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Nova Terra on the EU supported project ‘Connected Cities’ / February 2007

nova terra on the eu supported project ‘connected cities’ / february 2007

3 editorial cohesion
6 connected edges
11 space and line
17 high speed investments
22 tramways in france – born again for urbanism
27 towards a new mobility concept for cities
32 covilhã: mobility in a mountain town
Nova Terra on the EU
Content 3 6 11
supported project
‘Connected Cities’,
February 2007.

Nirov, The Hague,
The Netherlands

Editorial Board
Jan Hein Boersma
Evelien Brandes
Huib Haccou
Frank van der Hoeven
(issue editor)
Derek Middleton
(English editing)
Anne Schram
Michiel Smit (editor in chief)
Athanasios Ziliaskopoulos
(guest editor)
17 22 27 32
Graphic design
Studio Bau Winkel

Gewa, Arendonk, Belgium

Nirov, Michiel Smit,
Postbox 30833, 2500 GV
The Hague, The Netherlands,
Office support:
Helen Kokshoorn,


Editorial tramways in france – born

3 editorial cohesion again for urbanism
Frank van der Hoeven Sophie Labbouz and Youssef Diab

Project part-financed
by the European Union Public transport and regional urban landscapes The potential of cybercars

6 connected edges towards a new mobility

Henrik Sander and Michael Koch concept for cities
Antonio Cunha, J. Varandas, Jorge Dias, Rui Rocha and Stefan van der Spek

A spatial survey for Stedenbaan 2010–2020

The South Wing of the Randstad 32 covilhã: mobility in a

The content of this
publication reflects the 11 space and line mountain town
views of the authors. Atelier Zuidvleugel Jorge Humberto, Gaspar Gonçalves and Frank van der Hoeven
The Managing Authority
is not liable for any use
that may be made of the 17 high speed investments
information contained
Detlef Golletz, Egon Walesch, Gösta Weber and Celine Chambron

Cover photo: Atocha station, Madrid (photo: Frank van der Hoeven, Rotterdam)
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 3

Editorial cohesion
Objective 1 Convergence Regions

Objective 1 Phasing-out Regions

Phasing-out (till 31–12–2005) Phasing-in Regions

Phasing-out (till 31–12–2006) Competitiveness and

Employment Regions
Special programme

Objective 2

Objective 2

Objective 2 (partly)

Phasing-out (till 31–12–2005)

Phasing-out (partly)
(till 31–12–2005)

Structural Funds 2004–2006: Areas eligible under Objectives 1 and 2 Structural Funds 2007–2013: Convergence and Regional Competitiveness Objectives

Frank van der Hoeven, TU Delft/ Faculty of Architecture, cohesion of this part of the city, our street was paved with noise
Lead Partner Connected Cities, Photos: Frank van der Hoeven reducing asphalt, two bicycle lanes were added, the pavement was
resurfaced and some trees were planted. In mid September the
The Interreg Community Initiative is an integral part of Europe’s residents held a street party to celebrate the reopening of the street.
regional policy. Interreg’s main objective is to strengthen economic The European flag was prominently displayed as the backdrop for
and social cohesion. In pursuing this objective the European Union the local musicians who entertained the party-goers. I would not
realised that it also has to consider the territorial dimension of even be surprised if the musicians’ fees were eligible for European
cohesion. No clear and precise definition of territorial cohesion has yet funding as part of the dissemination measures for the project.
been made, but as European regional policy focuses mainly on economic
and social disparities, territorial cohesion may follow a similar path. As the lead partner in an Interreg IIIC project, I could disseminate
This would put it on a course for easing the territorial disparities the experience of the renovation of my street by adding a fact sheet
that exist between countries and regions as a way to contribute to to the on-line guide to good practice on the connectedcities.eu
the Lisbon and Gothenburg objectives. What will be the territorial website. This would be appropriate because the renovation of the
consequences of Barroso’s call for a post-industrial revolution? street (part of an Urban II Community Initiative project) clearly

First and foremost,

As Interreg III comes to a close many of our partners are looking to the
future. What will the new cross-border, transnational and interregional
cooperation programmes under the Interreg IV ‘European Territorial
European regional policy
promotes solidarity
Cooperation’ objective bring us? In this editorial we look briefly at these
policy shifts and try to assess how they relate to our current initiatives.

the eu in your own street

Not many people know about Interreg IIIC, Interreg III, the combines sustainable mobility and urban development. Having
Community Initiatives, the European Regional Development Funds added this ‘good practice’ to the website I could even claim in our next
(ERDF), or any of the Structural Funds and European regional policy progress report to the Joint Technical Staff of Interreg IIIC West that
in general. These are not easy to explain to outsiders. Most of us we had increased the effects of the Structural Funds programmes by
occasionally come across a construction sign with the blue EU logo identifying another good practice related to the Structural Funds. It
with its fifteen yellow stars signalling an EU financial contribution may sound bizarre, but, in a nutshell, this is basically what European
to the project. I came across one this summer in my own street. regional policy is all about.
I moved to a new home in the Oude Noorden district of Rotterdam.
Apparently, this district is one of the few ‘Objective 2’ pockets in structural funds
the province of Zuid-Holland eligible to receive Structural Funds. First and foremost, European regional policy promotes solidarity.
As part of the programme for improving the economic and social The policy on reducing the disparities between regions and citizens Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 4

takes up about a third of the EU budget. It works mainly through In the transition towards the new programming period (2007–2013)
four Structural Funds, one of which is the European Regional three new objectives have taken the stage: convergence,
Development Fund. Besides the Structural Funds there are other competitiveness and cooperation. The eligibility map has been
financial instruments, such as the Cohesion Fund. drastically simplified. Interreg III will continue as Interreg IV, with
the Lisbon and Gothenburg objectives forming the main criteria
During the 2000–2006 period most of the Structural Funds were for assessing projects.
spent on three objectives. Objective 1 helps regions lagging behind
in their development. Objective 2 supports economic and social territorial imbalances
conversion in areas facing structural difficulties. Objective 3 is Awareness of a territorial component to European cohesion
about modernising training systems and promoting employment. policies has grown over the last six years. As a result, territorial
Financial assistance from the Structural Funds under such objectives cohesion has emerged as a new objective alongside economic and
is restricted to specific regions or areas. The result is a complex social cohesion. ‘The concept of territorial cohesion extends beyond
tapestry of Objective 1 regions and Objective 2 areas, as can be seen the notion of economic and social cohesion by both adding to this
on the eligibility map. and reinforcing it. In policy terms, the objective is to help achieve
a more balanced development by reducing existing disparities,
Besides Objectives 1, 2 and 3 and the Cohesion Funds, The Structural avoiding territorial imbalances and by making both sectoral policies
Funds support four Community Initiatives: Interreg III, URBAN II, which have a spatial impact and regional policy more coherent.
Leader+ and EQUAL. Interreg III was financed from the European The concern is also to improve territorial integration and encourage
Regional Development Fund and its mission was the development cooperation between regions.’2
of cross-border, interregional and transnational cooperation. Interreg
IIIC is the interregional strand of the programme. ‘Cooperations Discussion documents on regional policy mention a number of
under INTERREG IIIC shall give access to experience of other actors territorial imbalances and the high concentration of economic
involved in regional development policy and create synergies activity and population in the core area of the EU, referred to as the
between ‘best practice’ projects and the Structural Fund’s mainstream ‘European Pentagon’, the area between London, Hamburg, Munich,
programmes. The overall aim is to improve the effectiveness of Milan and Paris. The European Pentagon covers less than one fifth
regional development policies and instruments through large-scale of the EU15 land area, but contains over two fifths of its population
information exchange and sharing of experience (networks) in a and accounts for almost half of its GDP and even three-quarters of
structured way.’1 its expenditure on R&D. The concentration of people, wealth and

EU party in a Rotterdam neighbourhood.

NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 5

Maybe territorial
disparities are not
so bad after all

Illustration: Mietzeb, Rotterdam.

investments in the European Pentagon is not the only territorial The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), located in the
cohesion issue, though. The EU faces territorial imbalances in the north-west corner of the European Pentagon, is investing much of its
distribution of towns and cities, marked disparities between and energy in the HST network and the economic and social opportunities
within cities, intra-regional imbalances and regions with geographical it offers. But the United Kingdom itself is reluctant to build a high
handicaps. All of these issues should be examined in the light of the speed rail infrastructure outside the South East. At first glance, the
Lisbon and Gothenburg ambitions. Territorial development strategies HST looks like something that typically belongs to the European
and policies have to be aligned to Borraso’s call for a post-industrial Pentagon. Wrong again! Look at the HST network that Spain is building.
revolution. But again we could question if this is the right approach. If the aim
is to ease the stark differences between the European Pentagon and
The European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP) warns in their on-line the rest of the EU, it would seem to be a sound approach. But the
discussion paper on territorial cohesion that Europe might become inhabitants of Toledo, whose regional train service has been replaced
a boring place if we try to systematically eradicate the differences by the HST (AVE), are not at all happy about the steep price rises
between regions and places. The ECTP constitutes our Quality Team, that came with it.
so we should take such warnings seriously. But what does this mean
for our Guide to Good Practice? The mountain town of Covilhã is one of the few partners that clearly
suffers from a geographical handicap. The field demonstration of
connected cities the cybernetic transportation system organised by IPN would seem
Should we listen to the more sceptical view of Henrik Sander? to be a justifiable approach. But some doubts creep in here too.
The HafenCity Universität Hamburg, also rooted in the European On average, the people of Covilhã spend fifteen minutes travelling
Pentagon, seems to be well aware of the territorial shortcomings between their home and workplace. Living in the European Pentagon
of the Pentagon. Or should we applaud the Stedenbaan initiative, is rather different. To travel home from work I can choose to travel
which tries to bring rail mobility to as many citizens as possible in by car, take the train or use the cycle path in my street subsidised by
the province of Zuid-Holland? the European Union. No matter which mode of transport I choose,
during the rush hour my journey to and from work will take me
Sophie Labbouz (EIVP) shows that every self-respecting French town about three times as long as the equivalent journeys made by the
is re-embracing the tram in the fight against congestion and pollution. citizens of Covilhã. Maybe territorial disparities are not so bad after
What do we say to a partner city like Toledo that has set its mind on all. And who knows, the ECTP may be right to make some of their
building its own tram system? Should Toledo draw on the French criticisms.
experience? Or should we point out the territorial differences between
French and Spanish cities? The steep hill on which Toledo’s city centre Notes
1 Source: www.interregc3.net
is located could be one such difference: trams cannot climb the steep
2 Ibid
slopes in the centre and would have to bypass it. Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 6

Public transport and regional urban landscapes

Connected Edges
Just as regional urban landscapes depend on public transport for their further development,
an efficient public transport system itself depends on networks to connect regional urban landscapes.
Connected edges are an integral part of connected cities. Against this background we can observe
different trends and strategies, taking Germany as an example.

The German Autobahn near Essen. (photo: orange.edge, Essen)

Henrik Sander, HCU Hamburg, Department During the period of industrialisation there graininess of traditional urban structures
of Urban Planning was a direct relationship between public is being lost. This deconcentration affects
Michael Koch, orange.edge, Ruhr-Area transport and urban development. The not only the retail trade but schools and
expansion of Berlin by development kindergartens too. As the distance people
Traffic infrastructure is one of the main companies (Terreingesellschaften) was well have to travel increase, so do the volumes
determinants of urban development. coordinated with the development of the of car traffic. Each business park on a highway
The mobility revolution brought about by public transport network. The mobility creates jobs, but if these business parks are
trains during the industrial revolution broke patterns of the new citizens inevitably led only linked to the public transport network
down the spatial boundaries of cities, to high passenger frequencies on the public by irregular bus services they do not
allowing totally new forms of urban growth. transport network. In contemporary urban automatically raise the demand for public
Cities like Berlin expanded into more landscapes shaped by the individual mobility transport, but generate more car traffic.
outlying areas, penetrating even further into offered by the car, lifestyles, mobility patterns
the surrounding regions along the railway and patterns of demand are becoming diverse traffic patterns
lines. In the 20 th century the car enabled a extremely diverse, with serious implications Apart from spatial fragmentation, traffic
new scale of urban growth in more for public transport. flows themselves are becoming more and
dispersed suburbs, mainly in attractive more diverse. In the 1980s, traffic planning
landscapes between the main railway lines, Changes in traffic patterns are not only was still about managing traffic flows
stimulated by low real estate values and influenced by the suburbanisation of housing, characterised by commuter traffic and its
good traffic access. but also by the suburbanisation of the retail highly concentrated peaks. Today, commuter
industry, which is becoming increasingly traffic in Germany only accounts for 20%
concentrated in fewer and bigger locations of the total traffic volume, whereas leisure
in non-integrated areas. The small-scale traffic accounts for 50%. Leisure traffic is
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 7

Since 1945 60%

of all regional
train services
more diverse both spatially and temporally a decline to 60 million inhabitants by 2050
and therefore even more car-based than if there is no significant immigration.

have been closed

commuter traffic, which itself is becoming This demographic change itself will lead
less predictable due to shorter and more to a dramatic decline in demand for public
flexible working times. The growing functional transport, a trend that can already be seen
independence of suburbia creates stronger in regions dominated by school traffic. estate developments like the AirRailCenter
internal relationships in the outskirts of cities Frankfurt and the conversion of the main
and increasing levels of tangential traffic flows No conclusive answers have yet been put station of the city of Leipzig into a major
that are more difficult to integrate into radial forward on how public transport can face the shopping mall. But despite investments in
public transport networks. challenge of fragmented urban structures, the ICE system, cuts are being made in
As for the radial based public network, in demographic decline and increasingly regional and local connections. In recent
Germany a discussion is taking place on the individualised patterns of demand. years many regional connections have been
‘renaissance of inner city districts’. The diverse By definition, public transport depends on cancelled and InterCity connections replaced
modes of transport available in the inner city spatial density and more or less constant by RegionalExpress lines. Since 1945 30% of the
are making it an ‘infrastructure home base’ for traffic flows. The coverage of whole regions, rail network, 60% of all regional train services
flexible working and suitable for the lifestyles one of the prerequisites for the efficiency and 43% of all stations have been closed.
of the knowledge-based society. But this of main lines, can hardly be assured. At the To provide a flexible connection to the regions,
trend cannot wipe out the social and spatial same time, subsidies for public transport Deutsche Bahn is offering more car-based
developments of the last 100 years. Future are declining and are already leading to services like Park+Ride and agreements
urban development will be characterised by price rises and line closures. with car sharing companies, and has been
the simultaneity of centrifugal and centripetal expanding its car parking space at stations
forces, as well as by a complex diversity of contraction of the rail network since 2005. The newly founded DB BahnPark
individual working and living patterns. Deutsche Bahn is concentrating on the company will develop and operate multi-
ICE high speed train, which provides fast storey car parks close to the main stations.
demographic decline connections between major cities, for example Pursuing this strategy to its logical conclusion
The ‘renaissance of inner city districts’ Hamburg-Berlin and Munich-Cologne. will lead to a point where the coverage of
will have only minor impacts on public Deutsche Bahn is also building new regions is abandoned in favour of
transport because of the long-term dominant intersections. The new train station at concentrating on the main lines that can
demographic trend. The Federal Statistical Frankfurt Airport, for example, now has more be operated efficiently, supported by highly
Office predicts a decline in German population high speed ICE connections than the main developed station areas. Car-based services
from about 83 million now to 75 million in station in the city. The major stations are being such as Park+Ride, car parks or car-sharing
2050 (figure one). The Institut für upgraded and developed under a ‘renaissance arrangements will then take over the
Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) is even predicting of train stations’ strategy, including real connections to the regions. A highly developed
paratransit system would make this scenario

-ILLION -ILLION a serious proposition.

SCENARIO (IGH the city of short distances
6ARIANTEßß SCENARIO In response to the growth of regional
urban landscapes the German government
developed an urban planning strategy called
  ‘the city of short distances’. This concept is
based on the pattern of the historical European
  city with mixed of housing, employment, retail
SCENARIO and other uses. This type of concept can be
  implemented successfully in traditional
medium-sized cites like Freiburg with an
attractive urban fabric. Between 1982 and
1999, the modal share of public transport in
Freiburg was raised from 15% to 26%, while
ß ßß the share of car traffic declined by 4%. This
has made Freiburg more attractive, but it also
Figure 1: Demographic development of Germany. (source: Statistisches Bundesamt, Bonn, 2003) made housing in the city more expensive Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 8

dynamic centres – due to rising oil prices and

the demographic trend. Instead, there will be
a process in which regional urban landscapes
will ‘settle down’. The trend towards single-
person households and a continuing demand
for housing will lead to a more homogeneous
distribution of the population density.
AirRailcenter, Frankfurt. (source: Deutsche Bahn AG) This process of inner suburbanisation on a
regional scale cannot be countered by the
and speeded up the movement of residents a contradiction in itself: density is not what concept of the city of short distances, nor can
into the suburbs. Paradoxically, the successful people are looking for when moving to the it be reversed by concentrating development
implementation of the strategy is generating edge, whereas public transport needs a certain around points on the main railway lines,
growing traffic problems despite the traffic density to remain economically viable: as Deutsche Bahn is doing. However, the
management measurements. Moreover, as – 1,000–1,500 residents within a walking process of inner suburbanisation offers
an attractive centre for the region Freiburg distance of 300 meters to bus stop the opportunity of connecting existing
has to cope with increasing commuter traffic. – 3,000 residents within a walking distance settlements and traffic structures more
of 400 meters to a light rail station efficiently. This process will not be based
New urban developments like Rieselfeld in – 4,000 residents within a walking distance on large-scale urban development projects,
Freiburg are also part of the strategy of short of 500 metres to a regional station but on several small-scale measures for
distances. This new district, providing homes optimising regional urban landscapes and
for 12,000 residents and 1,000 jobs, with high inner suburbanisation their infrastructures.
quality public transport links realised at an It can be assumed that regional urban The classic approach within this context is
early stage of the development, is a prominent landscapes will not continue to grow densification on brownfield sites, which needs
showcase for a successful mix of functions. significantly - with the exception of some to be planned in relation to public transport
But most new urban developments suffer
from the basic problem that a historic mix
of functions is missing. Contemporary
economic and social conditions make it
almost impossible to create such a mix,
and even where mixed-use developments
can be created, diverse lifestyles and
mobility patterns do not automatically
mean that residents use public transport.
And if public transport connections are only
provided at a later stage of development or
the level of service provision is too low,
car-oriented mobility patterns emerge that
are difficult to change later.

The fragmented political/administrative

structure of regional urban landscapes makes
it difficult to realise the ‘city of short distances’.
The logic of short distances is neither a
sufficient reflection of urban reality, nor
is it a fully developed planning tool under
contemporary conditions of urban
development. This logic may work in
traditional inner city districts, but these are
only a small part of the urban system in
relation to the dynamic and fast-growing
urban edges. Urban density in these spaces,
for example at public transport stations, is Freiburg Rieselfeld: 12,000 residents, 1,000 jobs. (source: Stadt Freiburg)
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 9

Karlsruhe Stadtbahn: integration of local and regional rail systems; passenger numbers increased six fold. (source: www.karlsruhe.de)

so that public transport at the edges does points, a reduction in travelling times and good park was connected to the nearest S-Bahn
not follow on the heels of suburbanisation. connections to other modes of transportation. station by a hanging monorail, or ‘sky train’.
Ruhrauenpark on the southern edge of the Saarbrücken, Chemnitz, Zwickau and other The sky train cut the travel time to the main
city of Bochum is a good example of towns now operate similar systems. Some station to 15 minutes. Further extensions of
coordinated urban and traffic planning within municipalities have even begun to concentrate the sky train are planned.
the context of existing urban structures. their urban development along these lines.
The development of around 600 housing units The development of business estates is In suburban areas, paratransit systems are
on the site of a former freight depot offered rarely coordinated with public transport often used if bus lines cannot be run
the opportunity to extend an existing light planning. Office parks or shopping centres economically. These are mainly used as a
rail line, not only to serve the housing on greenfield sites, with their spacious car substitute in times of low demand and today
development but also to connect to a nearby parks, are almost synonymous with the are isolated systems with quite complicated
railway museum. Americanisation of European cities. logistics. But these substitutes could
The integration of these sites into public potentially serve bigger regions without
The Karlsruher Modell is another example of transport systems, however, is a precondition creating long travel times due to transfer
the opportunities that the optimisation of for a public transport system that covers a problems. The system is adaptable and can
existing infrastructure offers on a regional whole region. Nevertheless, the inclusion of cope with different mobility patterns with
scale.1 In the early 1990s the city of Karlsruhe these sites in the planning process is difficult: variable destinations such as commuting or
developed a system called Stadtbahn that in contrast to housing developments, years leisure traffic. This, however, would require
allowed Deutsche Bahn tracks to be used by can pass between planning and final a massive service with efficient technology
light rail vehicles to connect the city efficiently realisation. Nevertheless, such sites can be and corresponding advertisements to boost
and economically with the region. Passenger effectively integrated into public transport acceptance, something that has not yet been
numbers increased six fold. Today, 100 light networks at a later stage. The Dortmund done. Jerry Schneider calculated that 10,000
rail vehicles operate on 470 km of railway technology park near the university has taxi-buses could replace the entire bus system
tracks. The basic principle behind this success been under development since 1985 and in London, and offer a door-to-door service.2 Y
story is a combination of low investment and today houses 235 companies with around
operating costs, a reduced number of transfer 8,400 employees. In 2003 the technology
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 10

10,000 taxi-buses could replace

the entire bus system in London,
and offer a door-to-door service
renaissance of stations medium term the local authority is planning
The aforementioned ‘renaissance of train a Bike+Ride station and a café as additional
stations’ has some spectacular showcases, services. In Harburg, a southern district of
like the 30,000 m 2 shopping centre within the city of Hamburg, the station has been
Leipzig main station, developed by Germany’s transformed into a ‘cultural station’ providing
leading shopping centre construction and additional amenities. The former first class
management company ECE. But the example lounge is now home to the local art society
of the shopping centre cannot be used for and regular exhibitions of contemporary
the functional and ‘psychological’ upgrading artists are held in 300 m2 of exhibition space.
of small and medium-sized stations. A jazz club has been based at the station since
The integration of these stations into the 2004, making the station a lively place even
urban environment is much more complicated at night.
because shopping centres cannot be run
economically in such stations. No specialised All these different strategies are reactions
development companies have yet emerged to the two central challenges facing public Leipzig main station: 30,000 m2 shopping centre.
(source: ECE Projektmanagement)
for small and medium-sized stations. How can transport: an ongoing suburbanisation and
these stations once again be integrated into a declining population. Both trends lead to
public life? Ticket machines and architectural declining population densities, casting doubt
restoration alone are not sufficient to increase on the long-term viability of traditional public taxi and train will have to become elements
their appeal. transport systems. The gap between urban in an integrated mobility system based on
development and public transport can only new forms of infrastructure, such as
There are some examples of how stations can partly be bridged by traditional concepts of information networks and nodes.
be upgraded in relation to local demands, line-based public transport systems. Public The challenge is to fully integrate the various
mostly initiated by local authorities. transport needs to adapt to suburbanisation modes of transport, overcoming the
The municipality of Bönen in North Rhine and the diversity of space as well as to stereotyped thinking of public transport
Westphalia transformed its station into a declining densities and the individualisation versus individual transport, both on the supply
Bürgerbahnhof (Citizen Station). The main of society on a regional scale. The rigid side as well as the demand side. In essence,
communal services are no longer provided boundaries between different modes of this means an efficient main line network
at the town hall but at the station. In the transport will disappear in future: car, bus, with flexible connections to the regions,
with car-sharing or taxi-buses replacing the
traditional line-based public transport. Such
a system would be able to connect urban
edges by reacting to individual lifestyles as
well as the more equal distribution of traffic
flows over time. But as the strategies are
not coordinated – paratransit in particular
is rarely a vision for the future, but more
a substitute for periods of low demand – it
is doubtful whether in the long run public
transport will be able to connect the edges
or disappear from the edges.

1 See: www.karlsruher-modell.de
2 See: www.taxibus.org.uk

Reactions to: sander@nova-terra.net Y

Suburbia. (photo: Henrik Sander)

NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 11





A spatial survey for Stedenbaan 2010–2020

The South Wing of the Randstad

Space and line

Western European cities are tending to spread and coalesce into lower
density urban regions. As new centralities emerge within these urban fields,
public transport systems will have to evolve from monocentric hierarchical
structures into multinodal homogeneous networks. The Stedenbaan project
in the South Wing of Randstad Holland can make a major contribution to the
emergence of such a regional public transport network and support the
spatial development of the region.

Atelier Zuidvleugel, Commissioned by the Stedenbaan Spatial Development Committee Spatial transformations along the Stedenbaan.

The Zuidvleugel, literally translated as the ‘South Wing’ of the Randstad, The ‘Space and Line’ spatial survey is one of a series of studies
is being transformed from a series of separate urban regions into a examining several aspects of the Stedenbaan project. The survey
single cohesive metropolitan area with a heightened level of interaction provides an overview of present and future spatial conditions in the
between functions. The regional road network and public transport station areas along the Stedenbaan line and reveals the opportunities
system have not kept pace with these changes and are unable to meet for their development. The study also shows the benefits of coordinating
the growing demand for transport. In 2004, the Bestuurlijk Platform development in the 47 station areas. Many of these areas are not
Zuidvleugel (South Wing Administrative Platform, a partnership of the intensively used at present but most are built up, the main uses being
local and regional authorities in the area and Zuid-Holland provincial housing, employment and mixed-use functions. The Stedenbaan project
council) decided to take a critical look at the mismatch between the will include development of greenfield areas but will also certainly
dynamics of urbanisation and transport development. The Stedenbaan involve redefining the existing urban area with a view to greatly
project was launched in response to these developments and combines improving accessibility.
two strategies:
– The creation of a high-frequency public transport system on the The survey was carried out in three stages, examining (a) what
existing national rail network developments are feasible in terms of quantity, (b) what
– A regionally coordinated urban development programme based developments are most promising, and (c) what local developments
around the stations on the rail network are desirable in terms of their contribution to the objectives for
This ‘dual-purpose strategy’ rests on the assumption that transportation the South Wing region as a whole.
and spatial development influence each other. A powerful planning
instrument can be created by identifying the various links between feasible
urban development and the infrastructure network and exposing their As a first step, an inventory was made of the areas within the
development potentials. Not only will this improve overall accessibility spheres of influence of the Stedenbaan stations that will undergo
in the South Wing, it will also be a crucial element in formulating a change between 2010 and 2020. This inventory was based on plans
growth strategy for the region based on integrated urban and network drawn up by local and regional authorities, and hence provides a
development. This will have an important impact on the economic widely accepted picture of the future development space around
development and physical appearance of this metropolitan region, the stations. Y
as well as its environmental, social and cultural potential.
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 12

The study shows the

benefits of coordinating
development in the
47 station areas @A7555#6"7

The zones within a 1,200 metre radius of the Stedenbaan stations

have a combined area of 18,000 hectares, or about a quarter of the
urbanised area of the South Wing. About 20% of this area – as large
as the towns of Delft and Voorschoten together – will be subject to
development between 2010 and 2020. The local authorities have
designated many of the station areas as housing or mixed-use zones.
Employment zones are also projected, mainly in the form of business
sites rather than single-use office parks.

The initial results of this inventory indicate that the targets for new
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uses set by the stakeholders can be met. If the land is developed at

the average densities already found along the Stedenbaan line, the
area around the stations will be able to accommodate more than
40,000 dwellings and 1,000,000 m2 GFA of office space. Besides
clarifying a feasible development programme, this first step provided
an overview of ongoing and projected spatial transformations along
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the line, a crucial basis for the exchange of ideas in a development

project consisting of several dispersed but interconnected locations. Size of the spatial transformations.

promising The station areas often correspond closely to one particular typology.
The dual-purpose strategy is based on developing a traffic and For example, Rotterdam Central closely matches the ‘city centre’
transport concept in combination with a spatial development strategy. typology, while Schiedam Kethel is more like the ‘rural’ typology.
However, this integrated urban and network development is not just However, station areas can have a combination of indicators that
a simple equation for delivering a given number of journeys and more correspond to two or more different potentialities. The results of this
intensive land use. Mobility networks influence a variety of spatial analysis show the existing potentialities of the stations on the strength
characteristics, such as the size of cities and towns, the intensity of of their position in the network and their spatial characteristics.
functions, the degree of mixed use and the decentralisation of They also show what characteristics of the network or the station area
activities. In turn, spatial characteristics influence the development must be changed in order to encourage a particular development.
and use of networks.
The second step of the survey consisted of an inventory of the existing The integrated planning of urban development and network
relations between the areas and networks along the Stedenbaan line. development can make use of the interactions between them not only
These relations were determined using a set of indicators which to ensure better access within the South Wing, but also to make a broad
describe the positions of the stations within the network and the impact on the economic development, the social and cultural potential
characteristics of the surrounding areas that will be influenced by and the physical appearance of this metropolitan area. For instance,
the network: (a) the degree of access by public transport and (b) by urban sprawl and fragmentation of the landscape are caused partly
car, (c) local housing and employment densities, and (d) the degree by the growth of high-speed traffic. The low density this creates in
of mixed use. Drawing on existing knowledge about how spatial and turn reduces the support base for services and so generates even more
network development influence each other, nine potential developments traffic. Higher densities will make public transport viable and good
were outlined for typical situations found along the Stedenbaan. multimodal access is an important characteristic and prerequisite for
These nine potentialities can be seen as ‘Stedenbaan typologies’. attractive and sustainable mixed-use areas.
They describe developments that are promising since they are The coalition of public parties involved in Stedenbaan – over twenty
inspired by the impacts of the transport network on specific areas local authorities, five regional alliances, one provincial council and
and vice versa. The nine ‘Stedenbaan typologies’ are described briefly central government – have set a broad range of goals for the future
on page 13. development of the area. Furthermore, commercial and semi-public
organisations are also becoming interested in a supraregional
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 13

stedenbaan typologies Cities of the Future: easily accessible and Randstad Hubs: not intensively used areas,
Rural Areas: spaces in the middle of the dense housing areas; can gradually expand but highly accessible by road and local public
landscape for low density housing into mixed-use developments with their transport; excellent places for experimental
development and recreational use. own identity. new employment and mixed-use areas.
Small Towns: new housing sites close to Business Sites: extensively used areas along Creative Cities: urban centres accessible by
the small towns that can expand into the motorway to be turned into intensively every mode of transport, well suited to new
autonomous, compact, lively, multifaceted used employment zones. urban-type dwellings and creative
communities set in the countryside. Supraregional Crossroads: areas linked to workplaces.
Outskirts of Cities: restructuring areas on one of the major motorway intersections in City Centres: key sites, well served by every
the quiet, spacious and green edges of the the South Wing; highly suitable for mode of public transport but less accessible
cities; these qualities are consolidated, developing services with a supraregional by car; will have to be better designed for
enhanced and used. function. users of public transport.

approach to local development owing to the fact that a variety The developments which are promising because they are supported
of environments responds better to a variety of market demands. by the existing networks and areas (the potentialities) contribute to
Unsurprisingly, there are conflicts between some of the objectives higher-level goals in varying degrees. The three scenarios have been
of the various stakeholders in the region and between the different drawn up to reflect different aims. In each scenario the potentialities
administrative levels (local, regional, provincial and national). are assigned to the stations differently because they contribute to
Following the inventory of development sites in the Stedenbaan the relevant aim to a greater or lesser degree. The scenarios are
station areas and the review of the potentialities, the last stage outlined hereafter.
of the ‘Space and Line’ study explored possible aspirations for the
Stedenbaan project. Three scenarios were used to assess how these The Densification scenario
potentialities can be exploited to achieve the goals at the supraregional This scenario is in line with the National Spatial Strategy, which
level. The Stedenbaan scenarios show how local choices can support states that from a traffic/transport perspective it is important to
objectives at a higher scale, and therefore also show how the make maximum use of the potential for densification within the
ambitions of the Stedenbaan project can steer decision-making sphere of influence of transport hubs in order to create attractive
at the local level. cities and towns. Y



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NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 14

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Plans for the 47 station areas involved in Stedenbaan.

The South Wing Network scenario transport and not in places where it is also likely to generate a good
In this scenario the metropolis is not defined as a single urban deal of vehicular traffic.
planning concept, but as a coherent programmatic whole. The
scenario offers maximum diversity of services and locations within The outcomes of the modelled scenarios show that in all scenarios
given temporal and spatial constraints. The quality of the location is the quantitative goals for new housing and employment uses are
based on accessibility and on the sites designated for housing, met. In the Densification scenario the amount of new housing in
recreation and employment. The main goal within this scenario is dense urban environments goes far beyond the projected market
the formation of networks. demand. This scenario also demonstrates that when densification
is the prime goal it leads to the development of a one-sided offer
The Sustainability scenario of working environments. The South Wing Network scenario delivers
The aim of this scenario is sustainable development. Great value is a lower volume of development in terms of square metres of floor
placed on the potentialities for densification in existing urban areas, space, but a broad variety of both housing and employment
for mixed-use, and hence more sustainable, development, and environments. It also makes the biggest contribution towards the
which preserve the typical landscape. These potentialities support development of an emerging regional transport network. However,
densification only where it will generate passengers for public the high proportion of development with supraregional functions will
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 15

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generate additional traffic. The positive effects of the Sustainability culture and development control powers are devolved to regional and
scenario can be seen in the outcomes for the environment and the particularly local authorities. Apart from a few major infrastructure
preservation of open landscape. As expected, this scenario generates and urban projects of national importance, most urban and
the least amount of car traffic. infrastructure developments that exceed the boundaries of a single
local authority have to be initiated, developed, coordinated or managed
from potentials to concrete ambitions by regional authorities or coalitions of local authorities (either
Emerging metropolitan regions require not only new forms of statutory or informal arrangements; the South Wing Administrative
transport but also new methods of spatial planning. Because Platform is an example), and often in partnership with developers
interaction within the region transcends traditional planning and other stakeholders. Such initiatives often have to be developed
boundaries it raises a number of questions, such as: Which through a complex process of agenda-setting and negotiation.
developments should be planned and managed at the regional level?
How much coordination between all parties involved (public The ‘Space and Line’ survey by the South Wing Studio contributes to
authorities and market players alike) is necessary? Which quality the ongoing development of the Stedenbaan project and the South
standards should be set and enforced at higher levels? And how can Wing as a whole. The first and foremost task of the survey was to put
all this be organised and managed? Currently, in the Dutch planning the Stedenbaan project onto the regional planning agenda. The idea Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 16
is that synergy and commitment can be stimulated by giving all the #REATIVEß#ITIES
parties, both public and private, access to the same information and 3UPRAREGIONALß#ROSSROADSß
basic understanding. The parties involved do not always have to make
hard-and-fast undertakings, but can work in a situation in which
plans and development programmes are continually coordinated,
refined and realigned. The stakeholders will work in a network
structure whose components are flexible and can respond to new
developments. A sound, flexible process will be vital for a project that
encompasses the metropolitan area of South Holland, involves a wide
variety of actors and will take half a generation to complete.

Secondly the study assesses the merits of the project not only for
the 47 individual station locations but for the entire South Wing.
It aims to provide a broad understanding of what can be achieved The Densification
at the regional level by a large-scale project such as Stedenbaan: scenario.

the satisfaction of market and transport demands within the region, 2URALß!REAS
the creation of a variety of complementary living and working /UTSKIRTSßOFß#ITIES
environments that offer a wide choice and flexibility to meet "USINESSß3ITES
changes in market demands, and development that is environmentally #REATIVEß#ITIES
and socially sustainable. These qualities are based on the existing #ITYß#ENTRES
potentialities found along the Stedenbaan line.

The present agreements between the leading partners in the

Stedenbaan project draw on the dual-purpose strategy only for
the purpose achieving their most direct goals: to generate more
travellers and accommodate major housing and employment
developments. But integrated urban and network development can
also be a strong catalyst for developing and enhancing the qualities
of a metropolitan region. The purpose of the ‘Space and Line’ survey
was to explore and describe more ambitious aspirations for the
Stedenbaan project. The results demonstrate that a much wider
range of objectives can be met.
The South Wing
Network scenario.
about atelier zuidvleugel 2URALß!REAS
Zuid-Holland provincial council established the Atelier Zuidvleugel /UTSKIRTSßOFß#ITIES
(South Wing Studio) in May 2005. The studio is supported by the "USINESSß3ITES
municipalities of Rotterdam and The Hague, the Bestuurlijk Platform 2ANDSTADß(UBS
Zuidvleugel (the South Wing Administrative Platform), the Ministry #ITYß#ENTRES
of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) and the
Habiforum and Transumo research programmes, who are now
co-owners of the project. The studio was set up to study the evolution
of the network city in the Randstad, the conurbation in the west of
the Netherlands. It focuses on the effects of the increasingly complex
and widespread social and economic interactions on the spatial
development of the South Wing, the southern part of the Randstad.

Reactions to: zuidvleugel@nova-terra.net Y

The Sustainability
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 17

One of the biggest challenges facing the European Union

is to provide its citizens with a sustainable and competitive
alternative to road and air traffic. Gösta Weber, project
coordinator for HST4i, explains how two European investment
projects – HST4i and HSTconnect – will increase the value of
the High Speed Train (HST) network across North West Europe.

High speed investments

The HST Partnership.

Detlef Golletz, Egon Walesch, Gösta Weber Lille make them attractive to surrounding Since their inception in 2002/3, the HST4i
and Celine Chambron South East England regions, such as the Belgian border region and HSTconnect projects have become more
Development Agency (SEEDA), Guildford, UK of Leiedal. These regions are starting to form relevant than ever. The steep rise in energy
economic clusters with the HST network as prices, especially crude oil, together with
At its outset, the international High Speed initial attractor. In return, strong and attractive conflict and political instability in some of
Train (HST) Network in Europe was conceived HST hubs pave the way for better services the major oil producing regions, have brought
to connect the major European capitals like and further enlargement of the HST network. the potential risks of Europe’s heavy reliance
London and Paris. Since then the network has on oil and natural gas into sharper focus.
grown so that today the HST network in North The HST projects facilitate this process on The connected geopolitical dangers, as
West Europe gives not only major European different levels. First of all by co-funding well as the direct and indirect costs of this
cities like Brussels, Frankfurt and Amsterdam regional investments that improve the dependency, are enormous.
the opportunity to profit from this sustainable accessibility of the HST network; secondly,
form of public transport, but also other by bringing decision makers from different The transport sector is already one of the
European regions along the HST network. regions and different countries together to biggest consumers of petrol and consumption
The regions in close proximity to the HST discuss and develop common economic and is set to grow in future, according to most
network see it as an opportunity to link their spatial strategies; and last but by no means forecasts. Rail, however, is one of the most
regional economies to global hubs like London least, by raising awareness on a European and energy-efficient transport modes. It is still
and Paris and also to jointly achieve critical national level for the needs and aspirations growing as a market (though slower than
economic mass. For example, the advanced of the HST regions and the potential of the other transport modes) and has the potential
HST infrastructure of regional HST hubs like HST infrastructure. to significantly increase its passenger and Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 18

freight mileage year after year. The HST Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) – European regions. For example, the low
Partnership was established to invest in Thames Gateway Strategic Executive, Greater capacity of South East England’s ports
creating a higher value European HST London Authority (GLA) causes congestion and storage problems
network to satisfy the transport needs of at French harbours.
European citizens in the most efficient, south east england – transport bottleneck
reliable and sustainable way as possible. The South East England Development SEEDA Chairman, James E Brathwaite CBE,
Agency (SEEDA) is one of nine regional describes in his introduction to the new
partnerships development agencies in the UK. SEEDA Regional Economic Strategy (RES) 2006–2016
The HST projects are being driven by is responsible for the social and economic how critical better infrastructure is for the
international partnerships consisting of development of South East England. Together future of the region: ’Scenarios for the future
25 investment and strategic partners from with London, the region is the powerhouse demonstrate the extent of the challenge.
the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, of the UK economy. South East England’s Without transforming both business
France and the Netherlands. With the share of the UK’s annual Gross Domestic innovation and the infrastructure of this
assistance of its European partners, the Product is 15.7%, London’s is 16.4%. region to meet 21st Century expectations
South East England Development Agency
(SEEDA) – the lead partner – was able to
secure European Regional Development
Fund (ERDF) co-funding for an investment
package of € 48 million for the two projects
(HST4i: € 29 M, HSTconnect: € 19 M).

The projects allowed the partners to secure

substantial, otherwise unavailable, funding
for their regional transport infrastructure.
In many cases, ERDF funding facilitated further
funding opportunities. On a political level, the
partners use the projects to raise awareness
of their regional infrastructure needs. The
partners of the HST projects by country are:

Belgium Investment Partners (Cities and

Leiedal Intercommunale, Liege
Strategic Partners (Regions) SEEDA’s infrastructure projects.

Region of West-Flanders
Germany Investment Partners Due to its geographical position, South East we may face a tipping point in the most
(Cities and municipalities) Aachen England has strong links to its European prosperous parts. Congestion, skills shortages
France Investment Partners neighbours France, Belgium, the Netherlands and reducing quality of life could turn our
(Cities and municipalities) Lille-Armentieres and Germany. Additionally, the South East is competitive advantages into blocks to future
Strategic Partners (Regions) the gateway to continental Europe for all prosperity.’
Conseil Nord / Pas de Calais other UK regions, thus its infrastructure has
The Netherlands Investment Partners trans-regional importance. The main infrastructure aims of the RES
(Cities and Municipalities) The Hague, Heerlen are very similar to other European regions.
Strategic Partners (Regions) Parkstad Limburg Along with London, South East England is one Improving the accessibility of major transport
United Kingdom Investment Partners of Europe’s biggest transport bottlenecks. hubs like Gatwick airport or Southampton
(Cities and municipalities) Ashford, Cross River The Channel Tunnel Rail Link is probably the port are aims that can be found in regions
Partnership, Dover, Ebbsfleet, Hastings, best known infrastructure project tackling all over Europe. It is interesting, however,
Reading, Stratford this problem. But the region is not only a that beside Milton Keynes, the major growth
Strategic Partners South East England bottleneck in terms of passenger transport. areas of the region are along the only UK
Regional Assembly (SEERA), Government Office Ports, roads, airports and freight corridors HST line, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL)
for the South East (GOSE), Transport for London all have restricted capacities, impacting into London.
(TfL), Government Office for London (GOL), negatively on other UK and neighbouring
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 19

There are two reasons for this. Unlike other restricted hinterland transport capacity and sustainable transport modes, real-time
European regions today, the South East already already limits the operation of French and and continuous travel information,
faces capacity restrictions on all modes of Belgian ports. integrated ticketing, etc. The attractiveness
transport, whether rail, road or air. This is and accessibility of the existing European
something that the whole of Europe does not eu policy HST network is improved by investing in
face yet, but will have to in the coming years. The HST projects implement the aims of the linkage to existing regional mobility
Development opportunities in the region are the Lisbon and Gothenburg Agenda, the 3rd systems, trans-border rail services, and the
already restricted and this is why SEEDA will Cohesion Report and the revised Transport regeneration of stations and high density
focus on capacity management mechanisms White Paper 2001. They focus particularly station developments.
like distance-based road charging. The CTRL, on on linking insufficiently connected systems:
the other hand, is one of the few new transport spatial planning, economic planning, the HST achievements
infrastructures in the region which offers new network and regional transport are seen as Regional mobility and economic cycles
transport capacity not only in the form of one entity. The assumption is that by better are still constricted by national borders, as
international HST trains but, more important integration of existing systems, relatively structures, laws, regulations, responsibilities
to the immediate future, in the form of low financial expenditure and better usage and stakeholders change abruptly at these
domestic High Speed Train shuttles. This of existing infrastructure, a high socio- European borders, but this situation does
allows the UK government to promote much economic added value can be realised. not reflect the way of life and the mobility
needed urban development next to the HST needs of European citizens. SEEDA, through
stations in Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford. The projects concentrate on the weakest the HST partnership, brings these different
points of the European travel chain e.g. groups together via international workshops
The ports in South East England exemplify cross-border rail services, transfer between like the HST Station Development Workshop
how increasingly interdependent European travel modes, the interdependence of the in Utrecht, October 2005, to facilitate focused
regional economies are. Not only are public realm, station developments and exchange of knowledge and experience. On
Portsmouth, Southampton and Dover global local businesses, industrial estates and the ground, the HST partnership implements
access points for the whole UK, but their public transport, suburban settlements trans-border investments, thus overcoming Y

Strong and attractive

Stratford – Main Urban Integration Route.

HST hubs pave the way

for better services
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 20

Until now planning has been

and ameliorating existing obstacles. Collected
experiences are regularly fed back to the whole
HST partnership in quarterly project meetings
strongly limited by borders of
communities, provinces and
and are reflected in the three HST Studies.

From the collective HST experience and
lessons learned, success factors applicable
to all elements of a sustainable European
travel chain are emerging, as follows:

Character to show EU politicians and programme will serve both international and domestic
What is special about this place? representatives how their political objectives passengers and is due to open in 2007.
How is this reflected in my surroundings? are carried out, e.g. at the HST Mid-Term The Stratford City development partners
Continuity and Enclosure Event on the 8th November 2006 in Brussels. and London and Continental Railways (LCR)
Do I feel safe? Can I read the borders of The aim is a feedback loop between policy have been given planning consent for a
the space I am in? Do I have the feeling and delivery. major mixed-use development. This will
of arrival? Do the borders of the space consist of 175,000 million m 2 of retail and
lead me on my way? london olympics 2012 leisure development, 4,800 residential units,
Conviviality Stratford is a very good example of the 450,000 m2 of office space and up to 2,000
Do I feel welcome? Is the service attractive? development potential the HST hubs offer. hotel bedrooms. Over 30,000 new jobs are
Ease of movement Furthermore, is it an example for the urban planned.
Is it easy to change places? integration work of HST4i. Stratford, in East
Can I find and choose my way from A to B? London, is an urban centre with a resident Both stations will serve the Olympic Park.
Legibility population of 200,000. Its location between High quality transport access to the Olympic
Do I always know where I am and where Central London, Essex and East Anglia has sites in Stratford and surrounding areas
my destination is? led to it becoming a strategic transport formed a pivotal part of London’s successful
Accessibility interchange. It will also be the principal site bid for the Olympic Games and Paralympic
Are there perceived or real barriers keeping for the Olympic village for the 2012 London Games in 2012. The development of Stratford’s
me from using services and the public realm? Olympic Games. It lies within the Thames stations is a crucial element of the 2012
Games transport strategy, and the Olympics
Organisation Committee is aiming for an
80% public transport share for the games.
There will be no on-site parking at the
Olympic Park site. For the duration of the
games themselves no international trains
will stop at Stratford International – instead
High Speed shuttles will arrive every three
minutes from King’s Cross / St. Pancras.
At Ebbsfleet international travellers will be
able to change onto the Olympic shuttle, and
5,000 park and ride spaces will be provided.
Kortrijk Station: HSTconnect investment.

With co-funding from Interreg IIIB, the London

Partner studies and know-how of the 25 HST Gateway Objective 2 economic area, one of Borough of Newham will invest in a key
project partners from five EU countries have the priority growth areas designated by the integration route, one which will link Stratford
been collected, evaluated and underpinned UK government for future development. rail lands, Stratford international and regional
by three scientific papers: the HST Spatial stations with the existing Stratford town
Planning & Transport Policy Study, the HST Immediately north of Stratford rail station lie centre. The London Borough of Newham will
Impact Study and the HST Connectivity Study. 79 hectares of developable brownfield land. focus the ERDF resources on the public realm
These are important in order to formulate Work is currently underway on this site to in and around Meridian Square, which is right
common problems and perspectives. The construct an international station as part of at the centre of this key urban integration
essence of these is used by the partnership the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL). The station route. The square is the forecourt to Stratford
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 21

importance for the EU. The Stern report

published in the UK on 30 October 2006 for
the first time puts a staggering price tag on
the impacts of climate change. European
expansion and further cohesion of the single
European market is creating more traffic –
traffic connected to the necessary economic
growth of the European community. How to
realise growth with minimised traffic needs
and minimised environmental impact will
stay at the heart of the HST partnership. The
partnership has requested that SEEDA advance
the partnership by developing new projects.
This development process will include
expansion and a new focus of the partnership.

Intercommunale Leiedal. The spatial expansion of the partnership will

include further work on cross-border train
regional station and a gateway to the Stratford responsible for the social and economical services. Eindhoven as HSTconnect partner,
rail land development on the one side and development of twelve local municipalities for example, has a strong interest in better
Stratford city centre on the other. with 280,000 inhabitants. For several years the rail links to Germany. This could include a
Intercommunale Leiedal has focused on better direct link to the HST hub Aachen and further
Meridian Square will also be heavily impacted connections to Lille, which is the regional centre on to Köln/Bonn airport. The Parkstad-Limburg
by the development link that will bridge as well as the nearest access point to the region, in cooperation with the cross-border
the Great Eastern main line. This rail barrier European high speed train network. Jointly, business park Avantis and German partners,
currently divides Stratford rail lands, with HST4i and HSTconnect are investing €6 million wants to link the business park to the German
the international station to the north and (and an ERDF share of €3 million) into the and Dutch rail network. This would be a good
Stratford town centre, the regional station upgrading of the stations at Wevelgem, example of how economic development can
and the bus station to the south. Harelbeke, Menen, Kortrijk and Waregem, be achieved without additional traffic impact.
serving this cross-border service. Furthermore,
crossing borders HST funds two background studies on inner- There is further need to increase the
Besides urban investments like Stratford, regional integration and on economic impact. attractiveness of train travel and to align
the HST partnership also invests in regional major infrastructure investments like HST
HST feedering services, for example from the Interim results show an increase in passenger with urban development. In the new Interreg
Belgian Leiedal region into Lille, France. Lille numbers on the Kortrijk-Lille line due to the funding period, the City of Aachen wants to
is another major European urban centre, with improved stations and stations environments. expand its HST project involvement. HST4i has
a population of 200,000. The conurbation, Developing the train transport system as a already contributed €1.9 million to Aachen’s
which includes the cities Roubaix, Tourcoing spine in the urban network, linked to a major station forecourt. Aachen now wants to create
and the satellite town Villeneuve-d’Ascq, has transport node across the border (Lille), is an a new entrance opening the station to the
1.1 million (1999) inhabitants, making it the innovative approach to planning. Until now neglected southern part of the city, creating
fourth biggest French metropolitan area and planning has been strongly limited by borders better urban through connections and
the regional centre of Nord / Pas de Calais. of communities, provinces and countries. development opportunities along the southern
Euralille station gives the region direct access There is no tradition in planning for ‘borderless’ side of the railway lines. This is a good example
to the European HST network. Lille regional urban networks. of how economic opportunities can be opened
station is situated near to Euralille. Together, up without the need for more mechanised
the two stations represent a transport hub future traffic and at the same time upgrading the
of pan-European significance. The results of the HST Studies and the urban realm.
lessons learned by our investment partners
On the fringe of the Lille conurbation, on the lay the foundation for devising new projects Project websites
Belgian side of the border, lies the province for the EU funding period 2007–2013. We are
of West-Vlaanderen. The HST project partner convinced that the problems the HST projects
is the Intercommunale Leiedal, which is are tackling will remain of paramount Reactions to: weber@nova-terra.net Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 22

Tramways in France –
born again for urbanism

Trams are making a comeback in French towns to combat the stranglehold of the car and the
pollution it causes. Tramways are enjoying increasing recognition not only in France, but also
throughout Europe and the world because of their environmental benefits and their potential
for providing a backbone for urbanism.

Sophie Labbouz, City of Paris Engineering School (EIVP) A tramway in Paris, quai du
Louvre, 1916.
Youssef Diab, University of Marne-la-Vallée (UMLV), France
Photos: Sophie Labbouz (unless indicated otherwise)

The first tramway in France was built in the Loire department in 1837 once animal traction was replaced by electrical traction in the 1880s
and was 15 km long. In 1853, a line called ‘the American railway’ was and running costs decreased. The numbers of lines and passengers
built for the universal exhibition in Paris. Trams were subsequently multiplied rapidly: trams became the main form of urban transport,
introduced into many French and European cities because they were with 71 lines in Marseille, 38 in Bordeaux, 26 in Toulouse and 286 km
faster and more comfortable than the omnibus. Trams really took off of railway scattered in the city of Lyon and its suburbs.
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 23

From the 1950s, buses became a serious rival for the tramways
because of improved engine technology and the fact that they do not
require an expensive infrastructure. The public authorities decided to
invest in road infrastructure for cars and buses, which were viewed as
a sign of progress. The tramway networks were neither maintained
nor modernised and became discredited in the public’s eye. Tram
vehicles seemed old, noisy and uncomfortable and people preferred
to take the bus. The tramways were dismantled in most French cities
during the 1950, leaving just three networks operating, in Saint-
Etienne, Marseille and Lille.

Following the 1973 oil crisis and in the face of growing urban
congestion, mobility policies changed and public transport lines were
extended. A new tramway was tested in the city of Nantes, but
although the project was brought to a successful conclusion, Tramway in Strasbourg.

considerable modification was required to win over sceptical local

inhabitants and satisfy changed political requirements. The new
modern tramway came into service in 1985 and runs in special lanes
segregated from car traffic. Grenoble, Strasbourg, Lyon, Rouen,
Montpellier and Saint-Etienne have subsequently followed the
example set by Nantes.

The tramway is a good

compromise between
the metro and the bus
The tramway is a good compromise between the metro and the
bus: it is cheaper than the former and has a higher capacity than the
latter. From the transport point of view, tramways are ideally suited Nancy.

to medium-sized towns, for which a metro system is too expensive

but which have need of good public transport services. quiet, which is a much appreciated bonus because city dwellers find
noise pollution to be one of the hardest forms of pollution to endure.
Trams are much more efficient than buses for several reasons. The
first is the speed and, above all, the regularity of services. Thanks to One of the most important advantages of tramways is the functional
the segregated lanes and the priority given to public transport at link they make between transport and urbanism. The introduction of
traffic lights, trams are largely unaffected by the hazards of the urban tramways into the urban fabric presents an opportunity for the local
environment. Secondly, the construction of new tram lines is linked authority to reconsider the layout of public spaces and the urban
to restricted parking and car access to the town centre. Car parks are landscape in general. Urban spaces can be designed to give priority to
built near tram stops in the suburbs to encourage motorists to take pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, with wide pavements and
public transport rather than drive into town. pedestrian precincts, especially in the town centre where it is
pleasant to walk. The urban landscape associated with the tramway
Because trams are powered by electricity they are much more can thus be used to increase the value of the areas through which
environmentally friendly than petrol or diesel vehicles. With air they run: paving materials can be changed, trees planted and grass is
pollution in the cities a real problem and as sustainable development often laid on the tramway. The image of the town is often governed
becomes increasingly important, this is another factor in favour of by the success of the tramway project and so all the detailing is
trams. Thanks to the electric traction and the rails, trams are very designed with a view to making life more pleasant for the residents. Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 24

For example, the street furniture, tramway and stops are usually tramway network, the city council chose the second option and on
designed by famous architects and are specific to the city. 21 December 2003 the tram was operational again in the city.
The modern network has three lines: line A carries 55,000 passengers
Tramways influence the development of the urban structure and the each day, line B carries 60,000 per day and line C 20,000 per day.
urban fabric. By providing rapid links from the suburbs to the town On average, the tram services account for 53% of Bordeaux’s public
centre, tramways can open up disadvantaged districts for transport network frequentation.
development. Shops along the route benefit and real estate values
and rental values increase as well. It is hard to measure the real The philosophy underlying the network is to increase the value of all
impact of the tramway because of the time taken for the the areas served by building new pavements, roads and urban spaces.
construction and the influence of other developments on these data. Besides the technical requirements, aesthetic quality was the major
The city is really transformed when once the tram arrives. consideration in the choice of urban furniture and materials.
Elisabeth de Portzamparc’s design is highly specific to the Bordeaux
bordeaux tramway. Castings, paving stones and granite kerbs were blended
The developments in Bordeaux are a good example of the with grass and green elements throughout the layout. The urban
situation throughout France. In 1946 the tram network consisted of furniture (stations, public seats, bins, etc.) has been created using a
38 lines and more than 200 km of tracks, but by 1958 all the lines were mix of cast iron, glass and wood and is in perfect harmony with the
closed. After a long deliberation on whether to build a metro or a urban heritage.

Montpellier. (photo: Raymond Linssen, The Hague, the Netherlands)

NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 25

Two improvements deserve a special mention. The first is the Between urban centres
renovation of all the facades along the quays at Garonne. During the
the tram can also operate
like a train service
construction of the tramway the city council made the owners of the
buildings the façades, restoring their white colour and giving back
the quays their old charm. The second is a technical innovation.
To respect the urban heritage and the old buildings near the line, the
architects were asked to find a way to build the tramway without 2006. The original railway line, called Coquetiers’s Line, was opened
catenaries. In response, Alstom created the APS system (alimentation in 1875 and follows the route of an old walk in the forest of Bondy.
par le sol: ground power supply) in which the trams receive their It was closed to all traffic at the end of 2003 to allow construction
power from a third rail embedded in the tracks. No overhead cables of the tram-train line, which is better integrated into the urban
and masts are needed, thus limiting the visual impact of the landscape. The link between Aulnay and Bondy will serve nine
tramway. intermediate train stations on an 8 km route. The travel time is
19 minutes from end to end, or a commercial speed of 25 km/h.
the t4 tram-train During the rush hours the trains run at intervals of 4 minutes.
Between urban centres the tram can also operate like a train The line is expected to carry 44,000 passengers per day, or 12.4 billion
service. The first such example is the T4, which runs in the suburbs of per year. Y
Paris between Aulnay and Bondy and was opened on 16 November

Valenciennes. (photo: Raymond Linssen, The Hague, the Netherlands)

NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 26

The conventional railway line between Aulnay and Bondy has been The development of tramways is continuing in France. Marseille,
transformed into a tram line with a reduced impact on the urban Angers and Le Mans are the furthest ahead with plans to build their
landscape in collaboration with the councils of the department and first tram lines. Most towns and cities which already have tram
communes involved. Changing the old level crossings into crossroads services are looking into possibilities to extend their networks.
improves safety and the relieves constraints on traffic flows, while Nevertheless, the development of new tram projects may drop off in
the layout and design benefit pedestrians and bicycles. Where when future because the French State has decided to stop financing local
the tram-train is the only vehicle to use its lane, the surfacing public transport initiatives, which means that these towns would
material used is ballast. In the same way, all the railway furniture probably choose to develop less expensive transport systems.
along the line is the same as that used by the SNCF. 1 This new light Busway systems, such as the fourth major line in Nantes, are likely to
rail service is therefore a compromise between a tram and train. attract increasing attention because they combine the advantages of
tramways for upgrading of the urban fabric with the cheap cost of a
the t3 and beyond segregated bus lane.
After a break of 65 years, trams returned to the city of Paris on
16 December 2006. The line runs in the south of Paris from Pont de References
RATP Département du Patrimoine, Les cahiers de la mémoire n°6, Le tramway,
Garigliano to Porte d’Ivry, enabling passengers to interchange with
de ‘l’américain’ au métro léger (12 p), 2001.
five metro lines, two RER (express regional network) lines, 18 bus lines
in Paris and 19 bus lines in the suburbs. RATP Département Développement et Action Territoriale, Insertion urbaine de tramways
en France, Collection Insertion Urbaine (113 p), 2005.

Being a circle line the T3 service is a major step towards a Websites

comprehensive public transport network in Paris. One of the major fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tramway
Bordeaux tramway: www.infotbc.com
issues facing the Paris region is to link up the various parts of the
Paris tramway: www.tramway.paris.fr
public transport network and facilitate journeys between different Nantes tramway: www.tan.fr
points in the suburbs. At the moment the entire public transport T4 tram-train: http://tramateurs.free.fr/tram_paris/aulnay-bondy/aulnay_bondy.shtml

network is oriented to the city centre. This new line makes it easier Notes
to travel from east to west and is the first circular tram line in Paris. 1 SNCF is the French train operator.

A connection is planned with the T2 tram line in the west of Paris.

The ultimate, long-term goal is to create a continuous tram lime Reactions to: labbouz@nova-terra.net Y
encircling the centre of Paris.

Map of Bordeaux’s public transport network. The T3 tramway in Paris. (photo: Gérard Delafond)
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 27

The potential of cybercars

Towards a new mobility

concept for cities

Small autonomous electric vehicles could provide an alternative to the motor car in an emerging new
approach to mobility that tries to offer the same flexibility as the private car, but with much less nuisance
and environmental impact. Their potential has been investigated in the European CyberCars and
CyberMove projects.

Antonio Cunha and J. Varandas, Laboratory of Automatics and Systems, Pedro Nunes Institute, Portugal The use of private cars causes traffic
congestion in many urban areas.
Jorge Dias and Rui Rocha, Institute of Systems and Robotics, University of Coimbra, Portugal
(source: European Community, 2006)
Stefan van der Spek, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Illustrations: Antonio Cunha (unless indicated otherwise)

In many urban environments the use of less attractive to both tourists and residents. information technologies), in many cases the
private cars causes severe problems of traffic Moreover, the problems of many city centres private car still offers a much better service
congestion, energy consumption (dependency are compounded by a movement of for the individual. As a consequence, car use is
on oil resources) air and noise pollution and businesses to the periphery. Although public constantly increasing. All this amounts to a
safety, leading to a general reduction in transport systems have recently undergone non-sustainable development of urban
quality of life and Making historic city centres many improvements (mostly due to transportation. Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 28

Small autonomous electric vehicles or fully autonomous driving capabilities and to the sustainable development of the cities
cybercars, may be a flexible solution to public are specifically designed for public use in of tomorrow. The results of the selected test
transport systems in specific areas. cities to provide on-demand door-to-door sites were published and disseminated to
They could complement mass transit and services. support other cities in planning future
non-motorised transportation, providing targets for increasing the physical capacity,
passenger services for any location at any The European project CyberCars1 was an energy saving, reducing traffic congestion
time. Such systems are known as cybernetic opportunity to test and exchange best and potential safety improvements.
transportation systems (CTS). practices for the development of a new
platform for urban mobility. A major part of In the CyberMove project a comparison was

Cyber cars could

the work carried out during the project was made between new cybercar-based
the development of several key technologies transportation systems in several historic

complement to improve the existing systems: better cities. Public demonstrations were carried

mass transit and

guidance, collision avoidance, energy and out in these cities to demonstrate that
fleet management, and the development of cybercars offer a cleaner and safer mode of

simple user interfaces. The work was carried transport for everyone, including people who
out on a cooperative basis in order to reach cannot (or should not) drive, and a better

transportation a consensus on the certification techniques

for these systems, which currently suffer
level of service than private cars (individual,
door-to-door, on-demand transportation).
from a very imprecise regulatory framework. The essential goal was to demonstrate that
cybernetic transportation systems the new mobility concept has the potential
Cybercars use technologies which have The CyberMove project2 attempted to to make an essential contribution to the
the potential to contribute to a sustainable demonstrate that cybercars have enough sustainable development of the cities of
development of cities. These vehicles have potential to make an essential contribution tomorrow. The ultimate aim is to create an
alternative transport system that can make
city centres more attractive and sustainable.

The advantages of cybernetic transport

systems (CTS) include the reduction of
congestion, better air quality and energy
conservation, increased safety when
compared with manual driving and no need
for a driving licence. Moreover, cybernetic
cars are easily moved from one location to
another and, when not needed, they can
drive themselves autonomously to a remote
parking area. The concept and associated
technologies may be appropriate for delivery
of goods and even for refuse collection.
The flexible design of CTS makes it possible
to optimise overall system performance.
CTS technology has already reached suitable
levels of reliability, safety and user
friendliness that they can be useful to solve
some mobility problems in cities.2

Although the first Cybercar was introduced

in the 1990s, the first operational project
started at the end of 1997 at Schiphol Airport:
the Parking Hopper (Frog). Other examples of
automatic guided vehicles in the
Frog peoplemover. (source: Frog navigation systems, Utrecht, The Netherlands) Netherlands are the ECS container terminal
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 29

Frog Park Shuttle in Capelle, near Rotterdam. (source: Frog navigation systems, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

in the harbour of Rotterdam and the Park offering individual door-to-door place in an area between the Municipal
Shuttle I + II in Capelle (Frog). During the transportation and are capable of driving in a Square and the S. Francisco Church
Floriade in 2002 Yamaha provided a large mixed-use urban environment. Another type (Rua Direita), with an approximate length of
number of cybercars based on an adapted is the shuttle. The Park Shuttle, for example, 500 m. In two periods of four hours each, a
chassis of a golf car offering transport up the uses a dedicated lane with fixed stops, but fleet of three electrical vehicles was available
hill. These cars were later donated to and tests (e.g. Delft, Monaco) show that for the community. These vehicles covered
used in the CyberCar and CyberMove implementation and application in a mixed the designated area at a speed of 8 km/h,
research projects. This meant research could urban environment is possible as well. Other making stops at four predetermined points.
focus on technical issues only, such as types of shuttles, like the ULTra (BSA), use a
improving guidance, navigation, collision specific infrastructure. Covilhã is built on the slopes of the highest
avoidance, energy management and the user mountain in continental Portugal. The
interface. The design of the vehicle itself was covilhã showcase workshop and public uptown and historic centre lies at an altitude
less significant at that stage. cybercar demonstration of 680 m, the downtown at an altitude of
The Connected Cities conference, steering 550 m and the new town at an altitude of
Yamaha’s cybercar, or Automated Guided group meeting and showcase workshops 450 m. The climate is characterised by cold
Vehicle (AGV), is comparable with Frog’s took place in Portugal on 9, 10 and 11 October winters (about 0oC) and very hot summers
Parking Hopper. Another example of this 2006 in the town of Covilhã. The Showcase (about 40oC). The town is spread out along
type of People Mover or Personal Rapid Workshop included a public demonstration the hillside and has three natural barriers:
Transit (PRT) is Robosoft’s CyCab. All are small of the operation and capabilities of two creeks and the difference in altitude
vehicles for two to four people potentially cybercars. This public demonstration took between the uptown and the downtown. Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 30

yamaha agv system uses filtering techniques (Kalman filters) to attain highly
Each vehicle is an electric Autonomous Guided Vehicle (AGV) for accurate positioning from inertial sensors, their errors being
transporting up to four people. It is powered by lead acid batteries bounded by the absolute localisation provided by DGPS.
with an operation time of 52 min/h in full mode operation. It can
travel at a maximum speed of 10 km/h or more and an average speed In this system, any user can access the CTS by walking towards the
of 8 km/h. Its range is 30 km. The vehicle was originally designed for nearest stop and request the transportation service through the user
transporting people on golf courses and then further adapted for use interface provided at those places.
in urban environments. It has a built-in autonomous wire guidance
system. During a demonstration in Coimbra, YAMAHA interviewed users of
the vehicles. Sixty-two per cent of the valid respondents thought
The vehicle has been provided with important add-ins, such as AGV has prospects compared with walking, cycling and other modes
automatic passenger detection, a human-vehicle interface and of transport, especially for distances of about two kilometres.
laser-based collision avoidance. The vehicle’s navigation capabilities Based on vehicle specifications, AGVs are promising at a distance of
consist of an innovative navigation system, which was developed in between one and three kilometres compared to walking and public
the CyberCars project, based on the fusion of differential GPS (DGPS) transport. Ten aspects were checked in the interview: comfort,
and inertial sensors. The system benefits from the complementary getting on and off, seating, safety, operation, speed, acceleration,
characteristics of both sensor modalities. DGPS provides reliable design, ecology and silence. Most aspects scored above average,
positioning with a bounded error, but with poor precision (a few except for seating and speed (average), and silence and ecology (very
metres). Dead-reckoning based on inertial sensors can provide high good).
precision short-term relative positioning (a few centimetres) but
suffers from the accumulation of integration errors. The navigation

The gradient of the slope between the cities. Based on the public demonstration – Suggest what types of demonstrations
downtown and the uptown is about 17%, and and the people’s opinion and reactions are necessary to persuade the local
between the new city and the uptown about (e.g. by urban planners, politicians, traffic authorities (politicians, urban planners,
11%. The town has a population of about planners, users) the workshop questioned traffic planners, etc.) to adapt the concept
35,000. The residents of the historic centre the future applications of cybercars in this
are mainly older people and university specific context. An attempt was made to workshop conclusions
students. The population of the downtown evaluate the conditions in which cybercars In general, cybercars are considered to be
and new town, which contain three medium could offer innovative and practical solutions more suitable in specific (designated)
to large commercial areas, is composed for mobility in cities. The overall objective environments with different target groups,
mainly of middle class families. was to develop a new product based on the such as hospitals, university campuses,
existing cybercars. airports, golf courses, leisure and business
In terms of mobility, the historic centre of parks, where the distance covered is
Covilhã has very narrow streets. Many of the In the process of transforming the invention considered to be small. Likewise, they may
streets are one-way only, or only wide into an innovation, the following items were be an option for tourist use, providing a fun
enough for one-way traffic. Most of the debated: experience and particularly suitable for old
residents of the historic centre do not have – Suggest new functions for the system to towns and cities – but careful marketing
a legal parking space near their homes. fit the people needs would be needed.
The main issues are traffic congestion to – Suggest new applications for the system
and from the old city and the loss of urban – Enumerate conditions for and constraints Several improvements are needed before
functions in the old town centre. on the use of cybercars in cities and cybercars can be transformed into a public
private sites transport mode for a large number of people.
covilhã cybermoving workshop – List the potential users of this mobility The major difficulties concern safety
In an attempt to bridge the gap between technology (internal and external), accessibility, comfort,
invention and innovation, the workshop’s – Suggest what types of demonstrations space, costs, speed, vulnerability, driving
main goal was to develop guidelines for are necessary to promote the product to experience, design and product value. Some
adjusting the specification for cybercars potential users, and what partners should of the main ideas for improving cybercar
designed specifically for use in towns and be invited to improve the demonstration systems (vehicles, system management, user
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 31

interface, new applications, etc.) try to transport. Such as strategy could speed up Notes
1 See: http://www.cybercars.org
satisfy the general criteria listed here. acceptance of cybercars by the public and
2 See: http://www.cybermove.org
Several solutions were presented, some of adoption of the technology.
them solidly practical and others wildly References
– Parent M., Cybercars, Past, Present and Future of the
impractical. The main advantage of AGVs is their
Technology, INRIA – project IMARA, 2005.
flexibility, ease of implementation and cost- – Rocha R., Dias J., Cunha A. and Varandas J., Towards
The most important improvements to the effectiveness. Development of these vehicles A New Mobility Concept For Cities: Architecture &
Programming Of Semi-Autonomous Electric Vehicles.
actual cybercars that will be needed to is already influencing car design and will
Proceedings of 12 thIASTED International Conference,
develop a new product are improved influence our environment. New techniques Robotics and Applications, 2006.
industrial design, mass customisation, voice developed for cybercars are already available – Valejo A., Meisner T., Dias J. and Nunes U., Cybernetic
Transport Systems in Coimbra: evaluation and
communication, low maintenance cost, in modern cars (cruise control, adaptive demonstration for CyberMove project, Proceedings of
longer battery life and higher speeds. Some functions and dual mode cars, e.g. fuel and 2004 European Ele-Drive Transportation, 2004.

extra options should be added, such as electricity) and lorries (e.g. emergency
wireless internet, air conditioning, a platform breaking). In future, cybercar technology may Reactions to: spek@nova-terra.net Y
ramp and dynamic route information. It will give us safer and more sustainable cars.
also be necessary to ensure flexibility (no set We might not even have to look for our car or
route), improve the sensors, add lighting, search for a parking space: the car could find
provide automatic doors and make the its own remote parking space and turn up
cybercar more noticeable (light and noise). again when we need it!
The ideas collected during this exercise will
be included in the Connected Cities best
practices manual and will used by the Pedro
Nunes Institute for the further development
of the cybercar concept.

Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) were
first introduced some years ago. Today,
several types can be found in practice. People
movers using dedicated and separated lanes
have been introduced to transport people at
airports. Containers are moved by automatic
vehicles in designated areas of ports. Shuttle
buses without drivers are in service on
dedicated lanes, and Phileas, in Eindhoven, is
a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) based on
AGV technology. But a new era might come
with the introduction of the AGV. It makes
sense to start with controlled applications of
cybercars for short trips at special locations
like natural parks, hospitals, airports and
historic town centres before employing them
in cities to complement other forms of

The car could find its own

remote parking space and turn
up again when we need it
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 32

Covilhã: mobility in
a mountain town
Jorge Humberto and Gaspar Gonçalves, Universidade da Beira Interior (UBI), Portugal Steep gradients in Covilhã uptown.

Frank van der Hoeven, Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), Netherlands
Photos: Jorge Humberto and Gaspar Gonçalves

The activities of the Connected Cities network include showcase located on one of the hillsides of the highest mountain of continental
workshops. These are based on a give-and-take formula in which a Portugal. Around half the population live in Conceição, Santa Maria,
partner can invite other partners to illustrate an inspiring case study São Martinho and São Pedro, the four central parishes. The urban area
or present an issue or a problem and ask for advice. The ‘Mobility in of Covilhã has a low population density, only a third of the national
Covilhã’ showcase is a clear example of the latter. Showcases are average.
prepared in advance. In the case of Covilhã the local authority and The easiest way to describe Covilhã is to divide it into three parts: the
the university produced a lengthy paper and a comprehensive uptown, the downtown and the new town. The uptown includes the
presentation. Both documents provide insights in the main historic centre, old residential buildings, churches and services such
characteristics of the town and the mobility problems it faces. Low as banks, insurance companies, medical services, shops, the town hall,
density mountain town Covilhã, founded in 1186, is a large town of local government offices, police and fire brigade, the main university
35,000 inhabitants in the eastern midlands of Portugal. The town is buildings and day care centres. The downtown has the train station,
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 33

local shops, prison, elementary and secondary schools, some financial

services, day care centres, municipal offices and residential areas.
The main land uses in the new town are residential developments,
shopping centres, the regional bus terminal, the sports complex, the
hospital and health centre and the new medical school. Almost all
the old textile industries in the town have been converted into
teaching facilities by the local university or have moved to the two
suburban industrial parks, to the north and south of the town.
The main traffic generators are the university facilities, town hall
facilities, the new shopping centres, the hospital and medical school
and the central business district in the uptown.

Covilhã faces three natural barriers: two creeks (Goldra and
Carpinteira) and a difference in altitude of 230 metres between the
uptown and the new town. The steep slopes and medieval layout
makes it a challenge to implement good mobility solutions. The
difference in altitude hampers movement through the town, especially
walking. The barrier caused by the two creeks doubles the distance of
the main access road to the uptown centre. The low population density
does not create the best conditions for public transport.

Covilhã’s road network is determined by its historical centre. The

streets are narrow and most permit only one-way traffic. Slopes of
over 8% are common. In the uptown some gradients are as steep as
13%. The main artery through the town is a busy national road, which
is used to access the national park and ski track on the mountain
passes above the town. An external ring to access the mountain is
planned, but will still partly make use of the existing road network.
The new town is bisected by a road that connects the town to the
two industrial parks to the north and south (the TCT road axis). Gradients to overcome by pedestrians.

modal split The bus is the main type of public transport in Covilhã and the
The private car plays an important role in the residents’ mobility. network covers about 65% of the urban area of Covilhã. The average
Private cars are used for about half of the trips to work and school. distance between bus stops is around 300m. The admissible walking
A quarter of the trips to work and school are made on foot, mainly in distance to the bus stops is limited by the steep gradients of most
the four central parishes. Buses account for about a sixth of the trips streets: the catchment area of the bus stops is 250 m, instead of the
to work and school, in line with other cities. In some areas, the share usual 400 m. The urban bus routes are almost all one-way loops with
of the bus in the modal split is double the average at one third. a low frequency, on average served by one bus per hour. There is no
Local people do not seem to experience many problems with trip space for dedicated bus lanes in most of the urban area. The
time; 90% of the journeys to work or to school take less then commercial speed is around 15 km/h. The public transport company is
30 minutes and 60% take less then fifteen minutes. Despite this, private and has a fleet of fourteen mostly old buses and the present
at peak traffic hours, traffic queues still form, but generally last no operator is not encouraged to invest in providing a better service.
more than five to ten minutes each. Occupancy rates are always lower than two-thirds and passengers
The town has well over 4,000 parking spaces for public use. rarely have to stand. New users experience considerable difficulty
The uptown is the only area where paid parking spaces outnumber using the system because very little information is available and
unpaid spaces and provision of off-street parking outstrips the there are only three ticket outlets.
amount of on-street parking space. Few residents in the historic Mobility problems Overall, Covilhã’s main mobility problems relate to
centre have access to a nearby legal parking space. Much of the the use of public transport, private car usage and walking. These
on-street parking space here is not well defined, which results in issues are characteristic for a small town in a rural area. The Covilhã
illegal or irregular parking. Parking in the downtown and in the new experts did not refer to problems with links to the cities and regions
town is plentiful, mostly free and on-street. in Portugal or Spain, let alone to cities and regions in the rest of Y
NovaTerra Connected Cities / february 2007 / 34

Europe. So, at first sight, Covilhã’s mobility issues seem to be desired future scenario
restricted to the town itself. These are outlined briefly below. As a next step the local authority and the university have drawn
up a desired future scenario, aimed at improving the residents’
Bus system mobility. Although the scenario may be considered too ambitious and
The frequency of the bus service is low. The travel time is possibly unfeasible, its main objective, say the local experts, is to
unnecessary long because of the loop configuration of the system. provoke a reaction from the other partners and elicit their opinions.
The buses are old and noisy, cause air pollution and use too much The local experts wanted to know if the other partners have faced
fuel. They also have difficulty manoeuvring in the narrow streets and similar problems and been successful in implementing adequate
road intersections. solutions. The ambition of the desired scenario is to cut the share of
the private car in the modal split by half. To achieve this the
Private car use proportion of journeys by public transport needs to double. In the
Access by car to the historic centre is limited by reduced scenario the town will design a self-sustainable public transport
manoeuvrability and illegal parking of private cars in the uptown concession that will ensure high quality standards. At the same time
obstructs public transport and pedestrians. Most off-street parking is the local authority will apply financial incentives for the use of non-
privately owned and out of the local authority’s control; the non- polluting fuels. Other sustainable transport modes of transport are
central areas contain many unused parking spaces. Two underground encouraged as well: electric bicycles (e-bikes) and walking. Residents
car parks in the town centre are privately owned. The revenues from will be encouraged to travel to and from the uptown to make the
on-street parking contribute to their financing (for the next 40 years). historical centre more attractive to live and shop, while the overall
pedestrian accessibility of the uptown and the older public buildings
Walking will be upgraded. Parking facilities will be improved to make them
The steep gradients between the downtown and the uptown more acceptable to residents and illegal curbed as a result.
make the town difficult to navigate by foot. The materials used to Paid on-street parking solutions will generate long-term revenue
surface the pavements are slippery during wet weather and many that will contribute to the financing of other mobility systems.
pavements are often too narrow or cluttered with obstacles. The Covilhã experts already had some solutions in mind, steered the
Measures and facilities to provide adequate access to the town for discussion of the scenario by asking several detailed questions: Is the
people with reduced mobility are lacking, especially to the older desired modal split feasible? Can the quality of the bus service be
public buildings. enhanced by moving towards mini- or midi-buses? If alternative fuels
are to be applied, what would be better: hydrogen fuel cells or

Local authority will apply

electricity? Is it feasible for buses to include spaces for bikes?
Can parking revenues or road pricing help to subsidise public

financial incentives for transport? Could pedelecs or e-bikes provide solutions for the steep

the use of non-polluting

slopes of a mountain town like Covilhã? Could elevators and
escalators improve the accessibility of the town centre? And finally:

could park and ride systems be feasible and help to reduce traffic
problems in the town centre? Ensuring sustainable urban mobility
During the workshop the experts from the other partners formulated
opinions based on Covilhã’s scenario. The general feeling among the
Connected Cities network was that mobility should be used as a way
to influence or steer urban or regional developments. Without a clear
idea where the town wants to go, it is difficult to tell if a solution is
right or wrong, even if the solution is generally considered
sustainable. Covilhã has to develop a spatial vision before it can
address the mobility questions it has raised. The local authority
should undertake detailed traffic studies the get a better idea of the
main origins and destinations in the town. More insight into the use
of public transport and walking patterns is necessary as well. The
differences between the uptown, downtown and new town seem so
large that Covilhã probably needs tailor-made solutions for each of
the areas, with particular attention to the relations between them.

The specific conditions of the mountain town clearly require

Covilhã downtown. innovative strategies for clean urban transport. These strategies
Covilhã newtown.

The specific conditions of The first solution tried to integrate the existing bus system into a

the mountain town park and ride scheme. The second solution focused on improving

clearly require innovative

pedestrian access to the town centre, overcoming the steep gradients
and height differences in the town. The first solution reflects the idea

strategies for clean urban

that we should not choose between the car and the bus. Finding a
balanced way for several modes of transport to work together might

transport provide solutions that are more sustainable. The second solution
reflects the concern that the vitality of the historic town is under
much pressure. The limited accessibility is believed to contribute to
should ensure accessibility for all. In the case of Covilhã, the that problem.
accessibility of the old town and the older public building is clearly
an issue. The bus system appears to be antiquated and the feasibility In the end we left Covilhã with the feeling that the town needs a
of a European bus system of the future should be explored. The links spatial vision with an integrated innovative strategy for clean urban
with the outer parishes could be served by new mobility concepts for transport based on adequate data. The Connected Cities network
passengers that guarantee accessibility for all, such as paratransit. combines enough knowledge and experience in this area and several
All the solutions should be subjected to an interactive planning partners expressed their willingness to help with this task.
process in which all the relevant stakeholders are represented. Once Connected Cities can offer the local authority an opportunity to work
applied, the efficiency of the solutions should be monitored and if in smaller expert groups on specific solutions: the overall spatial
necessary adjusted to ensure the desired results. If Covilhã is serious vision, transport development, travel demand management, bus
about curbing use of the private car, it has to offer alternatives and rapid transit systems and paratransit. Additionally, we could explore
apply restrictions on car access. whether initiatives can be undertaken within the Seventh Framework
Programme (FP7), the European research programme. FP7 has just
workshop results published its first calls for proposals and the issues Covilhã faces
In the end the workshop produced two solutions. In our seem to match FP7’s focus. The challenge is clearly there and the
experience, such solutions should not be taken too literally because opportunities are plentiful. It is time to act.
they are developed in a limited time. It is more interesting is to see
what their objective is; what do they try to solve? Reactions to: goncalves@nova-terra.net Y
Connected Cities Bulgaria Netherlands
Connected Cities is about sustainable mobility and Municipality of Kardjali Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
spatial development. As EU-sponsored Interreg IIIC Eindhoven Regional Government Administrative
network it focuses on high quality public transport France structure (SRE)
and transport development areas, aimed at improving City of Paris Engineering School (EIVP) Netherlands Centre for Underground Construction(COB)
mobility and quality of life in urban and rural areas. Sénart Public Local Authority TNO Environment and Geosciences
The network activities will continue until the end of 2007.
Germany Portugal
European network Research Association for Underground Transportation City Hall of Covilhã
Connected Cities brings together twenty-five partners Facilities (STUVA) Institute Pedro Nunes (IPN)
throughout Europe. The partners in Connected Cities Hamburg-Harburg University of Technology (TUHH)
will share their experiences and insights through Spain
management and coordination, interregional showcase Greece Federation of municipalities and provinces of
workshops, dissemination and communication, including Municipal Enterprise of Planning & Development Castilla-La Mancha (FEMPCLM)
through a guide to good practice. of Patras (ADEP) Municipality of Toledo
Development Agency of Magnesia S.A. (ANEM)
http://connectedcities.eu Municipality of Philippi United Kingdom
Region of Thessaly Bristol City Council
Belgium University of Thessaly South East England Development Agency (SEEDA)
European New Town Platform (ENTP) Transport for London (TfL)
Ghent University / Architecture and Urban Planning Italy
Municipality of Ancona
Municipality of Ferrara