduce car mobility|
|Reduce energy consumption|
The dual-mode railway system of Karlsruhe is widely regarded as the model of a high-quality and well patronised local public transport system. It has earned the city the nickname The Mecca of local public transport. The successful track-sharing experience of the various Karlsruhe rail systems has revolutionised urban and regional public transport: Karlsruhe trams are running on the urban light rail system and on the heavy rail tracks of the German Railways. The Karlsruhe model of a dual-mode railway system is an outstanding example of best practice in urban development for the following reasons:
Transferability is the key to the creation of an effective public transport system that can serve the urban area as well as the conurbation as a whole. The linking of different modes is essential in the public transport sector in order to attract new passengers by offering travelling standards that can compete with the car. In Karlsruhe the peripheral location of the railway station initially required that a large number of commuters had to change from the railway to the tramway. This had two major disadvantages. Firstly, the trips became lengthy and, secondly, the passengers had to pay for an extra ticket due to non-integrated fares. It is obvious that the philosophy of the Karlsruhe public transport system started with the target of establishing intermodality between tramway and railway.
The concept of track-sharing between light rail and heavy rail vehicles had been investigated in an initial study by the German Federal Ministry for Research in 1984/85. The results triggered off the development of the so-called Karlsruhe Model. Three fundamental preconditions characterise the new approach:
The origins of the Karlsruhe model of a dual-mode transport system can be traced back to the 1950s. In 1957 the metre gauge Albtalbahn merged with the city tramway. The Albtalbahn is running south from its own station near the German Rail main station to the spa of Bad Herrenalb and Ittersbach in the Black Forest. At that time the railway was converted to a standard gauge and could be operated by city trams providing a through service to the city centre. The experience was exploited again in the period of 1979 to 1989 when the Albtalbahn service was progressively extended to the north of Karlsruhe by using the German Rail branch line. With the new connection to Neureut the basic innovation has been introduced. On the new line the railway leaves the separate railway line at special points and runs through village streets.
This development laid the foundation for a new concept of far-reaching operations on a mixed light rail and heavy rail network. So far it has been possible to install tramway overhead electrification at 750 V DC on the shared track sections but extensions need to operate with the 15 KV AC electrification of DB lines. Experiments were undertaken with a prototype battery and dual system trams. The dual system was found to be more efficient as the equipment allows voltage change with the tram in motion. The dual system vehicle type is supplied by the Duewag rail vehicle company which is part of the Siemens rail vehicle group. An important factor of the new type of vehicle is that it uses the safety standards of ordinary heavy rail vehicles (low passive safety) and thus allows travel at higher speeds in the region.
The area served by the integrated transport system has 1,200,000 inhabitants, including 270,000 from the Greater Karlsruhe area. Most of the served suburbs have between 25,000 and 30,000 inhabitants.
The practice of intermodality started in 1992 when the Karlsruhe Model, the so-called Stadtbahn (the city tram system), started its service between Karlsruhe and Bretten (30.2 km). This was the first route to be run on the heavy rail tracks (21 km) and which also includes a twin track section of 2.8 km due to the busy schedule on the German Rail line. This service has provided some significant changes:
On average the system has been adding one new line per year. In the meantime the Stadtbahn is running on its own network of approximately 400 km. The total network of the new corporate structure serves more than 600 km as some of the routes are rented from the German Rail. The service has been continuously extended in all directions. Since 1994 the region on the other side of the river Rhine has been connected to the City of Worth in the Land of Rhineland Palatinate. To the north the Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe und Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (VBK/AVG) has added the line to Eppingen to its corporate network after buying the line from German Rail. In the south the famous spa of Baden-Baden has been reachable by Stadtbahn since May 1994. However, the link to the Baden-Baden centre still has to be completed since the once existing railway network has been dismantled. The northern part of the Black Forest also became part of the co-operative structure of Karlsruhe in 1996. However, the routes to Baden-Baden and to Forbach in the Black Forest are both rented from the German Rail. The VBK/AVGs own track to Eppingen has been extended to the City of Heilbronn.
The first dual-mode line between Karlsruhe and Bretten proved to be highly successful. Since the opening in September 1992, there has been a more than 400% increase in passengers, and about 40% of the customers previously used their private cars. The number of passengers has also gone up on the weekends. Since the setting up of a co-operative structure for the travelling area in 1994 the former German Rail tickets have been sold by the VBK/AKB. Surveys into travel motives with the Stadtbahn showed that 38% of the passengers travel to work, 23% are on their way to training, 15% of the travel share is during leisure time, 12% of the travel is for shopping, and the remaining 12% are related to various reasons.
The success of the Stadtbahn is mainly due to the shorter travelling intervals, the increase in the number of stops and the higher comfort of the light rail system. In the central area, the tram stops every 400 to 500 metres. Thanks to faster acceleration and braking the VBK/AKB only requires three light rail vehicles for a comparable service previously operated by the German Rail with four diesel trains. The ecological benefit is an extra bonus. The difference in energy costs is about 18,000 DM per year / per train.
The increased speed and punctuality of the tram are aspects that make public transport an attractive alternative to the automobile for those living in the suburban and rural areas of the region. To achieve this, possible obstructions to tramways from car traffic have been reduced as far as possible. First of all, this involves giving the tram its own right-of-way. In the suburban and rural areas of the region this is the case without exception, while in the downtown area the tram runs partially on the street. Second, a comprehensive programme to accelerate traffic signals at over 100 intersections was implemented in order to avoid unnecessary waiting time for trams.
In addition, the schedule is designed to be rider-friendly, frequent and easy to remember. All downtown tram lines run all day every 10 minutes. During rush hour, trams run along the Kaiserstrasse every minute in each direction, sometimes with two cars connected together. The tram network is continually being extended downtown. The bus network in the entire region compliments the tram network and functions as a feeder service.
An environmental monthly pass (Umwelt-Monatskarte) costs 65 DM for the urban area. There are also special monthly passes for students and for senior citizens, the latter costing 42 DM. In the year 2000 the total number of passengers on the VBK/AKB amounted to 150 million.
Karlsruhe has also shown itself to be a pioneer in the harnessing of solar energy for public transit. A 1,000 m² solar panel was installed on the roof of the Centre for Art and Media Technology. This system provides 90,000 KWh of energy per year, which accounts for 1% of the Karlsruhe trams annual electricity needs.
The Karlsruhe Model can be regarded as an optimal solution of a public transport system that serves medium-sized cities and regions with a population of 200,000 to 500,000. At times of financial pressure the revitalisation of existing and under-used tracks is preferable to the construction of new and often parallel lines. In this context the Karlsruhe experience is a valuable asset in order to generate transferability of a successful system. Currently, the Verkehrs-Consult Karlsruhe GmbH (VCK), the consultancy subsidiary of the VBK/AKB, is helping to build several follow-up projects:
Other German cities like Dresden, Kiel, Ulm, Osnabrück, Paderborn, and Rostock are currently investigating the possibilities of an adoption of the Karlsruhe Model. In most cases these cities already had a light rail system which had been abandoned in the 1960s or 1970s.
In addition, the Karlsruhe Model has also had some impact in other European cities. In Austria the cities of Graz and St. Pölten are in the process of assessment with Austrian Rail (ÖBB). In Great Britain there is growing interest. Nottingham, Karlsruhes twin town, has completed the first planning phase of a new track-sharing system, the so-called Robin Hood line. Newcastle upon Tyne, the towns in the Medway valley in Kent, and Cardiff are further candidates for a system. The introduction depends on a change in financing on the local level. In Great Britain private funding of public transport is the normal case whereas in Germany the financing is via Land and municipality funding. Currently, the thinking is mainly directed towards the possible use of existing infrastructure. In France the Karlsruhe Model has been discussed for the region of Ile de France (8,120,000 inhabitants) and the cities of Marseille and Valenciennes. In the Netherlands, studies are being carried out in the Rijn and Bolenstreek region which includes the cities of Alphen aan Rjin, Gouda, Leiden, and Nordwijk. Similar planning has been initiated in Maastricht, Heerelen, and Kerkade. The City and Region of Luxembourg is also interested and the City of Ljubljana in Slovenia (260,000 inhabitants in the city and 360,000 in the region) is the first East Central European municipality which commissioned a feasibility study for 1995/96.
The total investment in the basic infrastructure and the first generation of vehicles amounted to 80 million DM. The new route to Bretten alone cost some 45 million DM in 1989 (excluding the ten dual-voltage vehicles). Other technical infrastructure investment is directed to the building of connection points, the building of depots, and the purchase of new rolling stock. The price of a dual-voltage light rail vehicle of the first generation was 4.5 million DM. 15% of the costs are taken by the dual-voltage equipment. The second generation of vehicles is expected to be less expensive.
Due to the German financing method of co-funding (Gemeinde-Verkehrs-Finanzierungsgesetz) the financing of vehicles is split between the national government (50%), the City of Karlsruhe (25%) and the municipalities and districts (Landkreise) in the region cover the remaining quarter.
The investment costs for infrastructure (e.g. electrification, twin tracks, park & ride facilities) are shared between the national government (60%), regional government of the Land of Baden- Württemberg (20 to 25%), and the local communities (10 to 15%).
It is interesting that Karlsruhe, like other cities with a well patronised public transport system, has one of the highest percentages of costs covered. Revenue from fares covers 66% of the costs in the area of Karlsruhe and 85% of the costs within the region.
At the time of the opening of the Stadtbahn between Karlsruhe and Bretten in September 1992 the VBK/AKB commissioned an evaluation study on the change in mobility pattern. The researchers selected the districts of Grötzingen (9,500 inhabitants) and Jöhlingen (4,500 inhabitants) as case studies. The two surveys were completed as a pre-survey in April 1992 before the service went into operation, and a second round of questionnaire was sent out a year later. Approximately 2,000 people participated by filling out the questionnaires or by giving interactive interviews.
The results underline that the new Stadtbahn has made an impact:
Drechsler, Georg 1987: Beispiel Karlsruhe: Aufbau des Strassenbahn- / Stadtbahnnetzes in der Stadt und Region Karlsruhe, in: Reinhardt Köstlin / Hellmut Wollmann, (Hg.), Die Renaissance der Strassenbahn, S. 297-334
Ludwig, Dieter / Emmerich, Horst / in der Beek, Martin, 1994: Erfahrungen mit der ersten Stadtbahn auf Bundesgleisen. Ein Jahr Gemeinschaftsbetrieb Karlsruhe Bretten, in: Der Nahverkehr, Nr. 1-2, S. 42-50
Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe und Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbh 1994: Potentiale für den öffentlichen Personennahverkehr, Karlsruhe
Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe und Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbh 1995: report Karlsruhe
Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe und Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft mbh 1995: Stadtbahn Karlsruhe- Bretten. Untersuchung über das Mobilitätsverhalten, Karlsruhe
Ludwig, Dieter / Kühn, Axel 1995: Das Karlsruher Modell und seine Übertragbarkeit, in: Der Nahverkehr, 13. Jg., Nr. 10, S. 12-22
Griffin, Trevor 1995: Trams on heavy rail tracks: The Karlsruhe experience, in: European Railway Review, November, pp. 55-57
Ludwig, Dieter 1995: Der regionale Schienenverkehr - am Beispiel des Karlsruher Modells, in: Hartmut H. Topp, (Hg.), Verkehr aktuell: Renaissance der Straßenbahn, Kaiserslautern, S. 61-67
|Telefon||:||++49 / 721 / 61 07 56 51|
|D- 76131 Karlsruhe|
|Telefon||:||++49 / 721 / 599 59 02|
|Telefax||:||++49 / 721 / 599 59 09|
|D - 76131 Karlsruhe|
The City of Karlsruhe has a population of approximately 270,000 and the region numbers some 1.2 million people. The region covers an area of 2,700 square kilometres. The City of Karlsruhe is a centre of administrative authorities as well as the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht). Karlsruhe has a Technical University and a nuclear test laboratory (Kernforschungszentrum). The City is near the River Rhine and has an important port in the Karlsruhe-Rheinhafen district.
Project was added at 27.06.1996
Project was changed at 05.03.2001