Tirana, the capital of Albania, announced plans to build two tram lines to increase the efficiency of urban traffic in its metropolitan area inhabited by over 800,000 people.
In 2012, Tirana municipality published a report according to which a project on the construction of two tram lines was under evaluation. The tram lines would have a total length of 16.7 km. This is the estimated solution of urban traffic problems and the answer to the people’s mobility demands. The public transport in Tirana is, for now, focused only in the city centre, so that the people living in the suburbs have fewer or no public transport connections. The municipality believes that pedestrian areas in the city centre will also be created with the construction of the tram lines.
Under the plan proposed by the municipality, the two tram lines will intersect in the İskender Bey square. The current public transport system in Tirana is made of ten bud lines served by 250 to 260 buses every day. The development of the tram network will provide an easier access to the city centre and beyond to necessary facilities, such as leisure areas or jobs without using personal vehicles.
Apart from the social benefits of a tram transport system – significant if we consider the sustainability of an eco-friendly urban transport – the municipality in Tirana believes that the investment will be profitable. Therefore, when developing profitability studies, the project should be considered as an investment through which the investor should obtain profit at the end of the previously established period of time which is generally 25 years, after deducting the expenses and the effects of inflation, shows the project proposed by the municipality in Tirana.
Based on the conditions imposed by the economic recession, but also by the difficulty of identifying considerable financial resources, two possible scenarios have been considered for the tram transport system. Therefore, the construction of the entire project is planned (tram infrastructure and civil engineering) by purchasing new vehicles and, the second scenario, the construction of the entire project (tram infrastructure and civil engineering), but this time using second-hand rolling stock.
According to the first scenario, the total cost of the project was estimated at EUR 130 Million, where 35% of the funds would be necessary for the acquisition of new trams, 32% of funds would go to civil engineering, 15% to depots and maintenance facilities, 12% to power supply systems and construction of catenaries and 6% to signalling systems.
The second scenario estimates the ne-cessary funds at EUR 99 Million, if trams previously owned by other public transport operator could be bought. The project authors say the method presented in the second scenario is used by many European cities with minimum investments.
In December 2012, the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) announced it would carry out a feasibility study and the preliminary design of the tram lines. The money for the study, worth EUR 750,000, was allocated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
According to the latest data, the Government in Prague announced in 2012 that it would consider all the alternatives for granting financing for the construction of the rail transport system in Tirana.