Railhuc project: Railway Hub Cities and the TEN-T Network

Central Europe cities are the “first/last legs“of transnational transport chains. These chains consist of local, regional and transnational transport systems. On the one hand high speed connections among rail hubs in Central Europe are being upgraded, especially on TEN-T networks and along the main intercity lines. On the other hand nevertheless rail and in general public transport bound feeder lines need to be upgraded, strengthened and better organized.
In order to enhance rail transport by improving the feeding functions on rail of major hub cities and their respective regions 11 partners from 7 countries cooperate in the RAILHUC project which is implemented through the Central Europe programme and co-financed by ERDF.

This project aims to improve Central Europe’s interconnectivity by an intermodal integration of rail hubs at 3 different levels into the TEN-T system, into regional and local transport rail and non rail systems.
Of course, each hub city has its own local characteristics in terms of size, traffic, catchment area, spatial and network structure and last but not least on development and integration level.
Nevertheless the local partners who are mostly local authorities, railway service provider companies, regional associations are strongly committed to increase the usage of rail. In order to achieve this aim se-veral work steps have been elaborated to get a clear picture about the current situation and the needs of each hubs. Firstly with the involvement of several sub-contractors who worked under the supervision of Project Partner No. 7 KTI Institute for Transport Sciences (Hu) data collection has started for mapping the “As is” situation together with the preliminary identifications of the bottlenecks. From the beginning of the project all of the interested local authorities, transport providers, civil associations were involved. At the same time 5 site visits were held in conjunction with the project meetings where examples of local good practice were presented. Later on further good practise from all around Europe has been sought and a catalogue of Good Practice was arranged. The Project Partners had to examine the option for adopt the collected Good Practices. Based on their answers several clusters were identified.
After collecting the models and concepts of hub integration into TEN-T regional and local transport systems (action 3.1) the second part (action 3.2) “Mapping and simulations on present flows” has started. Hence, on the basis of modelling and simulation methodologies prepared by KTI an independent modelling work was carried out by each hub for their specifications.
As it was mentioned before there were quite big differences between the hubs in many different aspects. In addition the general aim of increasing the share public transport, especially rail transport at these hub cities assumed different interventions due to local organisational and financial options. The future intervention design is also ongoing as a part of the next work package of the Railhuc project, however in this article we are focusing on the modelling activities carried out by each hub about the present services and infrastructure positioning. It is important to note that all the hubs are located on at least one TEN-T corridor which assumes the importance of modelling for the feeder traffic. On the other hand due to the fact that the current demand for long-distance especially international journey on most of the hubs is significantly lower than on local and suburban traffic the focus was hold on options of the improvement of the feeder traffic.
To conclude the positioning activities carried out at the different hubs several different actions were identified according the local needs and possibilities. Generally speaking the Western European hubs are close (Central German Metropolitan Region) or already having connection to the high-speed network (Reggio Emilia), but on the other hand the Czech and Slovakian hubs just started to prepare for the implementation of high speed network while the Slovenian & Hungarian hubs just planning it on a longer term. On local level the different motorisation rates of the hub cities are also different, but not as much as in the case of the train services. This means that the share of public transport is lower in most cases both in commuting and feeder traffic for the long-distance train services which are not always a viable option at the moment for travelling between the hubs. In some specific cases the rural accessibility problem was identified and suggested to be resolved with an integrated regional transport network with bus backbones leading to the main intermodal stations of the region (Vysocina (CZ), Western Transdanubia, Hu). In the ongoing further work steps the Project Partners will model the best fitting interventions for their future scenarios in order to sign priority agreements with the local stakeholders for ensuring the usage of the outputs of the Railhuc project in the everyday decision making.

There have been several different works carried out at the hub cities that can be summarised briefly:

In Emilia Romagna Region (Reggio Emilia hub)

• Passenger traffic in Reggio Emilia railway station has been investigated by a specific traffic survey.
• The survey was carried out in October 2012, on an overall sample made up of 443 passengers interviewed on 24 trains.
• The survey sample was casually chosen from the totality of passengers waiting to get on trains at Reggio Emilia railway station.
• Journey time, gender, nationality, travel purposes, travel frequency, origin-destination were asked
• In a previous european project (MMOVE ) specific mobility assessment has been done and synergies were obtained with the use some results for evaluating the potential future demand

In South Moravian Region (Brno hub)

• Qualitative analysis has been carried out which depicted the railway infrastructure in Brno Metropolitan area.
• Later on infrastructural bottlenecks and opportunities for the network and services development have been identified based on results of railway experts discussions.
• Data of customer satisfaction with regional public transport have been obtained in a survey that revealed needed service improvements.
• For the purpose of quantitative assessment of possible interventions surveys of passenger amount in regional trains and interregional trains have been carried out.

In the Vysocina Region (Jihlava hub)

Comprehensive modelling activity has been done with the involvement of an external expert company.
• Regional 4-step multimodal traffic model of passenger transport of the Vysocina Region has been constructing since 15th November 2012.
• The model is based on 755 traffic zones and involves all railways and roads and variations of services according to timetable (all train and bus links)
• 2 modelling times allow to model morning rush hours and 24-h average transport demand
• Travelers are distinguished according to their trip purposes – commuting to work, schools, leisure trips, other trips

Central German Metropolitan Region (Hubs of Dresden, Leipzig, Erfurt, Halle)

No new survey has been done, but extensive modelling activity took part in the whole region for local, regional and partially international level.
• No specific flow data / data of present passenger demand in rail services are available.
• Alternativ approach was adopted and commuter data (all-trip O/D matrix) were evaluated.
• Operation times of all hubs last 20 hrs per day at the minimum and regular frequencies on all rail lines and local public transport services.
• Lack of highly synchronised regular interval timetables increases total travel time for passengers at all transfer hubs, especially in the wider metropolitan area.
• Competitive travel time (compared to car) on long distance trips only on O/D links integrating HSR sections. Lack of competitive travel time especially on all transnational links (will be improved for Nuremberg/ Munich links as of 2017)

Western Transdanubia Region (Győr hub)

At Győr hub on the basis of existing databases a new model was built for the local and regional transport network with the following work steps:
• Input data
• Model zones
• Network model
• Demand model
• Calculation of network impedances
• Assignment results
• Traffic poles, network parameters & bottleneck
Slovakia (Bratislava and Zilina hubs)

Detailed analysis with the available databases and timetable structure around the two hub cities (Bratislava and Zilina) was carried out. The analysis aims at:
• Points of transfer: represented by the so-called catchment centres
• Proposed plan of lines: change the algorithm for generating the line routine for comfort of passengers
• Time scheduling of services: to create a table of proportional numbers of passengers in each hour of the day for each municipality.

Veneto Region (Venice hub)

The survey focuses on the usage of Venezia-Mestre station on a typical weekday by acquiring pieces of information on:
• Amount of riders entering and leaving the station;
• Trip related data about riders’ arrival modes at the station, trip origin, alighting station, purpose for travelling;
• The survey was performed on Tuesday 19th of February 2013 through pedestrians counting at the points of access and interviews of riders boarding the trains.

Slovenia (Ljubljana hub)

Detailed analysis with the available databases and timetable structure around Ljubljana hub was carried out. Different future development plans were assessed within the framework of Railhuc project.

Despite the relative good service level (frequency and quality of the trains), the following weaknesses were identified in the capital city of Slovenia:
• different micro locations for rail and bus stations (even when in the same settlement usually there is some walking distance between)
• no official P+R location connecting rail network
• no integrated ticket
• major urban bus junction (Bavarski dvor) and main railway station in Ljubljana are 400 meters apart (source: Google Maps)
• little coordination between suburban/regional bus transport and rail (small feeder role of bus transport)

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