Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe : A Socio-technical Analysis [1st ed. 2020] 978-3-658-28878-5, 978-3-658-28879-2

Dejan Petkov explores the tramway renaissance in Western Europe from a socio-technical standpoint and focuses on the dev

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Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe : A Socio-technical Analysis [1st ed. 2020]
 978-3-658-28878-5, 978-3-658-28879-2

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages I-XIII
Introduction (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 1-16
A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 17-52
Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 53-83
The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 85-149
The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 151-228
The uneven path of tramway development in England (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 229-295
Cross-case analysis and conclusion (Dejan Petkov)....Pages 297-318
Back Matter ....Pages 319-369

Citation preview

Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung

Dejan Petkov

Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe A Socio-technical Analysis

Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung Reihe herausgegeben von Matthias Gather, Erfurt, Deutschland Andreas Kagermeier, Trier, Deutschland Sven Kesselring, Geislingen, Deutschland Martin Lanzendorf, Frankfurt am Main, Deutschland Barbara Lenz, Berlin, Deutschland Mathias Wilde, Coburg, Deutschland

Mobilität ist ein Basisprinzip moderner Gesellschaften; daher ist die Gestaltung von Mobilität im Spannungsfeld von ökonomischen, sozialen und ökologischen Interessen eine zentrale Herausforderung für ihre Institutionen und Mitglieder. Die SMV Reihe versteht sich als gemeinsame Publikationsplattform für neues Wissen aus der Verkehrs- und Mobilitätsforschung. Sie fördert ausdrücklich interdisziplinäres Arbeiten der Sozial-, Politik-, Wirtschafts-, Raum-, Umweltund Ingenieurswissenschaften. Das Spektrum der Reihe umfasst Analysen von Mobilitäts- und Verkehrshandeln; Beiträge zur theoretischen und methodischen Weiterentwicklung; zu Nachhaltigkeit und Folgenabschätzungen von Verkehr; Mobilitäts- und Verkehrspolitik, Mobilitätsmanagement und Interventionsstrategien; Güterverkehr und Logistik. Herausgegeben von Matthias Gather Verkehrspolitik und Raumplanung Fachhochschule Erfurt

Andreas Kagermeier Freizeit- und Tourismusgeographie Universität Trier

Sven Kesselring Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Umwelt Geislingen

Martin Lanzendorf Institut für Humangeographie Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main

Barbara Lenz Institut für Verkehrsforschung Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) Berlin

Mathias Wilde Fakultät Maschinenbau und Automobiltechnik Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaften Coburg

Weitere Bände in der Reihe http://www.springer.com/series/11950

Dejan Petkov

Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe A Socio-technical Analysis

Dejan Petkov Darmstadt, Germany Dissertation Technische Universität Darmstadt/2019 Fortgeführte Reihe Band 45

Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung ISBN 978-3-658-28878-5 ISBN 978-3-658-28879-2  (eBook) https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2 © Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer VS imprint is published by the registered company Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH part of Springer Nature. The registered company address is: Abraham-Lincoln-Str. 46, 65189 Wiesbaden, Germany

Table of Contents 1

Introduction ......................................................................................... 1 1.1

The renaissance of tramways – a socio-technical approach ................ 2

1.2

Previous socio-technical research on public transport ......................... 5

1.3

Aim of the thesis .................................................................................. 7

1.4

Outline of the thesis ........................................................................... 16

2

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance .................. 17 2.1

Theoretical foundations of the analysis ............................................. 17

2.1.1

A socio-technical perspective on technology ............................. 17

2.1.2

Large technical systems .............................................................. 19

2.1.3

Path dependence ......................................................................... 25

2.1.4

Technological style as a concept ................................................ 27

2.1.5

Circulation and appropriation of technology and ideas .............. 29

2.2

Analytical framework ........................................................................ 39

2.2.1

Operationalisation of the theoretical concepts ............................ 40

2.2.2

Assumptions concerning technological styles ............................ 43

2.2.3

The analytical perspective on the tramway renaissance ............. 45

2.3 3

A case study design ........................................................................... 46 Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance ............ 53

3.1

The general lines of tramway transport development ........................ 53

3.1.1

The old tramways ....................................................................... 53

3.1.2

The era of mass motoring ........................................................... 54

3.1.3

A general shift in transportation policy and circulation of new concepts ...................................................................................... 57

3.1.4

Technical innovations ................................................................. 62

3.1.5

The concept of “light rail” .......................................................... 70

3.2

The discursive framework of the tramway renaissance ..................... 71

3.2.1

Empirical evidence of light rail effects – research findings........ 75

3.2.2

Competing modes – light rail vs. bus ......................................... 77

VI

Table of Contents

3.2.3 3.3 4

Decision-making processes for light rail systems and implementation frameworks ....................................................... 80 Summary ........................................................................................... 83

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany ........................................................................................ 85 4.1

The tramway renaissance in Germany ............................................... 85

4.1.1

Tramway transport in the first half of the twentieth century ...... 85

4.1.2

Tramway abandonments ............................................................. 89

4.1.3

The institutional framework of the tramway renaissance in Germany ..................................................................................... 92

4.1.4

The discursive dimension of the tramway renaissance ............. 101

4.1.5

The materiality of the tramway renaissance ............................. 105

4.2

The tramway and light rail system of Karlsruhe .............................. 114

4.2.1

City profile ............................................................................... 114

4.2.2

The urban tramway system ....................................................... 114

4.2.3

The Karlstuhe Model – the evolution of a qualitatively new system ....................................................................................... 117

4.2.4

Consolidation of the system ..................................................... 123

4.2.5

Summary .................................................................................. 130

4.3

The light rail system of Hannover ................................................... 130

4.3.1

City profile ............................................................................... 130

4.3.2

The evolution of the light rail system ....................................... 131

4.3.3

Under or above ground – a critical decision about the future of a mature system .................................................................... 140

4.3.4

Summary .................................................................................. 149

5

The emergence of the modern French tramway as a sociotechnical novelty .............................................................................. 151 5.1

The French tramway renaissance ..................................................... 151

5.1.1

The demise of the old French tramways ................................... 151

5.1.2

The prerequisites of the tramway renaissance in France .......... 155

Table of Contents

VII

5.1.3

The institutional framework of the tramway renaissance ......... 164

5.1.4

The decision-making practice for public transport projects...... 175

5.1.5

Milestones and key features of the French tramway renaissance ................................................................................ 181

5.2

The tramway system of Strasbourg ................................................. 191

5.2.1

City profile ............................................................................... 191

5.2.2

The path from the old tramway to a new system ...................... 192

5.2.3

The establishment of a large technical system .......................... 196

5.2.4

The patterns of system expansion ............................................. 206

5.2.5

Summary .................................................................................. 213

5.3

The systems of Métrobus and TEOR in Rouen ............................... 213

5.3.1

City profile ............................................................................... 213

5.3.2

The evolution of Metro de Rouen ............................................. 214

5.3.3

The emergence of a second technological system .................... 222

5.3.4

Summary .................................................................................. 228

6

The uneven path of tramway development in England ............... 229 6.1

The English tramway renaissance ................................................... 229

6.1.1

The demise of the old tramways in England ............................. 229

6.1.2

Policy measures towards the revival of the urban rail transport .................................................................................... 234

6.1.3

The deregulation of public transport in England ...................... 239

6.1.4

Attempts for a tramway renaissance ......................................... 242

6.1.5

The scrapping of plans for an extensive tramway renaissance . 246

6.1.6

Policy and institutional changes after 2010 .............................. 255

6.1.7

The materiality of the English light rail systems ...................... 257

6.2

The Manchester Metrolink system .................................................. 262

6.2.1

City profile ............................................................................... 262

6.2.2

The old tramway and the plans for an urban rail system .......... 262

6.2.3

The evolution of Manchester Metrolink ................................... 265

VIII

Table of Contents

6.2.4 6.3

Summary .................................................................................. 277 The Sheffield Supertram system ...................................................... 278

6.3.1

City profile ............................................................................... 278

6.3.2

The old tramway ....................................................................... 279

6.3.3

The establishment of a modern tramway system ...................... 279

6.3.4

The evolution of Sheffield Supertram ...................................... 289

6.3.5

A broader perspective on Sheffield Supertram ......................... 294

6.3.6

Summary .................................................................................. 295

7

Cross-case analysis and conclusion ................................................ 297 7.1

Circulation of concepts and technology........................................... 297

7.2

Appropriation of tramway and light rail technology ....................... 299

7.2.1

The material dimension ............................................................ 301

7.2.2

The institutional dimension ...................................................... 302

7.2.3

Local ownership and political leadership ................................. 305

7.3

Technological styles ........................................................................ 307

7.4

The success of tramway systems and its limits ................................ 309

7.5

Lessons learned for planning practice and research ........................ 311

7.5.1

Lessons learned for planning practice ...................................... 311

7.5.2

Lessons learned for planning research ...................................... 314

7.6

Directions for future research .......................................................... 317

Works Cited

......................................................................................... 319

List of Interview Partners .................................................................................. 369

List of figures Figure 1: Cities with tramway systems in Germany in 2016 and 1920 ............... 12 Figure 2: Cities with tramway systems in France in 2016 and 1920 ................... 13 Figure 3: Cities with tramway systems in England in 2016 and 1920 ................ 14 Figure 4: The analytical framework in a nutshell ................................................ 45 Figure 5: A low-floor tram vehicle at a stop with a matching kerb in Nottingham .......................................................................................... 63 Figure 6: A low-profile platform at a tram stop in Karlsruhe ............................. 64 Figure 7: A tram route along a fairly narrow street in Darmstadt ....................... 65 Figure 8: The interior of the latest generation tramcars in Strasbourg ................ 67 Figure 9: Grass track as a formative design element in different environments . 69 Figure 10: West German cities with tramway systems scrapped between 1950 and 1969 ................................................................................... 90 Figure 11: The landscape of the German tramway renaissance ........................ 113 Figure 12: The Kriegstrasse in Karlsruhe as of 2015 ........................................ 125 Figure 13: Schematic overview of the “Kombilösung” .................................... 127 Figure 14: Material elements of the green line in Karlsruhe ............................. 129 Figure 15: The network concept of the Hannover light rail system .................. 134 Figure 16: The Hannover light rail vehicle with retractable steps .................... 137 Figure 17: Schematic map of the light rail tunnel tracks in Hannover .............. 141 Figure 18: A light rail vehicle operating in the mixed traffic in Hannover ....... 143 Figure 19: The high-platform station infrastructure in Hannover ..................... 145 Figure 20: The flyover at the backside of the main railway station in Hannover ......................................................................................... 146 Figure 21: Tramway systens in France in 1920 (left) and 1975 (right) ............. 152 Figure 22: An emblematic green alignment in the district of Esplanade in Strasbourg ........................................................................................ 171

X

List of figures

Figure 23: Comprehensively planned and designed streetscape along a tram line in the centre of Strasbourg ........................................................ 178 Figure 24: Urban integration of the tramway in the city centre of Strasbourg .. 179 Figure 25: Length of tramway tracks brought into operation since 1985 (in km)................................................................................................... 182 Figure 26: Lyon’s tram vehicle with a front section symbolising a silkworm...185 Figure 27: French urban areas with tramway and metro systems ..................... 188 Figure 28: The central tram stop Homme de Fer .............................................. 201 Figure 29: The first and second generation tramway vehicles of Strasbourg .... 203 Figure 30: The BHLS corridor in the north-west of Strasbourg........................ 210 Figure 31: Integration of the Rouen tramway into the streetscape .................... 219 Figure 32: The new tramcars of the system in Rouen ....................................... 221 Figure 33: Integration of the TEOR system into the city centre landscape of Rouen............................................................................................... 224 Figure 34: The tram-like appearance of the TEOR bus vehicle ........................ 225 Figure 35: English cities and towns with tram systems in 1920 ....................... 231 Figure 36: On-street tram service in the city centre of Nottingham .................. 259 Figure 37: Passenger journeys (in millions) on English light rail and tramways by system......................................................................... 260 Figure 38: A grass track section on the Manchester Metrolink line to Eccles .. 261 Figure 39: A former British rail station with high platforms on the route to Bury ................................................................................................. 268 Figure 40: The visual intrusion of light rail infrastructure in the city centre of Manchester .................................................................................. 269 Figure 41: The new urban fabric at the Salford Quays ..................................... 271 Figure 42: On-street routing of the light rail line to Ashton-under-Lyne .......... 275 Figure 43: The Sheffield tram running on a reserved track (above) and onstreet in mixed traffic (below) ......................................................... 286 Figure 44: The tram stop infrastructure of Sheffield Supertram ....................... 288

List of figures

XI

Figure 45: The Supertram stop at the backside of the railway station in Sheffield .......................................................................................... 290

Figures 1, 2, 3,5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 32, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43 und 43 were added after the defence of the thesis and were thus not part of the manuscript version which the defence was based on. (Die Abbildungen Figure 1, 2, 3,5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 30, 32, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41, 42, 43 und 43 wurden nachträglich eingefügt und waren in der Disputation zugrundeliegende Fassung nicht enthalten.)

List of tables Table 1: Length development of German light rail networks with underground facilities ......................................................................... 107 Table 2: Length development of German tramway networks .......................... 108 Table 3: Length development of tramway networks in German cities with metro lines .......................................................................................... 109 Table 4: Length development of tramway networks in the former East Germany… ......................................................................................... 110 Table 5: Overview of the French tramway systems .......................................... 190 Table 6: Length development of the English light rail and tram networks ....... 254 Table 7: Overview of the features of tram and light rail appropriation and the characteristics of the resulting technological styles in the case countries ............................................................................................. 301

1

Introduction

The tramway, the first means of urban public transport for the masses, reached a peak in its popularity in the three decades at the beginning of the 20 th century, when more than 1,000 cities around the world operated a network. The world economic crisis, which started in America in 1929, slowed down the development of tramway transport and entailed the collapse of many urban and interurban services, especially those with a marginal economic performance. The Second World War additionally accelerated the decline of tramways in the UK and France, but provided the opportunity for tramway reconstruction and reinvestment in the Benelux countries, Germany and Eastern Europe (Taplin 1998). In general, however, in the after-war decades tramways were increasingly banned from city streets in favour of the private car. The mass motoring and the rapid growth in importance of the car meant the end for most European and American tram networks, which had to be replaced by motorbus or underground rail lines. The new ideal for planners and politicians became the “car-oriented” city. The common trend to abandon tramway lines continued until the beginning of the 1980s, when only 300 tramways were left around the world out of the more than 1,000 existing earlier (Taplin 1995; MVG 2008). In this decade the line dismantling slowed down notably and the tramway began to reappear in a number of cities in several, mainly Western European, countries. Just a few years later, by the 1990s, tramways had become a modern means of public transport again (Schmucki 2010), and the interest in them was markedly increasing. The previous practice of closing down tram services swung into the opposite trend: the opening of numerous new tram lines, initially in the USA and in France, followed by other countries, which had also largely scrapped their tramway heritage in the past decades. Elsewhere, especially in Germany, innovative technology had been introduced to modernise and extend the preserved networks. The innovations included low-floor vehicles, modular vehicle design, lighter and less expensive rolling stock, more facilities for level boarding, priority signalling at junctions, and track sharing between mainline railway and light rail vehicles (Topp 1999). The vast cost of underground public transport and the advancement in traffic control technology incited additionally to a shift in popularity from metros to tramway and light rail1 alignments, mostly with extensive street running (Mackett and Babalik-Sutcliffe 2003; Topp 1999). 1

See Chapter 3.1.5 for more information about the difference between tramways and light rail.

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_1

2

Introduction

Overall, a comprehensive development of both new and existing tramways had resulted, and this trend has been recently reinforced by the efforts for electrificating public and individual transport as a core aspect of improving the environmental profile of urban transport2. Transport experts spoke of the “renaissance of the tramway” (Schmucki 2010; Topp 1998; Brändli 1995). 1.1

The renaissance of tramways – a socio-technical approach

The renaissance of the tram has been clearly a much acclaimed and internationally imitated development since the 1980s, which has entailed the reestablishment of a technological system that had constituted an important part of local transportation in the past (Cohen-Blankshtain and Feitelson 2010; Schmucki 2010; Hattori 2004; Laconte 2004). However, Brändli (1995) insisted that there was no revival in the sense of resurgence in old form, because the modern tramway was a different system as compared to the traditional streetcars of the first half of the twentieth century. The well-known mode of transport was rather re-invented and deployed in new ways. It was obvious that the rail in the streets (German: “Straßenbahn3”) was on the rise, not as a temporary fad, but as a corollary of a new transport policy. The advancement of many schemes during the 1990s and the first decades of the twenty-first century confirmed the longlasting interest in the technology and its worldwide implementation. In this period more than 120 cities around the world built new tramways or light rail, and as of 2015, almost 20 other schemes have been under construction or in advanced planning stages. For Topp (1999), the most interesting developments of tram and light rail systems were going on in Western Europe, where, in fact, half of the inaugurations within the last three decades took place. As a result of these practices, thirty years after its appearance (Goldsack 1981), the expression “renaissance” or “revival of the tramway” has been widely adopted as a figure of speech. It has diffused into the vocabulary of scholars and researchers (HassKlau et al. 2004; Topp 1995; Köstlin and Wollmann 1987; Priester and Büttner 2012; Groneck 2016), corporations and public bodies (e.g. MVG 2008, pp. 4f.; MESDE 2012) as well as specialised popular publications (e.g. Burmeister 2012; Groneck 2009) and the general press (e.g. Frieß 2016; Koch 2012; Simons 2008; WiWo 1999). The expression has been used to label not only the establishment of the first schemes of the 1980s and the early 1990s, but it also refers to ongoing plans and projects for building new networks, extensions of existing lines and 2 3

See e.g. Glotz-Richter and Koch (2016). The German term for "tramway”, in fact, is Straßenbahn, which implies the notion of a “railway in the road”. Strassenbahn has been also widely translated as operation, infrastructure, or vehicle. (Phraner 2002)

The renaissance of tramways – a socio-technical approach

3

technical improvements in various cities around the world. Mostly, recent developments comprise track extensions and the introduction of new rolling stock to public transport networks that may grow in their length and service capacity, but effectively change little in their form and style. With its wide-spread use, the expression “tramway renaissance” seems to imply a certain self-evidence and straight-forwardness of the processes and practices it refers to. The arguments presented in this thesis aim to demonstrate that this is not at all the case and a systematic consideration of the issue is needed. The “renaissance of tramways” goes beyond the launch of new infrastructure, new vehicles and new services, which takes place at different sites nowadays. Particularly in Western Europe, the re-introduction of trams was not just building tracks in the streets, but it often went along with a new conception of space sharing, promotion of urbanity and social cohesion or the strengthening of the city’s image (Moraglio 2011; Aparicio 2004; Mackett and Edwards 1998). The “renaissance of tramways” is therefore to be viewed as a composite and complex phenomenon, which summarises in itself urban needs and inertias, city revitalization and social demands (Cervero 1998). Moraglio (2011) calls for a better understanding of this phenomenon, “because it covers more than just transport technology, people fluxes or positive social actions, it also comprises identities, behaviour and urban issues”. For him, the renaissance involves largescale urban policy, mobility management, social demands for efficient mass transport, and widespread concerns about pollution and traffic (im)mobility (Moraglio 2011). It has been widely recognised that a very important factor behind the “renaissance” was the change of mind about transport and urban environment (Topp 1999; Moraglio 2011; Souter 2001; Budoni 1997; Haefeli 2008; Schmucki 2010; MESDE 2012). Olesen (2014) also notices that growing concerns about the environment and the struggle against the established car dominance in the urban regions encouraged the early interest in the tramway throughout the 1970s and the 1980s. The oil crisis of the 1970s additionally urged for alternatives to the individual motorised mobility (Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Olesen 2014). As a consequence, contrary to the car-oriented planning of the mid-twentieth century, since the 1990s, there have been efforts to give back the surface in city centres to pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport. This reminds of the constellation early in the twentieth century when tramway travel and walking were the preferred ways of getting about (SYPTE 2003). Streetlevel rail systems have been considered to meet people’s needs much better with respect to accessibility, urban life experience, personal safety and orientation. Therefore, trams have also been used for the revitalisation and redevelopment of the urban streets. Tramways support the pursuit of a clear vision of a more inviting and environmentally stable urban character (Phraner 2002). The

4

Introduction

tramway renaissance marked, hence, a general change in planning perspective — from adapting the city to automobile traffic towards liveability and sustainable urban development (Olesen 2014; Gallez et al. 2013; Moraglio 2011). All these aspects contributed to the re-discovery and the comeback of the tram “as a highperformance and flexible transport mode” (MVG 2008, p. 4). The tram ceased to be considered obsolete and inefficient and became modern in the public perception (Moraglio 2011; Schmucki 2010). Based on Moraglio (2011), it can be claimed that the large technical system of the tram changed thoroughly, and the complex reconfiguration of this system has had a comprehensive character, embracing the evolution of its technological components just as large scale developments in its social dimension. The “renaissance of tramways” has apparently a global character and embraces similar processes that have been occurring internationally, thereby allowing for the exchange of ideas, concepts and technology between numerous places. Yet, tramway and light rail systems have evolved in distinct ways throughout Europe and the world (Taplin 1998), featuring significant differences, both, at the national and the local level. Currently, in various national contexts it is possible to speak of the emergence of ‘national light rail practices’ (Olesen 2014), some people even speak of “style” of developing light rail and tram systems (Hassiak and Richer 2012). The practices are closely linked to the elaboration of national policies and decision-making models as well as certain local modes of realising tram and light rail projects. In relation to the dominant principles and instruments of the decision-making patterns and assessment mechanisms, Hassiak and Richer (2012) distinguish three major European models: those of England, Germany and France. According to them, the underlying logic of tramway and light rail development is commercial (“economical”) in England, functional in Germany, and political in France4. Based on these logics, tramway systems have to be above all commercially profitable in England, functionally efficient in Germany and aesthetically appealing (“beautiful”) in France (Hassiak and Richer 2012). Olesen (2014) notes that the high aesthetic aspirations of the new tramways in France have attracted significant attention to the “French model for light rail mobility”, as she calls it. This is associated with the total landscape redesign of the tramway corridors, whereby the tram is rather used as a tool for urban regeneration and development5. In other European countries, the tramway is considered primarily a transport tool (CERTU 2009b). Olesen (2014) posits the latter to be a general characteristic of the UK tramways, which function as pure transport technology under a market-driven planning approach to public trans4

They assume that other countries may be closer to one or another of the three categories, but also admit that they can follow a completely different logic. 5 See for more details Chapter 5.

Previous socio-technical research on public transport

5

port. That’s why their link to urbanism is not as strong as that of the French systems. Olesen (2014) also mentions a “German model for light rail mobility”, which does not exhibit high aesthetic values but features close relations to urban development, in terms of providing accessibility and connectivity; however, this “model” is not further specified. Like Hassiak and Richer (2012), Olesen (2014) adds that the three models touched upon are only some examples of the great variety of “light rail practices” in the European context. In fact, this variety results from the influence not only of national approaches to tram transport but also from local practices in the implementing venues. In each city, light rail development is subject to lengthy and complex processes of policy making, planning and administrative approval involving different actors at multiple spatial levels, and marked by high degrees of uncertainty. Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013) stress that these processes follow rather an ‘immanent’ logic and do not simply mirror pre-given mechanisms and a-priori knowledge. Apparently, the tramway renaissance presents a development which is not only about the spread and use of technical artefacts, but is also interrelated with social processes embedded in particular contexts. Therefore, for the comprehensive exploration of this complex development, an analytical approach is needed, which goes beyond the technology fix governed under purely economic considerations and highlights instead the co-evolution and multiple interactions between technology, markets, policy and civil society. Such an approach offers a good way of understanding the societal and political trends in which the tramway development is embedded, as well as the guiding principles of the actual planning practice. It furthermore sheds light on the relationship between transport and urban evolution by focusing on the unique constellations of each city (Olesen 2014). 1.2

Previous socio-technical research on public transport

Within the broad field of social studies of technology, a socio-technical research approach has been developed which conceives of infrastructure networks not just as ensembles of technical objects but as systems encompassing a wide range of technical, social and environmental components. Such socio-technical systems are considered to be shaped by the interaction and interdependencies of their social and technical elements, whereby material and social structures are supposed to have co-evolved with each other and with the practices that they enable. The concept of co-evolution suggesting that the development of various system components influences the development of other components forms a basic part of the socio-technical research approach. Therefore, the analytical focus of this approach has been set not on the most visible material artefacts of

6

Introduction

socio-technical configurations but on their structural dynamics and complex processes6. The socio-technical research tradition has included the analysis of diverse technological systems (Beckman, 1994), but its integration into transport studies is a rather new research direction (Geels 2012). Nonetheless, Olesen (2014) showed recently that over the years several studies on public transport have also used a socio-technical approach, but before her dissertation no research approached tramways and light rail from a socio-technical perspective that focuses on the interplay between the political and cultural side and the material and spatial dimensions of this mobility mode. Such an approach is, however, essential to grasping the role of light rail in a wider societal and spatial context. In fact, applying a socio-technical perspective on the analysis of tramway systems, and the tramway renaissance, in particular, is a promising and fairly novel research design, but in this regard, the relevant conceptual works of Moraglio (2011) and Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013) have to be considered, too 7. Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013) adopt a post-structural perspective on the global mushrooming of the light rail concept and zoom into one particular city which is aspiring to build a light rail line – Nijmegen in the Netherlands. In their article, they implement a relational framework, inspired by actor-network-theory, in order to understand the local planning practice and capacity-building against the background of the global emergence of the transport concept. Thereby, the authors accentuate the local specificity of the practices in the concrete case. Moraglio (2011) looks into the tram renaissance as part of the public transport revival after the 1970s that has resulted from the post-war urban transport model's failure to deliver its promises. Applying the idea of Large Technical Systems in combination with participation theory and governance issues, he focuses on the analysis of the mutual relations of the tram revival with various societal developments, with a special emphasis on the emergence of participative democracy and passenger involvement in public transport. His concept elicits several technological, social, and environmental dilemmas, focusing on the users’ influence and the role of technology in shaping cities and the mobility agenda. In this connection, he concludes that the tram has left a “conspicuous 6

The socio-technical research perspective and central concepts embedded in it are presented and discussed in Chapter 2.1. 7 Two historical research theses have also applied a socio-technical approach to the study of tramway systems. Ekman (2003) used the LTS model for the investigation of the tram transport decline in Stockholm, which resulted from the struggle for road space between cars and public transport. Thelle (2013) analysed the development of the old Copenhagen tramway by focusing on its interrelations with the urban public spaces, the users and the vision of the ‘modern city’.

Aim of the thesis

7

footprint in the history of mobility” (p. 15), such that light rail is still depicted as an indispensable device for liveable cities. Whereas Moraglio (2011) and Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013) present shorter conceptual papers on the characteristics and practice of the light rail idea, Olesen (2014) provides an in-depth study on the light rail projects in four mid-sized European cities. By assuming a qualitative analytical perspective, her PhD thesis understands light rail as a tool in strategic urban development, hence ‘more than transport projects’. Olesen explores the rationale and political ideologies which had been governing the decision to implement light rail in selected case cities and adds to the existing body of literature about light rail, which has often lacked a perspective on the relevant political, social and cultural interrelations with the transport technology. The theoretical basis of the thesis lies in the field of mobilities studies8 and the relational and post-structural concept of the actor– network-theory, which allows for grasping the relations between the social and the technical dimensions of light rail systems. Empirically, case studies in four European cities are conducted, which are comparable in size with the ongoing Danish light rail projects. Bergen in Norway, Angers in France, Bern in Switzerland and Freiburg in Germany illustrate four different contexts with distinct planning approaches and light rail visions. In her comparison, Olesen finds that the guiding material and spatial concepts and practices varied among the studied places and thus have different implications for the urban spaces and mobility hierarchies. Therefore, she concludes, light rail systems must be studied in relation to their political and cultural context, whereby the entire decisionmaking process should be considered in order to fully understand the factors behind their development and performance. With her work, Olesen (2014) fruitfully brings in the perspective on the social and cultural production as well as the material and spatial practice of light rail as a supplement to the dominating rather technical and economic analysis. 1.3

Aim of the thesis

Inspired by the work previously done on light rail and tramway systems from a socio-technical standpoint, the present thesis aims at describing, analysing and understanding the tramway renaissance by adopting a systemic approach. It is argued that the analysis of the tramway renaissance has to raise the questions of 8

Conceiving of space as spanned by flows, mobilities studies explore the social implications of the movement of people, objects, ideas and information (Cresswell 2006; Urry 2007). This research approach has also been framed as ‘the new mobilities paradigm’ and the ‘mobilities turn’ in social sciences. For more details, see Urry (2007), Sheller and Urry (2006) and Kaufmann (2003).

8

Introduction

not only what and how much has happened and changed; it is also necessary to ask how and why this has come about, and which agents were involved. Moreover, it means also asking when certain events were possible and took place; hence the renaissance is to be seen as a process over time. Integrating explanatory patterns and understandings from transport studies, planning, economics and policy analysis, the dissertation is looking for drivers, impact forces, actors and interest constellations behind the rebirth of tramways in Western Europe. In doing so, the tramway renaissance is analysed through three closely interdependent aspects: the physical (material) structures, the relevant institutions and the associated discourses. As Olesen (2014) points out, in previous studies on light rail, little attention has been paid to the genesis and history of the systems. Furthermore, the particular contexts were not sufficiently explored, so that important explanatory factors concerning the development and the performance of systems have remained unrevealed. This thesis aspires to contribute to the closing of this gap by examining the way in which the tramways and light rails in a number of cities evolved in the course of time, the various planning strategies that were employed and the social and political factors influencing the adoption of such strategies. Framing with the problem of similarity and difference (Hård and Misa 2008), the aim is to comprehend the evolving form of the systems and networks as well as to explain how tramways were appropriated locally in various distinct ways and at the same time exhibit several comparable features with respect to discourses, policies and technological solutions. While recognising certain global patterns in the tramway renaissance, to an even larger extent, the accent is on how the systems have been shaped by locally embedded practices. The cases studied here will show how unique and stable system constellations may result from local approaches to problem-solving. In this regard, the mechanisms leading to national and regional differences (“styles”) will be systematically identified and explained. The issue is of empirical as well as of conceptual relevance, since the notion of “style” was not systematically elaborated in the context of the tramway renaissance. Hassiak and Richer (2012), who suggested the term, did not conceptualise “styles” but just assumed that such one can be distinguished. Furthermore, the thesis will look closely at the circulation of the identified original models and concepts. Moraglio (2011), Olesen (2014) and Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013) acknowledge the global character and increasing popularity of the light rail concept, but neither they nor previous research analysed the connections between implementing cities, the transfer of particular models and ideas, and the importance of improvements and innovations for this process. It is hence meaningful to look at the spread of the different (national and local)

Aim of the thesis

9

models in search of characteristics and explanations for their implementation, modification or rejection. Based on the considerations presented above, the guiding research question of this thesis is formulated as follows: How did tramway and light rail systems in Western Europe evolve in the course of the international tramway renaissance and which specific styles unfolded thereby? For answering this question, it is argued here that the tramway renaissance has to be addressed in a more differentiated manner than previously done, because it comprises a multiplicity of socio-technical system arrangements, the development paths of which have shaped the options for change. Furthermore, it is argued that despite the wide adoption of the expression “tramway renaissance” as a commonly used figure of speech, the acclaimed ongoing renaissance cannot be simply taken for granted because its constitutive features – the particular system configurations – have been the uncertain outcome of complex and contested processes of technology appropriation. These configurations embody the multiple interrelations between transport technology and urban life in a locale and can therefore display quite distinct forms. The empirical part of the thesis will show that tramways and light rail were appropriated not in one single manner across and within different countries; moreover, it will also show how the local appropriation feeds back into the broad circulation of technology and ideas and that way reshapes them. In order to embrace the stated aims of the thesis, the notion of “style” will be elaborated as a conceptual lens to understand the multi-faceted nature of the international tramway renaissance, in particular, and of socio-technical change, in general. The elaborations on the “style” concept can be considered a pertinent contribution to the body of research literature on socio-technical systems. To fully treat the formulated research questions, a spatially nuanced analytical framework will be developed in the thesis, which conceives of the tramway renaissance as a socio-technical phenomenon simultaneously present at multiple locations and scales, characterised by local appropriation but also by the international circulation of technology and relevant transport planning concepts and ideas9. This framework will stress the socio-technical nature of the renaissance and the interdependence of technical and non-technical aspects whilst recognising the context-sensitive nature of the development. Adopting a large technical systems (LTS) approach, as introduced by the historian of technology Thomas P. Hughes, the focus will be on the transport technology and material network infrastructures, sometimes referred to as infrasystems (Hughes 1983; Summerton 1994; Kaijser 2004). According to Hughes, all sociotechnical 9

See Chapter 2.2.

10

Introduction

systems are edified and structured around a certain technical core of physical artefacts, which are interweaved with social aspects and components (Hughes 1983, p. 465). For Monstadt, it is one of the contributions of historical studies of technology to have described networked infrastructures as sociotechnical systems and to have brought an explicitly urban perspective to the technologies, explaining their development and political regulation as well as their impact on urban life (Monstadt 2009). Hence, the LTS approach is particularly useful for the study of large, complex and technology-intensive systems as well as for the consideration of interactions with other systems and society. In order to strengthen the conceptual power of this approach for the analysis of the tramway renaissance, it will be supplemented by some more recent concepts and insights from the socio-technical research literature concerning especially the appropriation and circulation of technology and ideas. In doing so, a contribution is made to a comprehensive conceptualisation of the evolution of tramway and light rail systems and of the possibilities of influencing that process. In order to capture and analyse the multi-dimensional nature of the tramway renaissance and the inherent complexity of the relevant real-world processes, a comparative multiple case study design will be applied in which contrasting cases exhibiting a maximum variation of national and local development paths are chosen. The rationale for this design is to highlight common traits and differences regarding patterns and chronology across very different contexts and thereby to derive insights about the socio-technical arrangements shaping the development and the performance of tramways and light rails in Western Europe. By applying a comparative approach going beyond self-referential single case studies and narrow perspectives limited to one national framework, a reasonably complex picture of the tramway renaissance can be drawn which illustrates not only the local appropriation but also the circulation of technology and ideas including the influence and mutual relationships between transnationally spread implementing venues. Based on the review of a wide range of information sources about the evolution of European trams and light rails in the recent decades, three countries and two cities in each of them have been purposefully chosen as study cases. In order to ensure variation in the context of system development, the empirical focus is set, on the one hand, on the structures and processes at the national level in Germany, France, and England, which feature three distinct paths in the tramway renaissance in Europe; and on the other hand, on the regional differences within the countries. In the early 20th century, all major cities in these three countries

Aim of the thesis

11

were served by a tram line or a tram network 10 (Hassiak and Richer 2012), but then the fate of this transport mode got significantly differentiated in the respective countries.

10

See for an illustration Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3.

12

Figure 1: Cities with tramway systems in Germany in 2016 and 1920 Source: own illustration based on Frenz (1987) and VDV (2015)

Introduction

Aim of the thesis

Figure 2: Cities with tramway systems in France in 2016 and 1920 Source: own illustration based on Groneck (2007, 2016)

13

14

Figure 3: Cities with tramway systems in England in 2016 and 1920 Source: own illustration based on Turner (2007, 2009)

Introduction

Aim of the thesis

15

Germany has preserved a big part of its old systems, and with around 60 tramways and light rails has the greatest number of networks in Europe 11. France and England, after having scrapped almost all of their networks, were actively looking for the reintroduction of modern tram services. In France, this means of transport has grown remarkably in popularity and a massive investment in the reopening of modern systems is evident. As a result, the country has led the way worldwide with 25 cities launching new tramways within three decades. England, in contrast, has witnessed only few light rail re-openings despite a multitude of earlier existing networks. The three distinct paths and dynamics, unfolding in very different institutional and cultural environments, will be studied in more detail in order to obtain deeper insights about the renaissance of tramways in Western Europe. Moreover, to provide a more differentiated picture of the tramway renaissance, the development of six pioneer systems, two in each country, will be closely examined. In particular, the evolution of the systems in Karlsruhe and Hannover in Germany, Strasbourg and Rouen in France, and Manchester and Sheffield in England, will be analysed. These six cases allow for studying a maximum variety not only in national contexts, but also in local settings. Thereby their choice does not aim to stress one single aspect of the tramway and light rail potentials, as Olesen (2014) did, who explored only cases where light rail was explicitly used as a tool for urban development. Rather, the perspective of this thesis offers insights into the plurality of the European experience and shows how the course of events varied according to local circumstances as the distinct countries and cities developed their own dynamics. In order to capture this dynamics, the research focus will expand beyond the early stages of the systems’ evolution, which have been the traditional study object of the adopted LTS approach, and will look also at the recent inflections marked by increasing system maturity. In doing so, insights can be gained into the prospects for the countries under study, the possibilities of cities, and the potential of the transport technology. The case studies have the potential to reveal positive models or warning examples for the future, so that lessons to be learned for other projects will be formulated. The comparative analysis is based on empirical data obtained from several different sources: policy and planning documents, previous studies on the systems, other published materials including grey literature and press articles, as well as interviews and fieldtrips. The extensive document review allowed for 11

Only the Russian Federation has more cities with tramways, some of them are located in the Asian part of the country, though.

16

Introduction

obtaining a comprehensive picture of the discourses and key events in the development of the scrutinised tramway and light rail systems. The written information was supplemented by expert interviews with planning practitioners from the different contexts. In sum, the use of the diverse sources enabled the adoption of a comprehensive and multifaceted perspective on the tramway renaissance in the countries and cities studied here 12. 1.4

Outline of the thesis

The outline of the thesis is as follows. Chapter 2 elaborates the theoretical and methodological basis of the thesis. In particular, the Large Technical Systems (LTS) approach and the concepts of circulation and appropriation are presented, and drawing on these theoretical insights, the conceptual framework for the socio-technical analysis of the tramway renaissance is developed. The chapter also outlines the case study design and research methodology. Chapter 3 starts with an overview of the general lines of development of the tramway transport in Western Europe and presents the technical innovations characterising the tramway renaissance as well as the associated concept of light rail. Subsequently, a review of the existing academic research on tram and light rail systems is given, which represents the globally circulating discourses in academia and planning. This review serves as a referral for the following analysis of particular cases. Chapters 4, 5 and 6 are the main empirical part of the thesis. They cover the historical background, institutional settings and practices of tramway transport in Germany, France and England, respectively. The city case studies are included in the chapter dedicated to the respective country. The cases are explored separately within the context of national level structures, while a cross-case analysis takes place in Chapter 7. That last chapter draws on the context-specific knowledge obtained from the empirical cases to provide more general lessons considering the evolution of tramway and light rail systems and point out a number of policy implications of the research findings. Finally, the chapter reflects on potential directions for further research in the realm of socio-technical analysis of tramway and public transport systems.

12

More details on the case study design are provided in Chapter 2.3.

2

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

This chapter elaborates the theoretical and methodological basis of the thesis. First, central theoretical concepts and insights for the study of infrastructure and technology from a socio-technical perspective are presented and discussed (Chapter 2.1). Drawing on these, the conceptual framework for the sociotechnical analysis of the tramway renaissance is developed (Chapter 2.2). Finally, the case study design and research methodology are outlined (Chapter 2.3). 2.1

Theoretical foundations of the analysis

The overview of theoretical concepts used to analytically grasp the tramway renaissance in Western Europe begins by the introduction of the socio-technical research perspective on technology. Following this, the Large Technical Systems (LTS) approach and the concepts of circulation and appropriation of technology are presented highlighting key insights relevant to the present study. The discussion of these concepts is supplemented by recent scholar debates with view of strengthening their contribution to the derivation of the analytical framework of the thesis. 2.1.1

A socio-technical perspective on technology

As Olesen (2014) points out, in previous studies on light rail, little attention has been paid to the genesis and history of the systems. Furthermore, the particular contexts were not sufficiently explored, so that important explanatory factors concerning the development and the performance of systems have remained unrevealed. However, it is difficult to understand why and how strategic decisions are taken without knowledge of the past events leading up to them, because their history restricts the available options and largely shapes the opportunities for action. The frameworks for technological development have emerged over long periods of time, and they contain a heavy legacy. This makes it important to learn about their history (Kaijser 2004). A research body within the social studies of technology stresses the value of a comprehensive perspective with historic sensitivity for studying technological artefacts and systems, and understanding their characteristics and place in society (e.g. Bijker et al. 1987; Hughes 1983; Kaijser 2004). This perspective provides awareness of the historical and geographical contingency of any human-made materiality, understood as technology (Hård and Misa 2008), and its social and cultural © Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_2

18

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

embeddedness (Hallström and Gyberg 2011). It is commonly accepted that technology is the product of individuals and groups acting in complex social contexts (Schmucki 2010). Thereby technology develops within dynamic social boundaries, as set by laws, through policies, designers’ ideas and users’ behaviour (Hård and Misa 2008; Bijker 1995). Furthermore, the evolution of technology involves relations and interaction with various actors and factors – inventors, system builders and users, political and economic driving forces, formal and informal rules (Hallström and Gyberg 2011). The interaction of social and cultural processes with technology has defined how and where people live, work, or move about in cities and regions. In turn, technology has been designed as a response to the needs of the, mostly urban, population and commerce. Therefore, cities, urbanisation dynamics and urban life can be viewed as arising from the intense interrelations with technology (Gullberg and Kaijser 2004; Hughes 1983, 1987; Melosi 2000; Moss 2014), whereby the concomitant public and private choices and their underlying criteria have been generally context-specific and have changed over time (Hård and Misa 2008). The introduction of urban technologies does not always run smoothly and is normally accompanied by intensive rhetorical work, which is necessary to overcome local criticism and resistance and to gain support in political and juridical battles (Hård and Misa 2008). Consequently, social, political, economic and cultural factors shape the distinct ways in which cities and their technological systems evolve. Particular models have emerged in competition to but also as imitation of other models and have been implicitly and explicitly defined in relation to them (Driver and Gilbert 1999, p. 9). This perspective implies thus that technological development is not only about the application of material artefacts, but is also an act of social construction embedded in a particular culture (Schmucki 2010). Given this complex socio-technical constellation, the associated heterogeneous processes have been often messy, highly contested and inherently political, framed by contexts of action and contingent events (Hård and Misa 2008; Moss 2014). From the comprehensive perspective presented above, it follows that technology, and technological systems, should be understood as a “seamless web” (Hughes 1983, 1987) of technical, economic, social, and political aspects. For studying it, the historian of technology Thomas P. Hughes advocated a ‘sociotechnical systems research methodology’, sometimes referred to as ‘the’ Large Technical Systems13 (LTS) approach (Van der Vleuten 2004). This approach takes an 13

It is to be noted that the notion of ‘large technical systems’ refers to both a category of phenomena as well as a research methodology, and there is no consensus on a strict definition of the term (Van der Vleuten 2004).

Theoretical foundations of the analysis

19

explicitly systemic perspective that highlights the interrelation of material and social aspects of technology and networked infrastructures whilst recognising the strong contextual influence on their evolution. The material infrastructure – also referred to as infrasystem (Summerton 1994, p. 1; Kaijser 2004), tends to be the focal point of interest, but not simply as a set of physical artefacts and technologies. The links and nodes of networks and the associated technical devices are integrated into, sustained by, and interact with comprehensive sociohistorical contexts (Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004; Kaijser 2004). An infrasystem comprises also the people and organisational bodies that plan, build, operate, use, and regulate it, as well as the economic and legal conditions for the activities. Infrasystems should be treated thus as sociotechnical systems, in which the institutional rules and norms and the cultural values are as important as the technological components (Kaijser 2004; Summerton, 1994). Thomas P. Hughes stresses that technological systems contain messy, complex, problemsolving elements, and they are “both socially constructed and society shaping” (Hughes 1987, p. 51). A socio-technical systems perspective, as established through the LTS approach, is therefore necessary to understand these complex ensembles of interacting elements. 2.1.2

Large technical systems

The point of departure for the interdisciplinary LTS research field is Thomas P. Hughes’ work “Networks of Power: Electrification in Western Society 1880– 1930” (Hughes, 1983), which provides a comparative analysis of the establishment and growth of electrical power systems in the United States, Germany and Britain (Kaijser 2004; Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004). By emphasizing the importance of contextual factors, Hughes describes in details the evolution of technical and institutional networks and their interrelation with social changes during the study period. Although Hughes’ work is mainly a historical study of the emergence of electricity supply in Chicago, Berlin and London, he proposes a heuristic model which is able to describe and explain the driving forces behind technical and industrial change and the general dynamics of system development. This model comprises several concepts and analytical tools applicable to other (large) technical systems – such as “system builders”, “momentum,” “reverse salients” and “technological style”. Influential actors, called “system builders”, align technical and non-technical elements into a sociotechnical whole. System builders identify “reverse salients” – elements lagging behind and thus limiting the total system development – and translate them into “critical problems”, which can and are to be solved. Other important notions are that of “technological style” – the context dependent diffusion of technology – and “momentum”, which point to structural drivers of system development. After a period of system growth and consolidation, a technical

20

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

system has acquired a large mass and direction to provide it with substantial momentum leading to stability. (van der Vleuten 2006; Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004) In studies of systems, a broad assumption is that the various components have to be edified, arranged and coordinated in order to function as a coherent whole (Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004). According to Hughes, sociotechnical systems are structured around a certain technical core, that is a basic set-up of physical artefacts and technical connections (Hughes 1983, p. 465). Thereby the systems are defined not by, but through their technical cores, which may consist of several other subsystems. In Hughes’ concept, elements have to be interrelated to be part of the system, i.e. one-way influence does not establish system links. The components that do not interact with the system items belong to the surrounding environment, but the (analytical) boundary separating them is fluid. In the course of the system’s growth and evolution, an entity of the environment can be brought under the system’s control and integrated into it, thereby eliminating sources of uncertainty (Hughes 1987, p. 53). This dynamic understanding of the development of technical systems allows for accounting of contingencies and various kinds of circumstantial changes in the analysis (Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004). Hughes used the concept of a system in order to stress explicitly the interconnections between technical and various other components, and called actors establishing and sustaining such connections “system builders” (Van der Vleuten 2018; Joerges 1999). “System-builders” denotes thus individuals or groups who have a dominant role in the development of socio-technical systems. Over time, the actors shaping and reshaping the system may change, as may also their relative power, in particular depending on the kind of problems to be solved in the different development stages. Thomas Hughes posited that large technical systems evolve and expand following a path consisting of a few loosely defined phases, marked by invention and development, innovation and competition and, eventually, consolidation and rationalisation (Hughes 1983, pp. 14-15; 1987). Kaijser (2004) labelled the corresponding phases of infrasystem development: the establishment, expansion and stagnation phases. In the establishing phase, a system emerges under the influence of particular political, economic, social, cultural and geographical factors and has to cope with high degrees of technical and institutional uncertainty. Driven by the quest for a high load factor14, user base diversification and an optimal mix of resources, the 14

The load factor gives the ratio of average output to the maximum output during a given time frame.

Theoretical foundations of the analysis

21

system enters in an expansion phase leading to an improved service quality due to an increasing pool of users and locations (Hughes 1987). In parallel, once successfully established, systems are often reproduced in other countries, regions or cities (Kaijser 2004). System building is, therefore, very much about the development of concepts and solutions for multiple applications in many places. Disembedding the initial solution, when new and particularly international spaces are to be opened, it offers a generic system with the ability to be locally adjusted (Joerges 1999, pp. 283-284). Hughes (1987) calls the process of interregional and international spread of technological structures, which can take place throughout the whole evolution of a system, “technology transfer” 15. Brought into a different environment, a system generally needs certain adaptations to the cultural, institutional and social particularities of the new context. As a result of the associated transformations of the system arrangements, various “technological styles” unfold which largely depend on multiple factors of the local and national settings 16. The technological structures do not remain then standard and monolithic, but are rather bound to a specific place and time. The emerging differences in technology – the essence of style – are shaped largely by the cultural elements of the particular context (Hughes 1983, p. 405). Besides a distinct style, a maturing socio-technical ensemble is characterised also by a substantial momentum. In the periods of growth and expansion, the system has acquired a large technological and organisational mass on its development trajectory thereby gaining this momentum (Hughes 1987, pp. 55-68). Nonetheless, the growth eventually slows down and then starts to diminish, because in the meantime new competing systems have emerged or simply due to the limits of growth stemming from decreasing economies of scale. As a result the development stagnates, and the system needs to consolidate. Kaijser (2004) describes this final phase as ‘stagnation’, while Hughes (1987) uses the term ‘consolidation’. This evolution model assuming an ordered process of system growth with several distinct phases has been criticized for being too linear, for excluding perspectives beyond the main decision-makers by over-exposing ‘heroic' system builders at the cost of critical actors, for paying little attention to conflict and for attributing an inordinate amount of influence to the system builders (Joerges 15

Kaijser (2004) focuses on the institutional arrangements of technological systems, which result for him from the encounter of technology and society, and uses the term “institutional transfer”. He notes that the institutional framework for the first infrasystem has served as a model for the later development of other systems. In new contexts, the original institutional set-up is generally adapted to the local political and socio-economic conditions. 16 In the model of Kaijser (2004), the “institutional transfer” (between countries) leads to the emergence of specific national institutional regimes for infrasystems.

22

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

1999; Law 1991; Hård, 1993; Summerton 1994). In response to this critique, later LTS research conceived of system building as an open-ended and conflicted multi-actor process (Van der Vleuten 2018; Manders et al. 2016). The research brought out that system-building is indeed a complex venture involving multiple players but, still, key actors can be distinguished who address central problems relevant to the overall system development, which include deviating viewpoints, alternatives and failures (Manders et al. 2016; Van der Vleuten et al. 2007). Therefore, studying actors as system builders can be applied as a heuristic approach to the dynamics of system evolution and the accompanying conflicts and tensions (Van der Vleuten 2018; Manders et al. 2016; Janáč and van der Vleuten 2016). This allows for symmetrically investigating successful system building and failures as well as the emergence of the associated technological styles. In his original model, Thomas Hughes proposed not only a development path consisting of “stages and ages” but also coined several concepts for the structural analysis of the socio-technical system dynamics. “Reverse salients” and “critical problems” are associated with the expansion phase and suggest an uneven pattern of development. A reverse salient is a metaphor denoting an institutional or technological component lagging behind the system’s overall progress, thus constraining its evolution. Once having identified it, the system builders define the reverse salient as a set of critical problems that must be solved in order to continue the system development. In some cases, however, a reverse salient cannot be corrected within the framework of an existing system, and the problem becomes a radical one, which may trigger the emergence of a new competing system (Hughes 1987, p. 75). A "battle of the systems" 17 can result between the two, but this does not need to entail the definite replacement of the old one, rather they can further co-exist in a competitive or complementary relationship (Hughes 1987, p. 75). Different studies had focused on the conflictual notion of a “battle” between systems resulting in the displacement of one technology by another, which thereupon achieves a stable configuration18 (David 1992). However, Moss (2000, 2001) demonstrated that there can also be constellations with a number of diverse reverse salients and hence no clear-cut choice between two alternatives, which eventually result in the coexistence of different localized technical solutions. Acknowledging co-existence among socio-technical systems is an important extension of Hughes’ model because it allows for the 17

18

Thomas Hughes used the phrase “battle of the systems” to describe the struggling of the proponents of direct and alternating current during the 1880s. See the (early) applications of the Multi-Level Perspective (MLP) on socio-technical transitions, which assumed the complete replacement of one technological system by another one (e.g. Geels 2005, 2006a, 2006b, 2006c).

Theoretical foundations of the analysis

23

consideration of a wider range of existing configurations as opposed to the assumption of a single dominant infrastructure network (Furlong 2014). By accepting that no whole-scale displacement of one system by another has to take place, on has the possibility to conceptually account for more modest system modifications including the integration of well-known technologies and mundane practices (Furlong 2014; Furlong 2011; Shove 2003). Therefore, changes to large technical systems do not need to be radical in nature in the wake of a “battle of systems”, but they can rather be incremental (Summerton 1994) and organic (Shove 2003), coming from users, and can manifest themselves in a range of outcomes across space (Usselman 1994). In Hughes’ model, the inherent objective of a technical system is to achieve stability and he argued that changes to the configuration of elements forming the system would entail a recalibration of other parts of it so that the overall consistency is retained (Hughes 1987, p. 51). In order to describe how a system becomes stabilised, Hughes introduced the notion of “momentum” which accounts for the evolving relationship between society and technology. With increasing maturity of the system, the large mass of technical and institutional components acquired over the course of time provides a “momentum” to the system, so that it continues to expand with a certain velocity. Hence, from a particular time point on, the large technical system exhibits a characteristic which is comparable to the inertia of directed motion. Because of the significant investments of various kinds, the durability of artefacts and of knowledge, and the multiplicity of interests committed to the socio-technical system, it is difficult to stall or redirect it (Hughes 1983, 1987, pp. 76-80). It becomes increasingly institutionalised and displays a strong system’s culture that guides it towards certain goals. Although this makes the system generally less flexible and adaptable, contingent events and external forces still have the potential to change its course of development (Hughes 1983, pp. 15f., 80). Furthermore, the momentum and directionality are not autonomous but stem from the entanglement of various social and technical elements. Therefore, the “momentum” metaphor allows for contingencies and does not have a purely structural nature. The work of Thomas Hughes and the research revolving around it focused on the historical emergence and dynamics of large technical systems and on the resulting forms of social order, and assumed that once “momentum” is achieved, a system has become embedded in its context and will uniformly dominate a geographical space (Callon 1991; Hinchcliffe 1996). People would adapt their lifestyles to the artefacts of the system (Geels 2007), so that it becomes stabilised and resistant to change (Hughes 1987). However, contemporary large technical

24

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

systems have run through a fifth evolution phase, which began worldwide in the 1970s and 1980s and was marked by the processes of liberalisation and privatisation of utility services, in connection with technical innovations and ecological modernisation (Moss 2014; Monstadt and Naumann 2005). In effect, the systems have been exposed to considerable transformation pressures to one or more of their components, such as the political control or the technological, institutional and spatial structures. The result of this development has been the emergence of new and variegated geographic realities of infrastructure characterised by heterogeneous configurations instead of a universal, uniform system (Lawhon et al. 2018; Furlong 2014). Research in geographical studies of technology found that in the context of new logics and policies of infrastructure planning and provision and of service consumption (Guy et al. 2001), uneven geographical development marked by fragmentation, inequality and crisis in socio-technical systems has resulted. Notably, scholars pointed at the ‘splintering’ and ‘unbundling’ of infrastructure in the wake of policies of economic liberalisation and privatisation (Graham and Marvin 2001), the emergence of infrastructure ‘cold spots’ (Moss 2003), the production of infrastructure disruption (Silver 2015), and the caused environmental degradation (Nielsen 2001). Underlining the important role of technological systems in shaping and mediating the urban, Swyngedouw (2009) argued that the segregation and fragmentation of networked infrastructure in different locales reflects the existing configurations of power and reinforces the uneven distribution of power and opportunity in society 19. However, the analyses from such a perspective were criticised of privileging a single universal infrastructure network, neglecting the contingency of urbanisation and technology development (Coutard and Guy 2007). Furthermore, the focus on the ideal of universal, uniform infrastructure has underemphasized the potential of hybrid and disaggregated systems to shift towards environmentally sustainable urban futures through various incremental changes aimed at adaptation (Coutard and Rutherford 2016a; Coutard and Rutherford 2011; Graham and Thrift 2007). Hence, greater attention has been recently given in socio-technical studies to the materiality and extensive and manifold geographies of (urban) infrastructure and the dynamism of its everyday use (Lawhon et al. 2018; Monstadt and Schramm 2017; Coutard and Rutherford 2016b; Silver 2014). The above insights concerning the production of space in the course of development of technological systems present a valuable extension to the traditional LTS perspective stemming from the work of Thomas P. Hughes. 19

See Swyngedouw (2009, pp. 80-81).

Theoretical foundations of the analysis

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Hughes focussed on exploring the evolution, function and stability of systems while paying little attention to their environment, which was declared independent from LTS (Hughes 1987, p. 52). However, the role of place and space, both in terms of processes and effects, is important for the socio-technical analysis of extensive urban infrastructure systems, like tramways and light rail, as they are part and parcel of the production of urban space and the facilitation of urban life. Therefore, Hughes’ evolutionary model needs to be complemented by a spatially more sensitive perspective on socio-technical development, which engages with the interdependencies between cities and their infrastructure systems. For this purpose, the concepts of path dependence (Chapter 2.1.3) and the circulation and appropriation of technology (Chapter 2.1.5) will be applied. 2.1.3

Path dependence

Path dependence might be considered a feature of the LTS perspective, although it is not an explicit part of Hughes’ or Kaijser’s model. By importing the concept of path dependence into the LTS model, an analytical tool becomes available which allows for sharpening and complementing the notion of momentum. Whereas the latter points at the mass and growth rate of the system, path dependence helps to further explain how and why the system has been moving in a certain direction20 (Ewertsson 2001, p. 61). The basic idea of the explanatory concept21 is that preceding events and actions shape the current and future options for development. According to David (1985), path dependence exists when the outcome of a process depends on its past, on the entire chain of previous decisions and their results, and not just on conditions in the present time. Therefore, ongoing dynamics of a socio-technical system cannot be explored only in relation to contemporary circumstances, as earlier choices and occurrences influence its direction and overall evolution patterns. In particular, the inherited formal and informal institutions, the accumulated set of practices and knowledge, as well as the effects of previous solutions to various economic, technical and socio-political problems have a bearing on the field of options for the development of the system. Thereby some alternatives may be put aside and ignored, although the incumbent design of the system might not be the optimal one. Socio-technical systems become thus particularly prone to path dependence and inertia. 20

Indeed, also the term “momentum” accounts for the future direction of system development but “path dependence” as a concept offers a more elaborated analytical tool. 21 Having its roots in the comparative economic analysis of Thorstein Veblen at the beginning of the twentieth century, the concept was mainly elaborated by economists in the 1980s in order to explain technology adoption processes and industrial evolution (Arrow 2000). Later it was picked up in a number of disciplines, including especially the social studies of technology.

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

Gregory Unruh suggests that the inertia of large scale systems stems to a large extend from the co-evolution of technical and institutional elements which has occurred in search of higher returns on investment (Unruh 2000). Systems struggle with the installed technological base and are heir to its strengths and limitations (Star 1999, p. 381). The physical layout, especially of modern capital intensive systems, endures over decades and guides the system’s development along a trajectory projecting into the future the socially constructed characteristics acquired in the past when it was designed (Hughes 1987, pp. 70f). It is, however, not only the durability and physical fixity of the technological core that make large technical systems path dependent. The vested interests of various system builders and their interactions play an important role, too (Monstadt 2009, p. 1928). Institutional commitments, shared beliefs and discourses, as well as power relations sustain and support existing systems (Unruh 2000). The system components are embedded thus in a set of sociotechnical relations that fix them, and the growing momentum of infrasystems contributes to holding them in place (Hommels 2005). Because of the emerged interrelations between the system elements, modifications to some of them will have impacts on several others or even on the whole ensemble (Hommels 2005, p. 339). In this sense, David (1985) argued that actors cannot just switch between alternatives in order to achieve performance improvements. Due to the sunk costs in long-lived capital equipment, technical compatibility and standardisation, and the systemic character of large technology, it is difficult to reverse previous (technical) choices. Rigid institutional constellations and economies of scale additionally inhibit the reversibility (Pierson 2000). As a result, path dependence limits the opportunities for change and brings actors and processes into a kind of locked-in set-up featuring high cost of changing the direction of development. Even though momentum and path dependence make processes of comprehensive transformations difficult and provide persistence and stability to large sociotechnical systems, the latter generally undergo incremental changes. In the models of Hughes (1983, 1987) and Kaijser (2004), incremental changes correspond to the conservative solutions of critical problems posed by “reverse salients” in a maturing system with a strong culture. At the same time, the appearance of a new system as a response to an unsolvable problem (Hughes 1987), and contingent or long-term purposeful shifts in the environmental conditions may entail a radical change of the system. Summerton (1994) further elaborated on the question how systems which have become characterised by momentum and inertia can change, whereby she conceived of change as ‘reconfiguration’. She argued that the reconfiguration can be the result of the expansion of the system, the blurring of functional boundaries or radical

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institutional change. In any case, changes need time, because they require negotiations between different system builders and adjustment to other social and technical subsystems and system components (Star 1999, p. 382; Shove 2003). 2.1.4

Technological style as a concept

The concept of “technological style” originates from Hughes’ comparative analysis of the electricity systems of Chicago, London and Berlin, which evolved under the influence of individual contexts. As a response to the different circumstances of a place and time, the same “type” of technological system undergoes certain adaptations to the new environment which culminate in a particular style. According to Hughes, “(t)echnological style can be defined as the technical characteristics that give a machine, process, device, or system a distinctive quality“ (Hughes 1983, p. 405). Hughes’ concept focuses, thus, on the structure and function of technical artefacts but in addition, it grasps technology as a socio-cultural phenomenon and points to the particularities and differences within technology which are to be explained. The technical characteristics are shaped namely by local conditions external to the technology – ”the nontechnological factors of the cultural context”. In particular, the salient technical aspects that characterize a distinctive construction and operation, or style, in a region are partially explainable by geographical factors, both human and natural, economic principles and entrepreneurial decisions, administrative structures and the legislative framework, as well as some historical events and contingencies (Hughes 1983, p.462). Hughes accentuates that the factors do not operate in a deterministic way but are mediated by the agency of individuals and groups. They feature complex and systemic relationships with technology and among each other which do not remain constant over time. Because of the interaction among system components, their characteristics derive from the whole. The corresponding structures and strategies make up the technological system and determine its style (Hughes 1987, pp. 51-55). When choosing and appropriately modifying the equipment, the system builders follow economic principles and goals, and take into consideration the geography in the broad sense – topography, industry and demography. The managerial structure and strategy are relevant too, because the organizational form of a utility and the deployed technology are interwoven. The political constellation and the guiding fundamental values, especially as expressed in regulatory legislation, are considered one of the principal factors explaining contrasting styles. The regulatory legislation, if applied at a national level, makes national technological styles discernible, which emerge from the otherwise specific regional styles. Finally, contingent circumstances beyond the control of a

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technical system, like economic depressions or even wars, and other significant regional or national historical experiences can have an impact on the system’s development and also shape its style (Hughes 1987, pp. 68-70). Despite the definition of a broad set of factors exercising influence on the evolution of a technological ensemble, in “Network of powers”, Hughes (1983) largely limits his attention on the interplay between politics and technology. Hughes conceptualises style as a combination of technical components with various features, which are chosen from an international stock of technology. The international circulation of patents, technical and scientific literature, the trade of goods and services, the mobility of experts, technology transfer agreements, and other forms of exchange of knowledge and artefacts create international pools of technology, from which the local system builders can draw (Hughes 1987, pp. 68-70). Hence, technology and information are transferred not so much directly from place to place, but become part of a pool of ideas, models and objects circulating among policy and practice communities, whereby they are “shaped to suit the place” (Hughes 1983, p. 405). Despite the local variations, however, Hughes suggested that the institutionalised technology transfer will make the systems in different regions and countries eventually more uniform and, thus, the styles convergent. The concept of style facilitated the comparative approach of Hughes, and in subsequent research, most of all in the history of technology 22, it has also served as a tool for national and regional comparisons. The German engineer and historian of technology Hans-Liudger Dienel picked up this thread and broadened the concept, comparing the style of German and American refrigeration technology (Dienel 1995). For Dienel, the style is an “ideal type”, which does not exist in pure form, but functions as a means for comparisons. The style describes particularities of technical products or space, which reflect also more abstract phenomena as technical processes and ways of engineering work, as well as leading principles and types. Dienel apprehends style as independent of short-term economic fluctuations and does not posit style consciousness. For the characterisation of styles he distinguishes three areas. Firstly, it is the technology itself – the functions and aesthetics of artefacts as well as the size of technological systems, which are perceived just as symptoms of style. Secondly, the activity of technology designers, including their flexibility and creativity as 22

For some references to prominent applications of the concept in the history of technology, see Hård and Knie (1999). The concept of "technological style" was also discussed by archaeologists and historians of arts and architecture, who use it with the purpose of comparison, too (Dienel 1995). Nevertheless, the dominant individualistic conceptualisations of style in arts and literature are less useful for the study of large technical systems (König 2010).

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well as the associated economic efficiency, is to be considered. Thirdly, the attitude of the users and the multitude of factors shaping it have to be taken into account. Dienel points to the importance of the mentality, the behavioural dispositions and the interpretation horizon in a society, and emphasises the relation of the later to culture and the individual. However, he does not underestimate the relevance of long-term factors like geography and historical traditions. The role of the state and the legislative framework are also recognised as having considerable influence on style. Hence, his concept allows to work out the local character of technology based on the analysis of artefacts and processes, and stimulates the comparison with alternatives – realised or failed, so that a style can be discerned. Finally, with respect to the question of whether it is justified to speak about a regional or a national technological style, Dienel claims that many shaping forces as mentality, legislation and education have featured a decidedly national dimension, especially since the 19th century. In sum, the above conceptualisations of “technological style” stress the functional relationship between technology and other social areas, which have a significant impact on its development. Thereby it can be concluded that style is both about mental attitudes and about processes with actual material objects and their physical manifestation in space. 2.1.5

Circulation and appropriation of technology and ideas

The understanding of the relationship between technological structures and society, depicted by the “style” concept, can be enhanced by the consideration of processes of circulation and appropriation (Hård and Misa 2008). These allow for the understanding of the tension between technological convergence and differentiation, by depicting multidimensional processes which unfold beyond the directed linear development in Hughes’ model where system building leads to consolidated mature systems of high momentum. For the understanding of the phenomena of uniformity and distinction, Hård and Misa (2008) propose a perspective that highlights conflict and negotiation, power and control, inclusion and exclusion. They argue that technological systems are objects in political struggles, economic deliberations, and social differentiation. Technology design entails spatial patterns with social prioritisation as technological systems can contribute to the integration, but frequently also to the separation of social groups. In this way, technological structures and urban patterns are coconstructed. The processes of circulation and appropriation account for the interactive character of this development, stressing the importance of general trends, local modification and contestation as well as discourses in and beyond a particular place.

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With the notion of circulation, the attention is directed to the general availability of concepts, artefacts, and systems. Hughes (1983) speaks of a common “international pool of technology” and information spread to be “shaped to suit the place” (Hughes 1983, p. 405). The concept of appropriation accounts for the locally specific ways in which supposedly universal concepts and practices are taken up and modified (Misa 2008). Technologies and concepts are appropriated not just globally, but rather they are integrated into national traditions and locally distinctive institutional structures. Technological systems, while similar in various respects, nonetheless exhibit considerable geographical differences, due to particular local circumstances of natural, political, economic or social character, but also due to different ‘ways of life’ and cultural patterns (Hård and Misa 2008). The interplay of international circulation and local appropriation mirrors the tensions between homogenising and heterogenising forces and the role of specific contexts. In effect, both global concepts and ideas and local practices coexist, as it is difficult to import whole-scale solutions into particular place constellations (Tait and Jensen 2007). Because a technological artefact or system usually needs to be adapted to the characteristics of a different time or place, it should be able to respond to the pre-existing trends and the particular conditions of a new environment and to align to its dynamics. The incompatibility of a technological solution with the circumstances might lead to its failure and its rejection. Hence, significant modifications in technologies and their use are the common outcome of local domestication processes, so that considerable geographical differences co-exist with global concepts and standardised artefacts. 2.1.5.1

Circulation of technology and ideas

Circulation is a concept accounting for similarities and is understood as a dynamic constellation of institutions and forces of homogenisation (Hård and Misa 2008). It comprises international, multi-centred flows of people, ideas, and artefacts, and takes place by various “transfer agents” (Stone 2004) at different spatial levels. Circulation has been made possible through a variety of forums and organisations for the exchange of knowledge and experience 23, through formal and informal study tours, different publication forms, and more recently the internet and the digital technology. Private companies and consulting firms play an important role for the process of circulation (Hård and Misa 2008; 23

For example in the transport domain, Mardsen et al. (2011) point at the fact that national and regional networks of transport planners are a commonly cited source of information about activities going on in similar contexts.

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Marsden et.al. 2011; McCann 2011; Wood 2014). They often secure the considerable investments, experience and trained technical staff which are necessary for the development of large technical systems, and within the scope of their operations they transfer technical know-how among cities and countries. Expert committees, the members of which assess technological systems and make suggestions for new ones, are other important connecting links in circulating knowledge on the individual and institutional levels (Dinckal 2008). Different agents, including policy actors, consultants and non-governmental organisations, often make personal visits, attend expositions and congresses, and make use of and contribute to the published information. Scholarly studies underline the role of such actors who gather information from individual local cases, derive lessons from them and suggest best practices, and finally disseminate this knowledge to a wide international audience (Wood 2014; McCann 2011; Geels and Deuten 2006; Stone 2004). An increasing number of publications in geography, planning and urban studies has explored the circulation and “mobilities” of policy and planning ideas concerning especially the urban realm24. The scholarly literature shows the ‘global circuits of policy knowledge’ (McCann 2008; McCann 2011), through which many ideas pass, and suggests that practices of circulation have become a regular and routine aspect of contemporary policy creation (Wood 2015). Building on a relational understanding of space as spanned up by flows (Castells 1996), the studies on policy “mobilities” focus on the way policy ideas and models are formed, become mobile and mutate across different contexts, and demonstrate the mechanisms of their legitimisation, which has been often based on territorially embedded success narratives25. These narratives are part of a circulation process in which localities adopt policy ideas and innovations, which are considered successful elsewhere, under the assumption that they will be similarly effective locally. The development of a particular context-bounded socio-technical configuration has the potential to satisfy not only the local needs, but it may also promise exportable lessons, products and services (Smith et al. 2010; Mejia-Dugand et al. 2012). Therefore, experiences from similar or alternative developments, whether they have been considered successful or rather unfavourable, are often followed closely by planners and system builders in implementing sites. Through the learning process, such agents have the possibility to engage with an existing 24

See, for example, McCann (2011), McCann and Ward (2011), McFarlane (2011), Peck (2011), and Healy and Upton (2010). 25 See, for example, Wood (2015), McCann and Ward (2011), Baker and Temenos (2015), Grubbauer (2015), Peck and Theodore (2010a) and Peck (2011).

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network of venues using certain technology and thereby feel backed by the accumulated technical, political, or social know-how (Mejia-Dugand et al. 2012). The fact that various places are confronted with comparable problems creates an extensive experience basis and promotes the circulation of artefacts and concepts, which, in turn, attracts other places to get involved in the emerging exchange networks. Such exchanges allow for generating local problem solving capacities, which could also contribute to the “global pool” (Hughes 1983) of technology and experience (Lagendijk and Boertjes 2013). In this process, localised experiments and innovations are extracted from their application context to act as universal “symbols of innovative and reforming energy” in “a sea, or ether, of circulating ideas” among policy and practice communities (Healey 2012, p. 193). Facing problems of various kinds, professionals are often looking for promising models and usable advice, for networks of sympathetic colleagues, and evidence of successful examples to influence the local development (Hård and Misa 2008). The visions of a desirable future for one place are often inspired by the experience elsewhere, which has become part of a global flow of success stories packed strategically in codified form and “mobilised” as embodied practitioner knowledge (Sengers and Raven 2015). Good examples and reference cases26 provide legitimacy and guide action by visualising and concretising the merit of certain technologies and concepts for the local planners and decision makers, who assume a strong gatekeeper role in the adaptation or rejection of externally informed approaches. The uncertainty about new applications can be overcome when their potential benefits are observable and tangible, which in turn facilitates their further spread and circulation (Rogers et al. 2005). For Peck and Theodore (2010a, 2010b), this process takes place in a hectic and hurried manner as ideas and innovations are circulated and adopted due to their prevailing success elsewhere, which makes them easy to implement within local policymaking. In contrast to such claims of spontaneous and rapid circulation processes, Wood (2015) demonstrates the gradual and protracted proceeding of policy and planning ideas which might necessitate several encounters with circulated notions prior to their adoption in a locality. Also Peck (2011, p. 10) explains that policies spread ‘not by succeeding but by failure, as the underperformance of first-round reform efforts became the rationale for more stringent measures’. Therefore, Wood (2015) grasps the process of circulation as consisting of peaks – periods of circulation facilitated

26

Gallez et al. (2013) quote the example of transport organisation in the major Swiss urban areas, which has been widely covered in professional journals as “best practice”. This has encouraged many urban regions in the adjacent European countries to look for inspiration from the Swiss model, relying on the experience and expertise of Swiss engineering and planning enterprises for the local implementation.

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by either need or opportunity, and valleys––periods during which circulation is minimal. In the case of global flows of policy and planning ideas, considerable social and physical ‘distances’ need to be overcome despite the existence of transnational ‘policy communities’ (Stone 2004). As a consequence of this, Rogers (2003) and Rose (2005) note that it is the close geographic neighbours that venues often look at as a source for learning. The geographic proximity has been found out to facilitate the transfer of policy, but cultural similarities may be even more important than the mere physical distance (Kern et.al. 2007). With reference to the latter aspect, Ward (2007) points to the traditional ties between the UK and the US in the planning sphere despite the availability of alternative concepts in Continental Europe. Nonetheless, many ideas, models and concepts are shaped by experts on a global level, and thus travel around the whole world (Tait and Jensen 2007). A global circulation of ideas and concepts between and within particular countries results, which takes place in a common “discursive framework” (Hård and Jamison 1998) of interpretations and representations. The notion of “discourse” refers to a set of rules for structuring different relationships of meaning (Mills 1997). Discourses thus constitute the knowledge about the surrounding world and the actions carried out in it. The circulating ideas and concepts are understood and defined through discourses, which carry certain rationalities and normative assumptions (Tait and Jensen 2007; Hallström and Gyberg 2011). Therefore, discourses set the framework for the identification and perception of problems and the way these are to be approached (Hallström and Gyberg 2011). Relevant solutions are produced and propagated then within the prevailing frames of meaning using a shared language, way of talking and discussing. Thereby, not only the content of the discourses matters, but also the agents and institutions involved in the transnational discourse communities are equally important (Tait and Jensen 2007; Hård and Stippak 2008; Healey 2013). They strategically craft and spread particular narratives and discursively link up places in relation to the local efforts of problem solving (Sengers and Raven 2015). Depending on their relative power, authority and position, the agents are able to assign significance and meaning to certain concepts and ideas propelling so their circulation. Historical examples illustrate the long tradition of policy circulation dating back much earlier than the modern era (Healey 2013; Huxley 2013). Diffusion was mentioned by Herodotus as a phenomenon in the fifth century BC (Wood 2015), in the second century AD, Palmyra adapted Roman concepts of urbanity, and in the 1700s, Peter the Great applied Western European architectural models in

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Saint Petersburg (Healey 2013). In the early part of the twentieth century, municipal interactions significantly influenced local decisions concerning health, hygiene and infrastructure systems (Saunier 2002; Hård and Misa 2008). Cities introduced particular technologies to secure a “modern” reputation 27. Projects for establishing large technological systems became a symbol for the progressiveness of a city and for the power and potential of a country (Dinckal 2008). Urban images promoted through international networks of architects and modernist experts flowed around the world, influencing the political conceptions for modernising a country or city (Healey 2013). The circulating modernist visions after the Second World War and the resulting wishes on the part of the population at large generated quite homogeneous urban fabric patterns across countries and contributed significantly to the uniformity of many European cities (Misa 2008). Hence, the international circulation of technological and institutional knowledge, physical artefacts, services and people resulted in similar solutions in many diverse infrastructure and technology fields throughout urban Europe28. An important role for the technological homogenisation in the field of energy, water supply and transport systems has been played by technical standards and norms which coordinate and regulate the development and use of the systems (Hård and Misa 2008; Werle and Iversen 2006). Technical standards present codified specifications about an artefact or system and its compliance with certain criteria on the composition, use or production process, and aim at the creation of uniformity across time and space. They tend to span more than one community of practice or activity site and that way make things work together over distance and heterogeneous metrics (Timmermans and Epstein 2010). For example, standards feature significantly in the transnational agreements of the World Trade Organization (Han and Son 2016) or in the European Commission Lead Market Initiative (Elder et. al.2012). Generally, they can provide security for technology developers and system builders by creating larger-scale markets and building confidence among users, especially in the early stages of technology and system development (Tushman and Rosenkopf 1992). In the scholarly literature, a distinction is made between de jure and de facto standards. The first are the outcome of a deliberate decision-making process by

27

28

Hård and Misa (2008) cite the example of the Paris underground Métropolitain railway as a showcase project for the 1900 world’s fair. Perceived as archetypically modern, this example was followed by other European capitals, most famously Moscow. British cities offered technological models for water supply systems on the Continent. Spanish cities often applied French technologies. German models were preferred in the areas of electrification and transportation. (Hård and Misa 2008)

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dedicated organisations and committees29, while the latter result from the acceptance of a particular solution by nearly all potential adopters which turns that solution into a dominant model that it is difficult to deviate from30 (Brunsson and Jacobsson 2000; Brem et al. 2016). High adoption rates substantiate the coordination power and legitimacy of standards, which in turn increases the likelihood of their further adoption (Timmermans and Epstein 2010). Certainly, it is not always possible to clearly distinguish between de jure and de facto standards, as a once formally set standard can quickly be taken for granted and can thus be perceived as a model chosen by its adopters rather than prescribed by an organisational entity. In any case, both types of standards can affect technological developments by reducing variety or diversity and hence leading to uniformity (Brunsson and Jacobsson 2000), as technologies are transformed into the content of standards that “carry a cognitive or normative expectation to comply” (Werle and Iversen 2006, p. 21). Thereby, technical standards are never purely technical but are shaped by commercial interests, political preferences and moral evaluations, which can cause resistance and make it difficult for standards to work (Werle and Iversen 2006). Many attempts to bring about uniformity via formalised standards have failed (Botzem and Dobusch 2012), and instead, multiple outcomes with specific and unintended consequences in various domains arose (Timmermans and Epstein 2010). Like other global ideas, standards may change when they travel, as they are reframed during their implementation in diverse time-space settings (Schneiberg and Bartley 2008; Czarniawska and Joerges 1996). Therefore, Hård and Misa (2008) emphasise that the international circulation of standards, policy ideas and artefacts was certainly an engine of homogenisation, but the outcomes were rather contingent and uncertain, mostly due to strong local traditions and customs as well as resilient local institutions. 2.1.5.2

Appropriation of technology and ideas

The enactment and transformation into practice of a standard, model or idea generally involves its reshaping and editing, so that it fits the reality of the new context (Czarniawska and Sevón 1996; Sahlin and Wedlin 2008, p. 226). Stead et al. (2010) provide a study of the different ways in which two Eastern European countries dealt with a foreign concept about the organisation of urban transport promoted to them by a German aid agency. In one case, the local 29

30

These can be professional unions, manufacturer associations or state agencies. There is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) which is a standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organisations. This entity defines the so-called ISO standards. For more information, see www.iso.org. A frequently cited example for a de facto standard is the QWERTY layout for typewriters. See David (1985).

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decision makers used the aid to experiment with the travelling transport policy ideas and learn more about what might really produce results that benefit cities in their domestic context. In the other case, the promoted concept was adopted wholescale and the actors involved learned only later through experience that it did not work in their situation. Therefore, Healey (2013) argues that models and ideas that originate from a specific context cannot be simply applied in another one, but they have to be translated into its circumstances. The inspiring foreign models need to be culturally conditioned and technically modified in order to fit into the local settings (Hård and Misa 2008). Thereby, external elements and locally given ones are combined and recombined, which means that translation is an active learning process that involves both imitation and innovation but no passive adoption (Czarniawska and Joerges 1996; Sahlin-Andersson 1996). In a new site, wehere a travelling idea ‘lands’, the techniques to make it work and produce the desired outcomes need to be reinvented (Behrends et al. 2014), which can entail different forms of the translation of external ideas (Czarniawska and Joerges 1996; Latour 1986, p. 267). The adaptation, or alteration, of existing legislation and technologies to conform to a travelling idea is one way of translating it into a particular setting, while it is also possible to locally appropriate this idea, which refers to its adjustment to the available technologies, structures and practices (Monstadt and Schramm 2017; Behrends et al. 2014, p. 9). The combination of elements of the circulating ideas or technologies with locally existing ones can bring about a new, hybrid version of the former and presents another form of translation. The encounter with a travelling idea does not need to lead to its adoption, however, but can also cause its rejection and the persistence of that which already exists. Therefore, the refusal of a circulating idea can be the outcome of a translation process, too (Monstadt and Schramm 2017). The analytic differentiation of the distinct forms of translation allows for an explicit account of the role of conflict and poltics in shaping the translation experience, through which exogenous ideas and practices become ‘localized’, that is, drawn down, adapted and inserted into struggles over discourse formation and institutionalisation in new contexts (Healey 2013, p. 1520). In effect, the translation process brings about a local version of the circulating idea or model but preserves its meaning and herewith the mobility of the idea or model (Rottenburg 2009, p. 26). That way, the circulation process may bring with it an increasing homogeneity of technology, but despite the similarities it can produce quite distinct forms. In order to capture the multi-layered translation process at work in a locality and the diverse outcomes across different settings, Hård and Misa (2008) propose the concept of cultural appropriation of technology. This is an analytical tool for understanding the differences in particular settings acknowledging the interde-

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pendencies of technological systems with the multiple levels of urban life – everyday-practical, institutional and discursive (Hård and Misa 2008). From this perspective, appropriation refers to the necessary adjustments of technologies to specific environments in the course of their gradual acceptance by the established society (Hård and Jamison 2005). It provides a conceptual framework for understanding the involved relevant social processes and allows for a discussion of the complex interactions between them in an integrated manner. Appropriation consists of differentiated but interconnected series of processes that affect and influence each other in complex ways. When circulating ideas and models appear in a new locale with a different ontological and epistemic background than the context from which they originated, with different social practices and technical infrastructures, they have to adjust to these new circumstances in order to connect to them (Behrends et al. 2014, p. 3). To be functional, globally available technologies need to become part of the daily routines of a particular place, they have to be incorporated into the existing institutional structures, and align with the prevailing cognitive and linguistic patterns (Hård and Jamison 2005). Therefore, local actors adapt them, modify and edit them, and add to them, thereby often creating and enacting new, hybrid technologies and ideas. This is how actors appropriate technology as well as related concepts and ideas, and by doing so they are actively engaged and not simply the receivers in a directed transfer process. The concept of appropriation thus provides an analytical framework to explore the complex processes at work in the emergence of hybrid sociotechnical constellations of urban infrastructure. The analytical concept sheds light on the discourses and organisational cultures, in addition to the facts and artefacts, as well as the institutions and innovations constituting the development of technological systems. New technologies usually affect not only the activities in a given context but also the way of thinking and talking (Jamison and Hård 2003). Hence, they affect the discursive level of urban life. The discursive level accounts for what is known, thought and said about technology, and involves language, arguments, images, and symbols (Hård and Jamison 2005). It refers to the construction and mobilisation of ‘meaning’ and the associated production of discourses that than become institutionalised into practices. Discourses have the potential to shape and justify decisions made by individuals and organisations and can persist for long periods of time (Hallström and Gyberg 2011). The articulation of appropriated values and ideas in discourses can guide the problem perception and definition, and it may also set boundaries for the search of solutions during the technological development (Geels and Raven 2006). The consolidation of arguments and notions of problems, solutions and appropriate actions into particular points of view, positions or ideologies provides structuring properties to discourses with

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

consequences in terms of policy agendas, resource allocation and governance practices (Healey 2013). Discourses can contribute to familiarity and even identification with certain technological artefacts and systems and so may engage various social groups. By making up the public opinion, they provide legitimacy in the public sphere (Apparicio 2004), have the ability to attract attention and can mobilise and coordinate actors across scales. Once recognised within the networks involved in their formation, discourses may become an active force or a rationale in the practices of the communities engaged with certain ideas (Healey 2013). The discursive level is therefore just as important in the concept of appropriation as the levels of institutions and daily practices (Hård and Jamison 2005). The institutional aspect of appropriation concerns the emergence of normative principles to deal with technology in a particular context. Although there are different conceptions of institutions, all of them stress the relevance of a rule framework which structures social interactions31 (Low and Astle 2009; Healey 2007). This framework involves formal rules, such as jurisdiction at different scales and official standards, as well as informal ones, such as unwritten customs, shared beliefs and norms of individual conduct. Institutions both constrain and enable the behavior of actors and therefore assume an important role in the process of technology appropriation. In particular, societies develop new forms of interaction, regulation and governance, when large technological systems are to be adjusted to the local conditions (Jamison and Hård 2003). The systems impose certain requirements on the degree of coordination and control, but these requirements can be met within a more or less broad spectrum of rule frameworks (Kaijser 2004). The choice of the appropriate forms depends on the particular cultural traditions and should support the political and social acceptability of the technological system. This acceptability is essentially enabled by the existing formal and informal institutions. Therefore, during the appropriation of technology, new policies are launched, new standards in society are established and new definitions of normality emerge (Jamison and Hård 2003). These institutions govern the development of technological systems and may either promote or limit it. Introducing technology into everyday life will affect the evolution of both technology and society, since they are simultaneously constructed (Hård and Misa 2008; Hughes 1987). Therefore, significant modifications not only in the globally available technologies, but also in the local practices are the common 31

In an influential publication, Douglas North identifies rules as the essence of institutions. See for more North (1990, pp. 3-6).

Analytical framework

39

outcome of appropriation processes (Hård and Jamison 2005). The decisive actors and at the same time the central playing fields of these processes are cities, which figure as important socio-spatial nodes in the global circuits of technology and ideas (Schott 2008; McCann 2011). In their context, technology does not simply assume a passive role; it impacts on and shapes choices and possibilities for action, so that it also provides the basis for altered practices. The increased use and diffusion of technology favour the familiarisation with it and its acceptance despite potentially existent initial opposition (Jamison and Hård 2003; Wood 2015). The accompanying social learning enables the stabilisation of the technological system in the new environment, and the physical components materialise this learning process, influencing in return the evolution of society (Aparicio 2004). Citizens experience technology through its visible expressions in the urban fabric and through the changes, both welcome and unwelcome, which it brings to daily life (Misa 2008). At the same time, the introduction and appropriation of a given technology can be more than a mere response to current deficiencies and problems, it can be also a symbolic act (Hård and Jamison 2005; Hård and Stippak 2008). Urban technology has been an important symbol of modernity (Misa 2008) carrying the associated visions, desires and values. Put into a new setting, it can therefore assume new meanings32. Such meanings in turn can enable actors to create consciously distinct solutions based on comparisons and contrasts to other sites of appropriation. In sum, the concept of appropriation allows for making evident the multifacetted character of technological development. The latter is not only about the production, installation and use of physical artefacts but it is constituted by their complex interaction with social and cultural processes. 2.2

Analytical framework

The theoretical considerations presented above imply that technological development, in general, and the tramway renaissance, in particular, is necessarily about interactions between technology, politics, economics, as well as culture and discourses. An analysis of the tramway renaissance by focussing on isolated technological artefacts would be therefore undertheorised. The choice and application of a particular technology in the area of transport, which is the subject of this thesis, cannot be explained by considering only inherently 32

Hård and Jamison (2005) give the example of water closets, which were considered to be British when they were installed on the European mainland. This was a meaning that they had not had in the UK.

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

technical factors, but has to be explored in connection to the wider political and social context, and as a part of a complex decision-making process. Factors as diverse and heterogeneous as cultural traditions, spatial patterns, political constellations and sector policies, organisational forms, overall social and technological trends, all play a role for the local adoption, the development and the international spread of tramway technology. The multiple interactions between this technology and the context in which it is embedded call for a systemic approach of analysis. With all its different facets and multi-scalar social consequences, public transport is thus to be seen as a socio-technical system composed of closely interrelated material and immaterial components. Therefore, the changes to the public transport system, as they have occurred in the tramway renaissance, do not simply present the introduction or re-introduction of a certain technology and infrastructure, but embrace also the rearrangement of the various organisational, legislative, financial, political, material and cultural components which constitute such a sociotechnical system. Tramway systems, as a form of public transport (sub-) systems33, should be analysed through the dynamic sociotechnical relations that make them up in order to understand the general patterns and contextual particularities of their development. The consideration of actors, institutions and technology as equally important allows for a comprehensive exploration of the distinct constellations present in the frame of the tramway renaissance and so can contribute to a broader understanding of the latter. 2.2.1

Operationalisation of the theoretical concepts

In regard to the accentuation of the entanglement of technical components and social aspects, Thomas Hughes’ LTS34 model offers a plausible framework for the analysis of the tramway renaissance. His pragmatic conceptualisation of “systems” with fluid boundaries will be adopted here, too. Furthermore, the notions of ”system builders”, “technical core”, ”reverse salients”, “battle of the systems”, ”momentum” and ”technological style” form the theoretical basis of this study and will serve as the main analytical tools. These formative elements will be complemented by the concepts of circulation and appropriation presented above, as well as by the path dependency approach in order to explore not only the uptake and performance of technology, but also the associated production of space. The combination of the concepts will conduce to the derivation of an 33

Depending on the particular situation, a tramway may be the „backbone“ of the public transport system, or it may have just a minor supplementary function in a system. 34 Over the last three decades, Hughes’ model has been applied, in adapted and extended versions, to systems of various scope and context. Examples of such historical and sociological studies dealt with classical networked infrastructures in transportation, energy and telecommunications as well as air traffic control and computer systems (e.g Coutard 1999; Coutard et al. 2005 ; Bijker et al., 1987; Summerton 1994)

Analytical framework

41

analytical framework recognising the complex and contested nature of the processes of public transport systems’ rearrangement, and the importance of past events and path dependency to understanding the development and style of particular systems as well as potential options for change. The historically oriented LTS model describes and explains how change has taken place and deals with the driving forces behind technical and industrial development as well as the social and cultural effects of technology. The temporal aspect and the analysis of the pattern of development of the sociotechnical processes are central to the approach. However, criticism has been raised with respect to Hughes’ evolution model, as it focuses mainly on the initial stages of early innovation and system growth. In addition, the assumed ordered process of system building with clear phases of development was criticised for being too linear (Summerton 1994; Joerges 1999; Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004). In this respect, the perspective of Hughes can be extended by means of the concepts of circulation and appropriation, however, which highlight the conflicts and challenges accompanying such processes. In general, despite the points of criticism, the LTS stage model is valuable for ordering and interpreting the events occurring in the course of the development of a technological system. Originally applied to historical research, it features a temporal distance to the study objects, which enables the description and analysis of change by identifying and depicting the inertial and continuity factors at work. Since this thesis treats contemporary processes and lacks historical distance, it will neither be possible to clearly separate distinct phases nor to adopt Hughes’ model of categorisation of different system-builders dominating the various phases. Nonetheless, Hughes’ terminology will serve as a reference as will do the similar model of evolving and growing LTS by Kaijser (2004), who distinguishes between the phases of establishment, expansion, and stagnation. The consideration of time in this study allows for the identification of the dynamic nature of tramway systems and the conditions that encourage or impede their development. The temporal perspective of analysis will be complemented by addressing the multi-dimensional nature of local appropriation of tramway technology. In the functional area of transportation, appropriation is a process of selection among both, ideas and artefacts, and by means of innovations it aims at the improvement of infrasystems. For their study of the cultural appropriation of technology, Jamison and Hård (2003) suggest three analytical levels – everydaypractical, institutional and discursive (Jamison and Hård 2003; Hård and Jamison

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

2005)35. These correspond to the three path-dependency dimensions identified by Low et al. (2005) for the transport field– technical, institutional, and discursive (in terms of problem definition and the finding of appropriate solutions). In technical and material terms, transport systems are stabilised through the significant investments in infrastructures, machines and competencies. In addition, shared beliefs and continuous discourses backed by institutional commitments can create path dependence, as institutions bear certain meanings and values, the development of which depends strongly on past events and decisions. Low et al. (2005) suggest that each path needs to be explored individually, yet it seems more likely that the discursive and institutional elements are strongly interlinked and reinforce one another over time. The institutional practices reflect namely the guiding norms and ideas of dominating discourses, but the discourses are structured by and embedded in the existing institutional patterns. The actual role of discourses for the change of transport systems is limited by the existing institutional settings which frame the decisionmaking processes. The three dimensions, together with the concepts of Hughes’ model, serve as an analytical lens for the case studies in the empirical part. The focus is set on the ensemble of ideas and concepts, the institutions and the material structures in order to explain the socio-technical processes that have brought about the (current) tramway systems. In particular, when looking at the development of tramways and light rail in the various cities, in the discursive dimension, attention will be given to the formulation of (critical and radical) problems, and the approach and choice of solutions. The cognitive and normative frames, referring to the perception of problems and the shaping of objectives and concepts respectively, play important roles in the introduction or re-introduction of tramway technology. That is why the analysis of relevant planning documents and policy statements can disclose the chosen policy paths and highlight the discursive appropriation of trams in a particular context. The institutional arrangements are a further decisive factor in the tramway renaissance, as the locally prevalent rule frameworks have a strong influence on technology choices. The rule frameworks can have a more formal character, such as those sanctioned by legislative bodies and public authorities in the form of laws, directives or standards, or a more informal character, such as norms, shared beliefs and mental models, conventions and expectations. Therefore, the regulatory frame, the access to financial resources, e.g. subsidies and taxes, the assessment approaches and decision making principles as well as the general attitude to public transport in a locale can be considered as main explanatory elements in the institutional 35

See also the previous Chapter 2.1.5.2.

Analytical framework

43

dimension of appropriation. Finally, the processes of appropriation have a material dimension concerning the “technical core” and its spatial integration. For the exploration of these physical elements of a tramway system, the material infrastructure components, the network design as well as the operational patterns and service performance have to be considered. In addition, the implications for the urban environment, including land use and social practices, are addressed in order to underline the wide ranging ramifications of public transport. All three dimensions are closely interrelated, as discourses and institutional constellations are inscribed in the urban fabric and technical infrastructures, and the material facilities mediate and shape the social framework in which they are embedded. The cumulative effects of the processes and arrangements in these three dimensions are central to this thesis and it is assumed that these effects constitute the technological style of a particular tramway system. Therefore, it is claimed here that the technological style of a socio-technical ensemble reflects its systemic features, and over time, the style exhibits patterns of distinctiveness and continuity. In the tramway renaissance, the decision making practices for the development of a system are regarded as decisive for shaping the technological style, as they interrelate ideas, institutions and materiality36. The weight of formal institutional elements in these practices – such as the applied assessment tools, or instrumental rationality in general – can be seen as an important characteristic of the style, as was suggested also by Hassiak and Richer (2012). 2.2.2

Assumptions concerning technological styles

In analytical terms, the evolution of a technological style is conceived as resulting from the interplay between the structural drivers in Hughes’ model, including ”reverse salients”, “battle of the systems” and ”momentum”, and the agency of “system builders” and other involved actors. In this thesis, unlike the conception of Hughes, not only the persons directly presiding over the system are considered important37, but also all those individuals and organisational bodies that have an impact on the system development38. Particularly relevant are the actors’ roles and (discursive) strategies in overcoming the tensions and conflicts which occur in the course of the technical and urban co-evolution. Dissent and conflict assumedly surround critical decisions about the direction of 36

37

38

The visions and expectations together with the institutional rules bring about the structure and function of the physical networks, and, in turn, the service performance and social consequences of the latter influence the problem agenda and the formal frame. In fact, Hughes’ focus on the system builders and the inordinate amount of influence assigned to the latter have been criticised (Joerges 1999; Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004). These include e.g. politicians, lobbyists, the general public as well as persons and authorities or associations dealing with transportation questions as part of their professional or political tasks.

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

system development, which are occasionally to be made. In Hughes’ model, the arising of radical problems can necessitate the reorientation of the system, for example. Despite of a tendency to stick to established place-specific development paths (Monstadt 2009), systems are thus susceptible to change, especially during so-called windows of opportunity (Rothstein 1996) when the possibilities for agents to discontinue path dependencies are greater than else. In effect, the interplay of the structural patterns and agency defines the preconditions for particular styles to evolve, but there is always some contingency at work, which can lead to unexpected and unique constellations. Thomas Hughes acknowledges the importance of contingent events, but notes that with the increasing institutionalisation39, the international technology transfer will make systems eventually more uniform. This convergence thesis implies that there can be only variations of a congeneric technological system and implicitly belittles the relevance of the style concept. In contrast, this study assumes the possibility that in different environments quite distinct and even peculiar systems can evolve, despite a global circulation and availability of ideas, concepts and technological artefacts. In this sense, the concept of technological style is valuable for understanding the significance of multi-level appropriation processes and various path-dependent phenomena in the development of technological systems. In addition, by highlighting the relevance of differences and similarities, the notion of style facilitates the derivation of lessons to be learnt from a variety of cases. In the study of styles within the tramway renaissance, a distinction will be made between local and national style patterns whilst bringing out their interrelation. It is assumed that the appropriation processes in different settings at the local level cumulatively bring about the national style. The local experiences from the introduction or re-introduction of tramway services add to a common stock of knowledge and technology40, and over time a dominant pattern emerges, which serves as a reference for the following appropriation processes. Simultaneously national institutions generally play an important and powerful role for the urban transport development (Pemberton 2000), so that policies and discourses formulated and articulated at higher scales 41 significantly influence the shaping 39

Technical standards and engineering practices are expressions of the institutionalisation of a concrete solution, for example. 40 Through the international circulation of concepts and technology propelled by publications and the activities of transport operators and manufacturers, the local appropriation might have an impact also on the global tramway renaissance. See e.g. the systems of Karlsruhe and Strasbourg presented in Chapter 4.2 and Chapter 5.2, respectively. 41 E.g. the regional, national or transnational (EU) level can be distinguished.

Analytical framework

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of local patterns. Within this frame, the (aggregate) national style subsumes the most salient characteristics of local styles, but the latter do not need to be that homogeneous, because the cities in a country are not only the loci of tramway renaissance but also key players with strategic leeway affecting the intertwined appropriation processes. 2.2.3

The analytical perspective on the tramway renaissance

In conclusion of the above explanations, the tram renaissance can be seen as a result of the coupling between large-scale circulation of technology and concepts and their multi-level appropriation in local contexts. It is present at multiple locations and scales, whereby the local context significantly sets the opportunities for action. Cities play an active role by influencing the technology selection being the decisive actors as well as the most important playing fields of appropriation. However, their possibilities are framed by general trends of a socio-technical environment42 and, in addition, depend on policies that are formulated at higher (spatial and hierarchical) scales. Figure 1 summarises this multi-dimensional understanding of the tramway renaissance, and the explicit consideration of time stresses the dynamics of the involved processes of development and change.

Figure 4: The analytical framework in a nutshell Source: Own illustration 42

In accordance with Hughes’ concept, the environment of a system consists of elements which are not under its control. The environment of tramway systems includes thus the overall sociotechnical backdrop with the general trends characterising it like e.g. scientific innovations, demographic and social change or global economic rearrangements.

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2.3

A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

A case study design

In order to capture and analyse the complex and multi-dimensional nature of the tramway renaissance, a comparative case study approach will be adopted. Case studies are useful for the exploration of “a contemporary phenomenon (the “case”) in its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between the phenomenon and context are not clearly evident” (Yin 2014, p. 1). This makes the methodology particularly appropriate for the study of socio-technical systems, the boundaries of which are fluid according to Hughes (1987). A key advantage of the case study approach is that it accounts for the dynamics of the studied phenomena, and it allows thus for the comprehensive description and analysis of the interrelations between policies and ideas, institutions, and materiality that have shaped the different technological styles of tramway systems. With its focus on processes rather than on singular moments and outcomes, case studies can contribute to the identification of causal mechanisms in complex constellations and that way enable analytical generalisations from one context to another (Mayntz 2003, p. 237; Yin 2014, p. 35). A comparative case study design will therefore be applied in order to derive findings from each case and capture regularities across the cases which allows for generalizable propositions about the socio-technical dynamics of the recent development of tramway systems. However, the thesis aims not only at providing a basis for comparison and generalisation but also at gaining policy and planning oriented insights which can be referred to in future tramway development projects43. In this research, the tramway renaissance is conceived as a socio-technical phenomenon simultaneously present at multiple locations and scales, where it is shaped by the interplay of the international circulation and local appropriation of technology and planning ideas. In order to grasp this phenomenon, a comparative multiple case study design will be applied in which contrasting cases exhibiting a maximum variation of national and local development paths are chosen. The rationale for this design is to show similarities and differences across very different contexts and thereby to derive insights about the drivers, impact forces, actors and interest constellations behind the development and the performance of tramways and light rails in Western Europe. The differences and similarities between the contexts make apparent the significance of certain circumstances for the scopes of action, the unfolding processes and their outcomes at different scales. In particular, the research design allows for comprehending the evolving 43

This is an extension of the analytical concepts applied here, because originally they were used in the context of history and do not aim at providing policy implications. Ewertsson and Ingelstam underline that research on LTS has been largely descriptive and analytic, not normative (Ewertsson and Ingelstam 2004, pp. 304, 306).

A case study design

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form of the systems under study and exploring how tramways were appropriated locally in various distinct ways and at the same time exhibited several comparable features with respect to discourses, policies and technological solutions. For this purpose, the multiple case study approach captures the dynamics of the local appropriation and the circulation of models and concepts, and it reveals the connections between the internationally spread implementing venues. Thereby, it shows how the appropriation of tramways in a locale feeds back into the common stock of knowledge and technology at the national and transnational level and thus adds to or even reshapes the circulating concepts and models. The research approach is based on a purposive sampling of case studies which ensured variation in the system contexts and development paths in order to facilitate generalisations about the tramway renaissance in Western Europe and allow for the derivation of action oriented insights for future system planning. Both, paradigmatic and extreme cases were included in the thesis, whereas the later “activate more actors and more basic mechanisms” and therefore reveal often more information than a representative case does (Flyvbjerg 2006). Paradigmatic cases44 highlight more general characteristics of the study phenomena; they can serve as a reference point and have a metaphorical or prototypical value for the domain that the case concerns. In contrast, extreme cases are rather unusual and can disclose some very problematic or especially advantageous aspects. It is argued here, that paradigmatic cases with a model character and extreme cases featuring analogies and polarities are particularly useful for the identification of particular styles in the tramway renaissance, which has been a declared object of this thesis. With respect to different criteria, one case can be extreme and paradigmatic at the same time, and so it can offer rich possibilities for making conclusions and generalisations 45. Practically, the research design will be applied to the empirical cases of tramway and light rail systems of six cities in three different European countries. The indepth, explorative approach to the research topic limits the number of cases to be investigated on practical grounds, as it requires gaining an understanding and providing an overview of the national and local contexts of the tramway renaissance, reviewing extensive documentation and conducting field visits and interviews. Still, the empirical basis of the research is sufficient for 44 45

The following characterisation of case classes is based on Flyvbjerg (2006, pp. 229-232). There are generally also critical cases which contain information allowing for logical deductions from a case of a given “type” to all other cases of the same type. Flyvbjerg (2006) gives the example of the following reasoning: “If this is (not) valid for this case, then it applies to all (no) cases.”

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

demonstrating the plurality of the European experience in public transport system development and allows for studying a maximum variety in national contexts and local sites. Thereby, it enables the identification of styles within the tramway renaissance, with the distinction between local and national style patterns and an emphasis on their interrelation. As assumed in Chapter 2.2.2, the processes of technology appropriation in different venues at the local level cumulatively bring about the national style. Hence, the (aggregate) national style subsumes the most salient characteristics of local styles, but the latter do not need to be that homogeneous, since the cities in a country are key players with strategic leeway concerning the development of local technological systems. In order to illustrate this issue, for each of the three countries under study, the features of the tramway renaissance as an appropriation process at the national level will be explored, and in addition, the evolution of two particular systems in a country will be analysed. Based on the review of a wide range of information sources including academic and professional publications, public transport statistics published by individual state agencies, transport companies’ and local authorities’ webpages, as well as the author’s industry knowledge, the countries selected as case studies were Germany, France and England. The three countries have all displayed quite different environments for the development of their tram systems and the renaissance took distinct paths with an own dynamics in each of them, as briefly presented in Chapter 1.3. In the early twentieth century, all major cities in the three countries were served by a tram system, but over the following decades, the picture changed significantly. Germany preserved a big part of its old systems, and with around 60 tramways and light rails has the greatest number of networks in Europe. Furthermore, the large number of German tramways was not only kept but also substantially upgraded, so that Germany was declared as “the centre of world tramway development”46. The country has been therefore a reference point in the international tramway renaissance and has had a prototypic value for the phenomenon under study. Contrary to the German case, France and England scrapped almost all of their tram networks following the global trend of tramway abandonment in the mid-twentieth century. However, the shared preoccupations about growing urban problems such as the decay of older city areas and a simultaneous urban sprawl, traffic congestion and heavy pollution induced a reappraisal of the importance of rail-bound urban public transport in the planning and policy discourses in both countries. Respectively, in the late 1980s and the 1990s the central governments and local administrations started looking actively for the reintroduction of modern tram services. In France, this means of transport 46

See Taplin (1998) as well as Chapter 4.1.

A case study design

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has grown remarkably in popularity and a massive investment in the re-opening of modern systems is evident. As a result, the country has led the way worldwide with 25 cities launching new tramways within three decades. England, in contrast, has witnessed only few light rail re-openings despite a multitude of earlier existing networks. Hence, the tramway development in these two cases features some analogies but with very different outcomes – whereas that in France has become a much acclaimed example, that in Britain did not live up to the proclaimed aspirations. The two countries present therefore two opposite extreme cases of the tramway renaissance, the contrasting juxtaposition of which reveals some very advantageous and some very problematic aspects in the development of tram and light rail systems. In order to provide a more differentiated picture of the tramway renaissance internationally and within the respective countries, the development of six particular systems will be closely examined. In Germany, because of the preservation of many tram services after the Second World War, only few cities re-opened networks which had been scrapped in previous decades, whilst the main changes have been evolutionary. The two case systems studied in the thesis represent the two distinct forms of development of modern tram and light rail systems in Germany. On the one side, the system of Hannover is considered, which is typical of the gradual development of a tramway into a partly underground light rail system (Stadtbahn) and has proven successful in its flexibility of offering full use during its development. On the other hand, the example of Karlsruhe is examined, where an unprecedented network growth including the utilisation of railroad tracks has taken place and the first dualcurrent tram in the world, the so called Karlsruhe Model, internationally known as tram-train, has been introduced. At the end of the 1990s, Topp (1998) suggested that the cases of Karlsruhe and Hannover could be models for the regeneration of urban transport in other countries. Indeed, the concepts of both systems obtained a model character for the upgrade and expansion of classical tramways and have circulated in the professional and policy discourses as symbols of innovation and reformation in public transport47. Therefore, the systems of Karlsruhe and Hannover can be considered as paradigmatic cases highlighting general features of the German tramway renaissance. However, the most recent development related to the light rail in these cities is rather controversial and adds some atypical and critical facets to the cases 48.

47 48

See Chapter 3.1.3, Chapter 4.2.3.3 and Chapter 4.3.2.3. See Chapter 4.2.4.1and Chapter 4.3.3.

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

As particular instances of the French tramway renaissance, the evolution of the systems of Strasbourg and Rouen will be studied in more detail. Although the first re-openings of tram services in France took place in the mid-1980s, the rebirth of tramways there was marked by the construction of the first lines in Strasbourg and Rouen in 1994. These service re-launches had a large significance as they gave momentum (Hughes 1987) to the development of tramways in the country by stimulating the enthusiasm for new systems 49. Moreover, the socio-technical arrangement in Strasbourg is an extreme case of the implementation of a tram line as a large-scale urban project in a transnational perspective. At the same time, the case of Strasbourg is also paradigmatic for a modern on-ground tram system and served as an example for the following French schemes. Contrary to that reference model, the atypical system of Rouen will be studied, which is the single one in France comparable with the German “Stadtbahn” idea. It features a trunk tunnel section in the city centre and widely segregated right-of-way. The high costs of an envisioned system expansion triggered the emergence of a complementing bus-based system, but, in the meantime, this new system has become a viable alternative to tram lines. Rouen appears thus as an extreme case of the tramway renaissance promising some lessons about the evolution of tram systems, which have significance beyond the particular context. Contrary to the ongoing development in France, the renaissance of tramways in England seems to have ended after the construction of only five new systems, although in the 1980s, light rail plans were discussed in many British cities. One of the few introduced systems is the light rail of Greater Manchester – Manchester Metrolink – which has been recognized as very successful in terms of ridership and commercial revenue. It is a typical British light rail system combining commuter railroad with local distribution in the city centre, and it will be studied therefore as a paradigmatic case of the rebirth of trams in England. In an unfavourable policy context, Metrolink is exceptional in its network expansion which has been possible largely due to an unusually strong local ownership. In contrast to the successful Manchester Metrolink, the case of Sheffield Supertram was seen as a failure in the first years after its opening. Introduced in the mid-nineties after two decades of planning and debates, it features large portions of street running, which is rather untypical for the new British systems. Despite the initial operational and commercial difficulties, the system has been growing recently and will be the pioneer of tram-train technology in England. The case of Sheffield’s tramway can be considered thus 49

This interpretation is shared in the official brochure about the French tramway renaissance issued by the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy in France. See MESDE (2012).

A case study design

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as extreme according to Flyberg’s categorisation, as its rebirth and evolution reveal some problematic aspects of the English tram renaissance but also demonstrate the chances for advantageous changes in later stages of the development of a system. The two cases have definitely had different fates worth studying more closely in order to illustrate the uneven path of contemporary tramway development in Britain and to provide contrastive and complementing examples to the continental experiences. The six urban areas differ significantly in terms of their size, spatial morphology and local institutional arrangements. The variation in these attributes allows fathoming their importance for the evolution of a system and thus providing explanatory factors concerning the development and performance of trams and light rail, which can be a useful input in future decision-making. The focus of the final cross-case analysis will be set, however, on processes and their dynamics rather than on singular moments emphasising the structural variables of the cases. In particular, the socio-technical analysis of the tramway renaissance will look closely at the discursive, institutional and material practices in the different cases and show not only what and how much has happened and changed, but also how and why this has come about, and which agents were involved. Furthermore, it will also make clear when certain events were possible and took place and that way it will highlight the importance of historical trajectories and path dependency to understanding the options for change. In order to capture the dynamics of the processes, the analysis will expand beyond the early stages of the systems’ evolution, which have been the traditional study object of the adopted LTS approach, and will look also at the recent inflections marked by increasing system maturity. Thereby, the various planning strategies that were employed in the particular cases and the social and political factors influencing the adoption of such strategies will be examined. In doing so, the functional equivalence of the planning and policy measures in the different venues will be considered rather their identity. This approach assures the comparability of the various cases, while still recognising the place-specific nature of the system developments, and allows for conclusions and lessons to be drawn about the potential of tramways and light rail as well as the prospects of cities employing or planning to employ this transport technology. Furthermore, the contextdependent findings about the evolution process of tram systems and its outcomes can provide important insights concerning the possibilities to cope with the complexity inherent in the development of such systems. The action-oriented lessons learnt from the cross-case analysis can be particularly useful in the early stages of system planning and design, as underlined by the International Tunnel Association (ITA 2003), but also in the later phases of system operations.

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A socio-technical framing of the tramway renaissance

The analysis is based on empirical data obtained from several different sources: policy and planning documents, previous studies on the systems, other published materials including grey literature and press articles, as well as interviews and fieldtrips. Research into each of the studied cases began with a review of publicly available information about the evolution of the local system, provided by reports, analyses and presentations which had been issued by agencies at different scales (local, regional and national) or transport operators, or had been published in professional and academic journals. The review allowed reconstructing the historical path of the system development, identifying the relevant actors and establishing the set of interactions to be studied. Academic and industry publications were further used to inform an understanding of the institutional constellations in the particular countries and cities. In addition to the accessed reports, analyses and evaluations, also meeting minutes and speeches were reviewed in order to obtain a fuller picture of the discourses and key events in the development of the tramway systems. Press articles and statements by various interest groups supplemented the information about the public debates. Furthermore, expert interviews with actors who have been involved in the planning, realisation, operation or governance of the particular systems were also relevant empirical sources for the case studies. Based on the initial document review, professionals who had taken part in the local system building were invited for an interview. For each case system, one or two semi-structured interviews were conducted which focused on the history and contemporary development of the local tramway or light rail. The main purpose of the interviews was to supplement the publically available information on the systems in order to gather further empirical evidence that could be used to underpin the output of the analysis. An additional empirical source was a fieldwork in September 2015, in the frame of which the material and spatial dimension of technology appropriation was examined for each of the case systems. In particular, the fieldwork allowed to find out how the relevant discourses and institutions have materialised in each socio-technical system and to closely examine how the systems have been operated and used on an everyday basis. The combination of the diverse empirical sources provided a comprehensive and multifaceted perspective on the tramway renaissance in the three countries studied here and facilitated the identification of distinctive styles.

3

Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

This chapter provides an overview of the general lines of development of the tramway transport in Western Europe and presents the technical innovations characterising the tramway renaissance as well as the associated concept of light rail (Chapter 3.1). Thereafter, a review of the existing research on tram and light rail systems is given, which is framed as the globally circulating discourses in academia and planning (Chapter 3.2). Chapter 3.3 summarises the relevance of the findings for the following empirical analysis. 3.1 3.1.1

The general lines of tramway transport development The old tramways

The first tramway line in the world was launched in New York in 1832, and two decades later, the tramway appeared also in European cities. Paris introduced this transport mode in 1853, followed by London in 1861 and Copenhagen in 1863, and in 1865, the first German line was built between Berlin and Charlottenburg. At the time, horse power was used to pull the tramways, but due to its limitations various mechanical traction alternatives were investigated in the 1870s, which were all given up when electric traction became possible. The first electric tramway became operational in the Berlin suburb of Lichterfelde in May 1881, and by the early twentieth century almost all horse-drawn tramways in the European and US cities had been converted to electric traction. The technical improvements increased the popularity of this means of transport, as it allowed for lower costs and higher speeds as compared to the previous modes (McKay 1976). In effect, at the dawn of the twentieth century, all urban areas with more than 200,000 inhabitants in Germany, France and Britain had at least one tram line (Hassiak and Richer 2012). (Taplin 1998) The first three decades after the turn of the century were a “golden age” for the tramway (Hassiak and Richer 2012; Taplin 1998; Schott and Klein 1998), as a vast number of networks expanded, also beyond the existing city boundaries, and the public transport services were massively used. However, the damages during the First World War and the increasing cost of materials and labour stalled the rapid development of tram transport in Europe. Several destroyed networks were not rebuilt, while elsewhere there were not sufficient funds to renew infrastructure assets which were beginning to wear out (Taplin 1998). Furthermore, motorbuses were becoming available as an alternative to the © Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_3

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tramway, and in many cases they were chosen as a cheaper and more flexible feeder service option over the extension of rail lines. Therefore, a dismantling of tram operations became noticeable in the 1920s, particularly in France and Great Britain, and continued rapidly after the start of the world economic crisis in 1929. Many lines with marginal profitability, networks in small towns and interurban connections were scrapped and often replaced by buses (Groneck 2007; Taplin 1998). From the 1930s onwards, besides the motorbus, trolleybuses were increasingly considered as a viable alternative permitting the further use of the electrical supply assets. Nonetheless, despite the pervasive closure of many tram lines and networks, a new tramcar with a high capacity and quality and performance levels comparable to that of modern buses was designed in the mid1930s in the USA (Levinson 2012).This was the PCC 50 car, which became famous for a distinctively streamline design, sufficient spaciousness allowing for a flow of passengers inside the vehicles, and for smooth acceleration and braking (Schmucki 2010). The professionally designed tramcars from the USA figured as models for all tramway developments in the 1940s and 1950s and so provided the basis for the survival of various tram systems in Europe 51 (Schmucki 2010; Taplin 1998). This, in turn, eventually enabled the rebirth of tramways a few decades later. 3.1.2

The era of mass motoring

In general, however, the tramway transport continued declining, and a big part of the Western European systems which were still operational during the years of reconstruction after the Second World War were eventually scraped to make way to the growing motor traffic52. When the shortage of financial resources, materials and skilled labour of the immediate post-war period was overcome, a decade of an unprecedented economic growth followed in Western Europe, and the boom was largely propelled by the reconstruction and reshaping of the war50

PCC denotes the Presidents’ Congress Committee of streetcar companies, which commissioned the production of the new rail vehicle. The first prototype was presented in 1934 and the PCC car was put in service in New York in 1936. 51 The PCC technology was exported to Europe, where the Belgian company “La Brugeoise et Nivelles”, later integrated into the Canadian based Bombardier consortium, manufactured several hundred vehicles which later operated in Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as on the few preserved lines in the French cities of Saint-Étienne and Marseille. The Italian FIAT and the Czech CKD Tatra also produced tramcars under PCC license. Furthermore, even though the German manufacturer DUEWAG did not adopt the American technology, the PCC car served as inspiration for the development of its successful models in the second half of the twentieth century (Schmucki 2001). 52 By the early 1970s, within twenty years, the number of tramways in Britain dropped from ten to one, and in France – from over twenty to three (Emangard 2011; Hassiak and Richer 2012; Groneck 2007, p. 28).

The general lines of tramway transport development

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torn cities53. In Germany, the economic upturn is known as “das Wirtschaftswunder”, and in France “les trente glorieuses” began – thirty years of glorious growth. From the 1950s onwards, automobile ownership became financially affordable for larger parts of the population in Western Europe and the ensuing mass motoring was strongly associated with modernity and was perceived as a symbol of mobility and a free and materially prospering society54. Indeed, the dominant Western planning idea in the mid-twentieth century was the creation of a linear, human-centred world of societal progress, where cities and regions would be more socially just and would offer amenities for daily life and for conducting business (Healey 2013). In the early post-war era, it was the USA that provided funds for pursuing that idea in the frame of the recovery of Western European countries and at the same time were regarded as the model for development (Lundin 2008; G3). The car ownership and use were an integral part of this model, so that American institutions, like the Bureau of Public Roads or various lobbying organisations, involved into the dissemination of highway and traffic engineering expertise in Europe and across the world (Lundin 2008). Furthermore, a growing international community of traffic engineering experts emerged in the course of the European Traffic Engineering Conferences, launched in the 1950s. A central question addressed was how to adapt the European cities to mass automobile use, as the new ideal for planners and politicians became the “car-oriented” city (Schmucki 2010; Haefeli 2008; Lundin 2008; Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992). This ideal largely resulted from the globally circulating modernist images of urban form, promoted through international networks of planning professionals and movements such as the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM). An especially influential urban planning concept developed by CIAM had been that of the “functional city”, where the four functions of dwelling, work, recreation and transport, which constitute a city, would be spatially separated in own zones55. To enable the smooth functioning of a city, a planning approach had to be applied which would be based on abstract, scientific knowledge featuring objective facts, and which thus had to be free of local peculiarities and generate universality (Schott 2014, pp. 326-327; Lundin 2008). Traffic and urban planning professionals of the 1960s favoured this approach in order to transcend the historical, cultural, political, and social specificity of the local context, and so that a quantitative and value-neutral terminology could supposedly easily be passed between 53

54

55

In the mid-1950s, Germans started talking about new construction (Neubau) instead of reconstruction (Wiederaufbau) (Diefendorf 1989). It was furthermore a symbol of a free and united Europe, which had to be interconnected via pancontinental road networks initiated already under the Marshall plan (Lundin 2008). The concept of the “functional city” was outlined in the Athens Charter of CIAM which was published in 1943 by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier (Schott 2014, p. 326).

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institutions, regions and countries (Lundin 2008; Schmucki 2010). An influential publication, embracing the knowledge and ideas that had been circulating among European traffic planners at the time, was the British government report “Traffic in Towns” 56 from 1963 (Lundin 2008). In the city traffic plans of the 1960s, motor cars had achieved a dominant and privileged position on the streets, and public transport, like the other transport modes, was regarded as reactive to the automobile. Even the supporters of public transport accepted the car dominance and had to conform to it, given the growing belief that the individual motor transport would be the ordinary form of moving for most people and cities could be adapted to cope with the resulting increase of car traffic (Lundin 2008; Laisney 2014; Taplin 1998). Accordingly, in the old urban cores in Europe, streets needed to be widened in order to accommodate the rising traffic volumes, through roads had to be built and parking facilities provided. At the same time in most of the industrialised Western countries, a land use pattern set on which was characterised by the spatial extension of builtup areas and strong growth of activities in suburban and periurban zones. The combination of rural attributes with urban amenities as incorporated in the suburban lifestyle of low-rise dwelling became increasingly attractive for many townspeople (Haefeli 2008; Healy 2013). New housing districts emerged hence at the city fringes and in the hinterland away from the existing public transport routes, and this spatial development reinforced the significance of the motorcar as the main passenger transport mode (Schott 2014, pp. 329ff.). The shift in growth from city cores to surrounding metropolitan regions, where the population densities were usually considerably lower, and the resulting complex commuter fluxes undermined the efficiency of public transport and especially of tramway services, which in many instances had therefore to be reduced or altogether abandoned. However, due to the limited available space in the city centres, which remained the main commuting destinations, public transport continued operating there but it had to be accommodated in the private traffic. As an outcome, tram lines that were not considered compatible with the requirements of the free flow of motor cars were often replaced by underground alignments or bus services (Schott 2014, pp. 335f.). Sometimes the closure of tram connections left parts of the population even without any access to public transport, as the latter happened to be regarded as a need most of all for the socially and economically disadvantaged who could not afford an own car (Moraglio 2011; Schiefelbusch and Dienel 2009; Taplin 1998; Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992). 56

This report has been known as the Buchanan Report after its main author, the traffic planner Colin Buchanan. See for more details Chapter 6.1.2.2.

The general lines of tramway transport development

3.1.3

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A general shift in transportation policy and circulation of new concepts

Despite a general political consensus on the mass motoring in Europe, criticism arose in the late 1960s and became more pronounced in the next decade when the economic boom of the post-war period was over (Lundin 2008). The seventies definitely marked the end of the many years of growth and continuously rising prosperity, particularly in Germany, France and England; and at the same time an urban crisis57 became manifest in these countries. The massive urbanisation linked to the industrialisation which had started in the 19th century was coming slowly to a halt already in the sixties when demographic stagnation and decline appeared in large and medium-sized cities due to various factors including industrial restructuring, the growing private mobility, changing lifestyles and the preference for ex-urban locations entailing pervasive suburbanisation and urban sprawl. The difficult situation of cities and urban agglomerations was further characterised by the deterioration of many old central areas, traffic congestion and heavy pollution (Baumeister et al. 2017). A sense of unease about the undesirable effects of the car use on urban life such as sprawl, extensive land use, congestion and road accidents gained ground in manifold political, professional and academic discourses during the seventies (Lundin 2008). The modern environmental movement, which became globally important in the late 1960s and early 1970s, pointed at the automotive air pollution as one of the main components of the growing environmental problems (Hård and Jamison 1997). The oil and energy debates of the 1970s brought ecological concerns into the social and political agenda, such that in many industrialised countries, a strong public interest and growing media coverage of a range of environmental issues resulted (Hård and Jamison 2005, pp. 272ff.; Rawcliffe 1995). The following decade witnessed the widespread entrance of environmentalism into parliaments, when inspired by the West German experience, green parties were formed across Europe and North America (Hård and Jamison 2005, p. 272). The increasing environmental awareness in politics led eventually to the promotion of more environmentally friendly technologies in transportation systems and to the institutionalisation of environmental concerns in decision-making processes and administrative structures (Hård and Jamison 2005, pp. 272ff.; Kaijser 2004). In parallel, also the city and the urban sphere received a higher relevance in public and professional debates, so that the quality of the living environment in cities became much more important than before (Baumeister et al. 2017; Vinken 2017).

57

Urban crisis referred to a variety of problems in quite different contexts. On the origins, evolution and different uses of this notion, see Weaver (2017).

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Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

For overcoming the adverse impacts of the car culture on the environment and the city, the approach of providing more road infrastructure or further traffic engineering was questioned, and instead, the reduction of the traffic volume was suggested (Moraglio 2011). The 1970s brought a comprehensive reappraisal of the visions of traffic and urban planners, which were increasingly confronted with public resistance aimed at a broad re-appropriation of cities by their citizens (Vinken 2017). Based on normative concepts and ideas of distinctive European traditions of urban form and urbanity, the city was discursively conceived primarily as a living environment rather than a technocratically planned area (Baumeister et al. 2017; Vinken 2017). Respectively, opposite to the hitherto dominant ideal of the “functional city”, compact forms of urban development with short distances to all major services were to be promoted. This meant that city areas had to be characterised by centrality, density and a heterogeneous functional mix instead of a spatial separation of functions. The aim was the creation of urban structures which would be far less dependent on the motorcar than in the previous two decades (Schott 2014, pp. 337-341). The most credible alternative to the automobile dominance promised to be urban rail as a highcapacity form of public transport. Especially the tram, which in the past had often to be given up in favour of the private motor car, was increasingly considered and presented as an environmentally friendly means of transport with low levels of air pollution. The experience of the countries and cities that had preserved and modernised their tramways during the motorcar-dominated era served as the basis for the looming tramway renaissance. The tramway transport retained its significance only in Europe, particularly in North-Western and Eastern Europe58, while elsewhere only some residual lines remained owing to the common trend of massive abandonments followed around the world, and especially in Great Britain, France, Spain and Italy (Emangard, 2011; Hassiak and Richer 2012; Topp 1999; Taplin 1998; Köstlin and Bartsch 1988). The German-speaking and the Benelux countries were the few which not only kept a large number of their tramways but also invested in their modernisation, despite an automobile-oriented transport planning paradigm in the post-war period. In fact, a modernisation of the trams was considered as a prerequisite for their survival (Günter 1987). Longer articulated tram vehicles were introduced from the 1950s onwards, which offered a higher capacity than the bus and therefore featured a superior passenger-driver ratio (Schmucki 2010; 58

In the socialist countries of Eastern Europe, the tramway was considered a high capacity transport mode which was needed given the limited number of private motor vehicles and the prohibitive cost for underground rail systems outside the major cities (Taplin 1998). See Schmucki (2001) for an in-depth analysis of the urban public transport and the role of the tramway in Dresden during the German Democratic Republic (1949-1990).

The general lines of tramway transport development

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Souter 2001; Taplin 1998). With respect to the modernisation of tramway fleets and infrastructure, Taplin (1998) termed the Federal Republic of Germany 59 as “the centre of world tramway development” and pointed at the pre-eminence of the manufacturer Duewag in the field of tramcar design between the 1960s and the 1980s. At the same time, it was also Switzerland that continued relying on the tramway and provided a widely admired example for enhancing its attractiveness. Already in the 1960s, the city of Zurich introduced reserved tram tracks and dedicated phases at traffic lights in order to increase the operational speeds and reliability of the tram transport60 (Galliker 1997). Initially implemented tentatively, these measures encouraged higher ridership despite the growing car ownership and triggered significant investments in the network development in the following decades (Haefeli 2008; Brändli 1998, 1995). The tramway was extended on predominantly reserved track through city districts and new suburbs, the old vehicles were replaced by a fleet of trams with higher performance, the prioritisation of public transport at traffic lights was gradually applied citywide 61 and restrictions on the motorised traffic were introduced in the centre and in residential areas in order to promote the use of trams and public transport in general (Haefeli 2008; Taplin 1998; Galliker 1997). In the 1970s, a number of other, mostly medium-sized, cities in Switzerland, Austria, the Benelux and Germany decided to follow such an approach, in which the tramway remained on the surface as a visible and accessible form of public transport (Topp 1999; Taplin 1998). In contrast, in the bigger cities of West Germany, in Vienna and the two large Belgian cities – Brussels and Antwerp – the construction of shallow underground alignment portions under busy intersections or streets was considered the best way of providing fast and attractive transport services with a minimum level of interference with the individual car traffic (Taplin 1998). Even though the upgrade of the tramway lines and networks took different forms in the various European cities, two features were common to most of the transformations – capacity and speed enhancement – and together they constituted for transport professionals the emergence of a new public transport concept (Thompson 2003). As experts saw 59

In the following, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and Western Germany will be used interchangeably. 60 Reserved tracks are effective only if the generated time savings are not lost at crossroads, hence, if minimal waiting times at junctions are secured (Brändli 1987, p. 156). 61 Seminal decisions to favour public transport over private vehicles were made by the city council of Basel in 1971, the city government of Bern in 1973 and by the voters in a referendum in Zurich in 1977 (Galliker 1997).

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it, the goal of this concept was to achieve the service level of fully segregated urban rail, i.e. subways, but with surface-running operations, thus making rail transport more widely available to the public whilst saving on construction costs. The efforts on upgrading of the infrastructure and rolling stock associated with this concept led to the appearance of new terms, most notably Stadtbahn (city rail), metro légèr (light metro) or prémétro, and sneltram (rapid/express tram), which were meant to differentiate the modernised systems from the traditional street trams (Hassiak and Richer 2012; Taplin 1998). The new concept, particularly the one that was being developed in Western Germany, was circulating not only in the countries with preserved tram networks, but reached also Great Britain and the USA. Professional articles 62 and study trips to European cities brought the concept to North America in the early 1970s, and a specialised conference disseminated it to the planning and transportation engineering community in the United States and Canada (Thompson 2003). It was in 1972 that the term “light rail” was coined to denote the European concept. Initially a translation of the German name “Stadtbahn” was proposed, hence “city rail” 63, but the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA) of the USA preferred “light rail”. The name for the technology had to assert the attributes mentioned above – the high speed and capacity characteristic for fully segregated rail, but lower investments in network infrastructure facilities, such as tunnels or viaducts and stations (Thompson 2003). These qualities were needed in a time, when the effects of ubiquitous and unrestrained motorised traffic were causing many cities to reassess their traffic policies. Confronted with urban sprawl and economic decline of the city centres, the American urban planners of the 1970s looked at the European experience and ideas and realised the advantages of effective public transport services as offered by light rail and tramways on reserved tracks (Taplin 1998). The Canadian city of Edmonton was the first in North America to adopt the light rail concept, when it built a new alignment comprising underused railroad track and underground sections64. The operations commenced in 1978 and were considered an immediate success (Taplin 1998), marking the return of urban rail to North America, which continued three years later with the first lines in the Californian 62

In particular, the magazine “Modern Tramways” chronicled the evolution of the preserved German tramway systems (Thompson 2003). 63 It was Vukan Vuchic, an engineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who had to write a report about the modern tramway development in Europe and suggested the term “city rail”. He had been collaborating with the influential transport engineer Friedrich Lehner, who played a significant role in the development of the “Stadtbahn” idea. For more details about Lehner’s work, see Schmucki (2001), and for further information about Vuchic’s engagement in the popularisation and implementation of the concept in North America, see Thompson (2003). 64 For an in-depth study of the light rail development in Edmonton, see Thompson (2011).

The general lines of tramway transport development

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city of San Diego and Calgary in Canada (Thompson 2003). All the three cities employed German Siemens-Duewag vehicles, which were largely the same as those that had been serving the U-Bahn network of Frankfurt since 1968 (Groneck 2007; Thompson 2003; Taplin 1998). The contribution of these systems to a shift from motor cars to public transport triggered an increased interest in and the implementation of light rail throughout North America (Levinson et al. 201265; Taplin 1998). The development in North America was noticed also on the European continent and additionally encouraged the existing efforts to promote and reintroduce tramway transport. As mentioned above, the environmental concerns and the problematic aspects of increasing car use, aggravated by the oil crisis of the 1970s, fostered the interest in tramways and light rail as an alternative to the unrestricted motorisation (Moraglio 2011; Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Souter 2001). In this era where also new urban attitudes were getting stronger, trams and light rail were the material evidence of a new symbolic significance (Moraglio 2011). In the aspirations for an urban renaissance (Haefeli 2008; Edward and Macketts 1998), the rail tracks were widely seen as a means of restructuring public space, which had to be devoted to people instead of cars and that way be opened to new social use (Moraglio 2011). In this sense, trams and light rail were not only considered as effective transport modes but also as carriers of urbanity 66 (Olesen 2014; MESDE 2012; Moraglio 2011; Stambouli 2007; Topp 1999). Furthermore, besides being an ecologically friendly alternative to the motor traffic, tramways were also associated with social inclusion by providing mobility services to wide parts of the population, also to those who would otherwise not be able to participate at social life (Moraglio 2011; Hassiak and Richer 2012; Schmucki 2010; Schiefelbusch and Dienel 2009; Stambouli 2007). In general, all these aspects were welcomed by the public, as they largely responded to the social demands raised after the 1960s (Moraglio 2011; Schmucki 2010; Cervero 1998). With the establishment of the International Light Rail Commission at the International Association of Public Transport UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publiques), the renaissance of trams was looming already in the late 1970s, and at the beginning of the 1980s, it won recognition as part of the emerging human oriented transport concepts (Schmucki 2001, p. 187f). In the following decades, the renaissance became clearly an internationally admired and imitated development (Schmucki 2010), leading to the construction of more than 100 new systems around the world. 65 66

See Levinson et al. (2012) for a summary of the reintroduction of urban rail in the US cities. This is particularly pronounced in the French tramway renaissance. For more details, see Chapter 5.1.3.2, Chapter 5.1.4 and Chapter5.2.3.1.

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3.1.4

Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

Technical innovations

The tramway renaissance included apparently a variety of socio-technical developments which brought about a reconfiguration of the large technical system of public transport. Besides the changed general perception of urban transport and the new, positive public image of on-ground urban rail, the renaissance was characterised also by a number of technical innovations. The latter included in particular low-floor vehicles, modular vehicle design, lighter and less expensive rolling stock, more facilities for level boarding, and priority signalling at junctions (Topp 1999). A salient issue in the development of tramway and light rail systems has been that of accessibility, especially the provision of a barrier-free access to the vehicles. This aspect had been addressed since the late 1960s (Ware and Jones 1992), so that the light rail lines established in the 1970s and the 1980s were equipped with high platforms67 at the stops on the reserved track. Hence, such platforms were installed in the tunnels and on most on-ground sections outside the centre68, which allowed for level boarding of the cars (Groneck 2007; Taplin 1998). That way light rail became more easily accessible for passengers in wheelchairs or those with prams, and in addition, the level access made boarding and alighting faster, decreasing station dwelling times and contributing thus to operations productivity and reliability. Where platforms couldn’t be established, the improved accessibility of the vehicles was assured by the use of foldable or retractable steps (Taplin 1998; Ware and Jones 1992). However, this technical element presented an additional area of complexity, increasing the maintenance costs (Ware and Jones 1992), so that an effective alternative had to be found. The low-floor technology introduced in Geneva in 1984 69 proved to be such an alternative and became the preferred solution for making trams and light rail fully accessible. In the vehicle, developed by Duewag and ACM Vevey, more than half of the floor area was at a height of only 480 mm above the top of the rail (Transportation Research Board 1995). By changing the location and 67

These are usually 76 cm high over the top of the rail. Contrary to the residential districts and the suburbs, in the city centres, there was usually less space to install high platforms, which were often seen also as a visual intrusion in the urban fabric. The implications of the latter aspect are illustrated by the recent decisions on the system development in Hannover, presented in Chapter 4.3.3. 69 Although some early examples appeared as far back as the late 19th and early 20th century (Vienna horse tram in 1891, and New York in 1912), the first modern and genuine low-floor tram vehicle was put into service in Geneva in 1984 (Hattori 2004; Topp 1999). After this pioneering application, it was the French city of Grenoble to introduce the technology as next in 1987, and since then its popularity and adoption have grown significantly in Europe and other countries worldwide. (Transportation Research Board 1995) 68

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configuration of the boogies and the under-floor equipment – control and other devices became smaller and lighter and were moved to the roof or inside the car – a low, flat floor could be achieved. Later, the introduction of axle-less boogies70 allowed for the increase of the low-floor area throughout the vehicle, and independently powered boogie wheels located under the seats made 100% low-floor cars possible (Hattori 2004). In general, a low-floor tram vehicle provides for a step-free entrance at a height of only 30 to 35 cm above the rail, so that a barrier-free access is possible from a matching low-profile kerb or platform (Figure 5 and Figure 6). It allows thus for increased physical comfort of the users and an improved image of public transport, and is one of the technical developments which have significantly promoted the reintroduction of trams (Topp 1999). Meanwhile, low-floor has become standard in Western Europe not only for light rail and trams71, but also for buses72.

Figure 5: A low-floor tram vehicle at a stop with a matching kerb in Nottingham

70 71 72

The two facing wheels are not connected by an axle. Standard low floor vehicles appeared between 2001 and 2003 (Hattori 2004). In Germany, for example, equal access to public transport has been legally mandatory since 2002, and capital investments can be subsidised only if they take account of the needs of persons with impaired mobility. See VDV (2014b).

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Figure 6: A low-profile platform at a tram stop in Karlsruhe

The low-floor technology not only facilitates the system accessibility and accelerates the operations, but it also enables the design of stations and stops which are not intrusive and thus easy to integrate into the streetscape. Therefore, the main routes of trams and buses go often through pedestrian zones in the city centre and adjoining areas (Topp 1999). Trams fit better in these city parts because it is easier to notice them owing to the rails73, and the guiding tracks enable them to penetrate even narrow streets (Figure 7). In addition, due to the assured access to the city centre by trams and light rail, the need for parking lots can be reduced (Hattori 2004; Topp 1999).

73

In Germany the maximum speed in pedestrian zones is limited to 7 km/h, with exemptions for public transport (25 km/h in Karlsruhe) (Topp 1999).

The general lines of tramway transport development

Figure 7: A tram route along a fairly narrow street in Darmstadt

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Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

Significant technological advances besides the low-floor development were achieved also in the domain of structural design which permitted the reduction of vehicle weights and the standardisation of rolling stock modules (Topp 1999; Ware and Jones 1992). The lower wagon weight meant material and energy consumption savings and has influenced positively the purchasing and operating costs of trams. In addition, the use of standardised parts for modulated vehicles further decreased the rolling stock prices, so that in a growing market with a raising number of competing suppliers74, tram transport became affordable for more and more cities. Furthermore, the application of electronics in traction control resulted in an improved operational performance and offered a smoother ride to the passengers (Hattori 2004; Topp 1999; Latour 1996; Ware and Jones 1992). The interior of the modern vehicles also provided higher levels of comfort characterised by noise and vibration insulation, air-conditioning, a stylish design and continuous audio-visual information75 (Hattori 2004; SYPTE 2003). Information to passengers, especially in real time, was an important aspect of the tramway renaissance, as Moraglio (2011) argued, because the creation of favourable conditions for travelling included better informed users.

74

The French manufacturer Alstom emerged as a decisive player in the rolling stock market after the 1980s and has been an integral part of the French tramway renaissance. For more details, see Chapter 5.1.5.3. More recently, besides the large manufacturers Bombardier from Canada, Alstom from France, and Siemens from Germany, also the Swiss company Stadler, the Czech Skoda and the Polish producers Solaris and Pesa have been participating in bids for supplying the rolling stock to existing or new systems in Europe and worldwide. 75 See Figure 8.

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Figure 8: The interior of the latest generation tramcars in Strasbourg

As was noticed in the previous subsection, the competitiveness of trams and light rail was significantly strengthened by the provision of reserved tracks and priority at traffic lights. That way the scheduled speeds could be raised and the reliability of the transport service could be assured without compromising the flexibility of operating in different environments, including mixing with road traffic. Traffic light priority activation has been widely applied in Western Europe and is possible by means of a transponder on the public transport vehicle

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Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

which actuates the signalling, extending the green time or shortening the red time. Alternatively, a greater degree of centralised operations control can be obtained when a control centre monitors the location of the public transport vehicles and coordinates both the tram and motorcar transport. Data from the operational control centre can also be used for giving instructions to tram drivers and providing real-time information to the passengers (Hattori 2004; Ware and Jones 1992). With the advancements in communication, computational and sensing technologies, additional ’inteligent’ transport system management applications have emerged that integrate real-time traffic flow data and feedback from other sources such as parking guidance and weather information. Furthermore, predictive tools are being developed to allow for improved transport modelling with the aim of efficiency gains in mobility management and public transport operations76. The advantages of information and communication technologies for a priority treatment of trams and light rail in the street traffic have been often combined with the establishment of lanes which can be used only by trams or light rail. Such lanes have not only allowed for fast operations, but also gave the opportunity for an environmentally attractive design of street sections in sensitive areas (Ware and Jones 1992). In the tramway renaissance, the grass track proved to be a popular approach to create a visually appealing alignment (Figure 9), which also helps reducing noise, so that many cities have been using it (Hattori 2004).

76

For more information on intelligent applications in transport system management, see European Commission (2018).

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Figure 9: Grass track as a formative design element in different environments – along a thoroughfare in Karlsruhe (above) and in a dense residential district in Göteborg (below)

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3.1.5

Characteristics of the international tramway renaissance

The concept of “light rail”

As was shown in the previous section, the renaissance of tramways is strongly associated with the emergence of the concept of light rail. Whereas the few socio-technical studies take it rather for granted, and Moraglio (2011) views “light rail” just as a re-branding of the classical tram that assumed a new and “stylish” design, here a more differentiated treatment of the concept is necessary. In fact, the term ‘light rail’ has been used ambiguously to cover a wide range of the local rail-bound technology spectrum from traditional streetcars over light metro/métro léger to dual-voltage tram-trains77, whereby no unique definition exists (Utsunomiya 2004; Hassiak and Richer 2012). At the same time, the terms ‘tram’ and ‘tramway’ are usually applied to a historically grown system that might be upgraded to ‘light rail standards’ (Taplin 1995). Still, branding considerations rather than techno-operational characteristics can influence the labelling of systems in some cases and their translation in different languages can often be arbitrary78 (Hassiak and Richer 2012). From a transport and town planner’s perspective though, the main criterion for the definition of tram and light rail systems is their right-of-way, namely the space in the roadway provided for them (Topp 1999). Whereas a traditional tram shares road space with car traffic along its route, a modern tram has a reserved or segregated right-of-way on street sections and priority at traffic lights. Light rail systems are more heterogeneous and feature fluid transitions to modern trams and metro-like systems with an exclusive right-of-way (Topp 1999). In fact, Hodgson and Potter (2010) consider light rail and (modern) tram interchangeable and ‘technically inseparable’, but distinct from (fully fledged) underground and subway as the latter have completely segregated tracks and are usually powered from a conductor rail, while light rail systems use a catenary. Finally, trams usually operate within the city boundaries, whereas light rail networks can extend to the surrounding region and even share tracks with heavy railways. The biggest advantage of light rail and a main characteristic is its flexibility in terms of development patterns over time (Topp 1999; Taplin 1995). A light rail can gradually emerge from an old, but modernised tram and become a fully segregated underground or elevated system; thereby each stage can be the final

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“Tram-train” is used as a generic descriptor for track sharing with trams running on mainline railroad. Originating most probably in France, the term has become common in Europe. For example, German cities like Cologne, Frankfurt and Stuttgart label their upgraded tramways with underground sections as “U-Bahn”, thus in the same way as the fully-fledged metros of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich.

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one, while still allowing for proceeding to a next one79 (Hodgson and Potter 2010; Hass-Klau et al. 2003; Topp 1999). In addition, being “light” refers not only to running vehicles with lower weight compared to railroad rolling stock, but rather to “a philosophy of operation and application particularly in relation to alignment characteristics” (Ware and Jones 1992). Light rail can combine different types of right-of-way, being compatible with vehicular, pedestrian and even mainline train traffic, and can generally neatly fit into different built environments (Topp 1999; Phraner 2002; Moraglio 2011). The ability of street level rail lines to reach the city centre without creating barriers, as fully segregated routes do, permits the integration into the existing townscape and urban life (Topp 1999; Topp 2005). That way, modern trams and light rail take a new position in the urban space and exhibit a different public image of tram transport than it had just a few decades ago. 3.2

The discursive framework of the tramway renaissance

With the gradual introduction of new tramways and light rail in Europe and North America, the merits of the concept became a topic in the discussions of planners, politicians and academic scholars concerned with transport and urban questions. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the proliferating concept started circulating nationally and internationally within a common “discursive framework” (Hård and Jamison 1998), in connection with notions of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, accessibility, sustainability and urban design80 (Lagendijk and Boertjes 2013; Schmucki 2010). In international academic articles and policy briefs, there have been broad discourses about the virtues of trams and light rail as solutions for transportation and mobility problems. Recent reviews81 of academic journal publications and national and European policy papers concerning light rail found several general framings of the debates about it. In 79

The UITP defines light rail as “a tracked, electrically driven local means of transport, which can be developed step by step from a modern tramway to a means of transport running in tunnels or above ground level” (ERRAC 2004, p.6). 80 In official discourses, the positive adjectives most frequently used to talk about the tram have included: efficient, comfortable, environmentally-friendly, modern, aesthetic, quiet, accessible, fast, safe etc. (Hassiak and Richer 2012). 81 See, in particular, Olesen (2014), Hassiak and Richer (2012), Moraglio (2011), and Lagendijk and Boertjes (2013). Stambouli (2007) looked at the discourses around the French tramway renaissance and his findings correspond to a large extent to the results of the international reviews presented by the above mentioned authors. In addition, Schmucki (2001) and Haefeli (2008) provide a historical account of the discourses around public transport, in general, and tramways, in particular, which surfaced in Germany after the Second World War. Many of the lines of thoughts with respect to tramways in the early phase of their renaissance persisted also in the later academic, professional and political debates.

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particular, they identified that the discourses around the implementation of tramways and light rail refer mainly to the contributions of these modes to the liveability and competitiveness of cities, their role in the struggle for space in urban areas, their transport and economic impacts as well as their functional advantages and general appeal. Olesen (2014) characterised these discourses as general and global since they could apply in various different contexts and found them indeed in the information materials about newly implemented light rail lines in Norway, France, Switzerland and Germany. The discussions around tramways and light rail have been strongly associated with the idea of sustainable mobility in cities and urban regions (Olesen 2014; Lagendijk and Boertjes 2013; Stambouli 2007; Bottoms 2003). The need to deal with increased travel demands, while the polluting emissions from the transport sector have been growing, brought up the question about the possibilities of sustainably enhancing the urban mobility (European Commission 2007), and modern tramways have assumed an important role in the related normative discussions. Many have seen this transport mode as a means to create improved conditions to travel around, whereby it is not only about moving faster, but better (Hassiak and Richer 2012). By providing reliable and accessible services to the public, a declared aim has been to improve the quality of public transport and that way encourage a modal shift, in particular to reduce the use of the car (Mackett and Edwards 199882). In ‘the struggle for space’ (Olesen 2014) in cities, trams and light rail have been believed to be able to structure the future urban development, to reduce the need and possibilities for individual motor traffic, and thus to limit the road congestion83 and the noise, air pollution and energy consumption in transport. The reassignment of street space to the electric tram has been presented as a condition to achieve these goals. In essence, in the frame of the overall strive for ‘sustainability’ (Stambouli 2007; Grillet-Aubert 2006), light rail and trams are especially valued for their environmental friendliness and their alleged potential to increase the quality of life in urban areas. A strong discourse for the revival and implementation of trams and light rail has been the wish not only for efficient transport connectivity but also for creating an 82

This aim was identified as central by Mackett and Edwards (1998), who analysed the goals for 46 planed systems worldwide, 25 of which were implemented. Their finding was later confirmed also by the studies of Mackett and Babalik-Suttcliffe (2003) and Lane (2008). 83 The idea has been that a new, fast and comfortable service will attract a number of drivers from their cars. This would imply less traffic on the road allowing for a freer flow and less congestion. However, in practice, the released road space is usually filled very soon by other cars (Edwards and Mackett 1996).

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attractive image of the venues as modern and forward-looking (Chen 2014; Hattori 2004; Topp 1999). As a traditional provider of local mobility, the urban rail modes were expected to be able to enhance a city’s economic basis, quality of life and image (PTEG 2009; Mackett and Edwards 1998) and have been often presented as a symbol of development, progress, and identity84 (Niedzielski and Malecki 2012). With the establishment of new lines or the upgrade of existing ones, the townscape was often transformed and improved by pedestrianizing corridor sections and adjacent areas, the installation of furniture in the public space or landscaping. These rearrangements could contribute to a better quality of life, keep places vibrant or address decline, generally changing the perceptions of urban areas (PTEG 2009; Winston and Maheshri 2007). At the same time, the visual transformations are supposed to promote the cities’ image and to enhance civic pride (Chen 2014). The tram and light rail lines provide thus a sense of urban modernity and permanence of place, such that they have been regarded as an important component in the city competition in the twenty-first century (Gospodini 2005; Hass-Klau et al. 2003, 2004; Mackett and Edwards 1998; Newman and Kenworthy 1991). By investing in the latest transport technologies, a city demonstrates its ability to innovate (Hassiak and Richer 2012; Stambouli 2007). Three decades after the start of the tramway renaissance, trams and light rail were therefore presented on the 10th UITP light rail conference as indispensable and “good for people, good for cities” (Moraglio 2011). Trams and light rail have been presented and discussed also as a strategic tool to support urban development and shape land use patterns 85, drawing largely from the experiences in the 19th and early 20th century, when tramways played a major role in shaping urban form86. Bearing in mind that the competition against the 84

In France, the tram has been even presented as a new paradigm of urbanity. See Chapter 5.1.3 and Chapter 5.1.4. 85 The relationship between urban form and (public) transportation systems has been the subject of extensive studies using different theoretical and methodological approaches (Giuliano 2004; Knight and Trygg 1977; Levinson 2008; Muller 2004). The classical geographical model of urban development identifies it as a function of the evolution in transportation technology (Rodrigue et al. 2009). By affecting accessibility and location decisions, the transport system influences both residential and employment density as well as the characteristics and arrangements of land use, and so effectively changes the urban form and development (Ben-Akiva and Bowman 1998; Perez et al. 2003). At the same time land use patterns have a strong impact on the efficiency and usage of transport networks (Ewing and Cervero 2001), which results in a complex interaction between transportation and urban structure. Levinson (2008) posits a positive feedback relationship between transportation networks and urban development – a larger and denser network leads to a higher development level; and the greater the development level is, the more the network will grow. 86 In a historical perspective, the urban range and residential distribution changed substantially at the end of the nineteenth century, when tram and rail service replaced non-motorised travel modes.

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motorcar would nowadays significantly limit the influence of any public transport scheme, trams and light rail have been still considered as important for assuring the success of urban development efforts. In this frame, the visibility and permanence of the physical infrastructure of the urban rail modes have been especially valued. The immobility of the material layout has been argued to signal stability and persistence of the public transport system and therefore to hold the potential to create long-term links between the system and its environment. In particular, the rail tracks can serve as major axes for structuring the adjacent urban areas, as the fixity of the alignments imply long-lasting reliable planning conditions for the location and investment decisions of both the wide public and the private sector (Hass-Klau et al. 2004). Therefore, the construction of tram and light rail lines is seen as an instrument to attract investments in the served corridors from business companies and households and by offering an improved accessibility to boost the land and property values 87 (PTEG 2009; Laisney 2006; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). With their potential to support economic regeneration and growth, tangible investments in trams and light rail can symbolise sophisticated regeneration programmes (Knowles and Ferbrache 2016; Chen 2014). In fact, the revitalisation of declining city parts and the strengthening of the economic attractiveness of the inner city have been common stated goals in the tramway renaissance (Cohen-Blankshtain and Feitelson 2010; Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Mackett and Edwards 1998; Cervero 1984). In addition to the asserted effects on urban development, some wider economic impacts of new tram lines were also used as favourable arguments, in

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The rapid transport enabled households, and later firms, to settle down further from the city centre, since lengthier daily trips were possible. At the same time, by moving large numbers of commuters to the metropolitan core, the public transport infrastructure promoted higher city densities, and rail stations got a central place in the urban fabric. Therefore, trams and light rail have the potential to significantly contributing to the centralisation of economic activities due to their high passenger transport capacity, which allows for serving effectively dense centres with a large demand for trips. (Israel and Cohen-Blankshtain 2010; Levinson 2008) However, in contrast to the setting in the nineteenth century, contemporary public transport services are embedded in multi-modal transportation systems offering a high degree of individual mobility that marginalises the impact of urban rail investments (Giuliano 1995). Furthermore, the organically grown landscape of many metropolises already exists, and additionally, limits the effects of transportation improvements on the urban development (Israel and Cohen-Blankshtain 2010; Rietveld 1994; Vickerman et al. 1999; Cervero 1998). As a consequence of the accessibility improvements enanbled by rail-based networks, it can be expected that a premium is paid for properties located close to new or better connected stations. Enterprises located near to tram stops benefit from being more accessible to customers and having greater access to labour markets to support growth and expansion (PTEG 2009), and would therefore pay a higher rent for such a location. A private household would also have lower overall mobility costs, so that it would also be willing to pay a higher price for an easily accessible location (Rietveld 1994).

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particular with respect to the stimulation of the labour market 88 by creating jobs around the building of the infrastructure and business activities as a result of the improved accessibility89 (Knowles and Ferbrache 2016; Chen 2014; Hassiak and Richer 2012). 3.2.1

Empirical evidence of light rail effects – research findings

Empirically, the rigorous demonstration of the urban development and economic benefits following a tram implementation has been difficult. Various studies and scientific research have looked for the economic impacts of tramway and light rail investments in different international contexts (Gospodini 2005; Handy 2005; Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Buck Consultants 2001). In particular, the impacts of the public transport infrastructure on land value changes have been the subject of a vast number of analyses (e.g. Brandt and Maennig 2012; Pagliara and Papa 2011; Baum‐Snow and Kahn 2000; Bowes and Ihlanfeldt 2001; Cervero and Duncan 2002; Gibbons and Machin 2005). Generally, property prices in the proximity of stations tend to be higher, but the results are quite variable. Furthermore, scientific findings do not support the theoretical assumption that better accessibility alone leads to significant relocations of residents and jobs and therefore can effectively reshape metropolises (Pagliara and Papa 2011; Bollinger and Ihlanfeldt 1997; Cervero and Landis 1997). Berion et al. (2007) also underline the absence of any automatic effects of transportation investments on land use patterns and stress the difficulties to discern such effects given a high complexity in the land use-transportation nexus. Land use policies, general development trends and physical limitations of the existing urban fabric, all play a role in the urban development and make it difficult to isolate the effects of the tramways and light rail. However, the difficulty to measure them does not negate their existence. Moreover, the effects might also need a longer period of time to appear than initially assumed. Therefore, despite a mixed picture of empirical evidence presented in various studies, providing that there is a supportive policy package, urban rail systems have the potential to guide and facilitate urban development (Chen 2014). In this context, however, Mackett and Edwards (1998) made the important observation that urban or economic development is 88

According to Gibbons and Machin (2005), the impacts on the labour market are potentially large – reduced frictions, an improved job-worker matching and higher employee productivity due to lower commuting efforts may contribute to economic growth. 89 Unlike the effects on land use and urban development which tend to be associated with changes in the built environment and can be identified locally, wider economic development impacts are usually measured by aggregated figures and are difficult to definitely attribute to the transport investment. Nonetheless, there are ex-post studies on the number of job creations in both construction-related and non-construction employment brought about by investment in tramways and light rail, and in most cases, they found rather modest results. (Chen 2014)

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not produced or generated, it is simply relocated. Consequently, building tramway and light rail systems can be seen as a prioritisation of certain areas over others, as through its impact on accessibility, a rail system might focus activities in particular corridors and around stations (Handy 2005). This in turn might entail uneven development and spatial inequality (Gospodini 2005; HassKlau et al. 2004). In light of the investment volumes necessary for the realisation of rail projects, Mackett and Edwards (1998) suggest that if the objective is to promote development in a particular area, more direct methods of stimulating growth can be more economical. The research findings suggest apparently that public transport projects, and particularly urban rail, can contribute to urban development and regeneration, but the extent to which the intended impacts can be achieved depend on the existing pre-conditions and especially on supportive policies and measures. Reviewing the scientific literature, Chen (2014) highlighted the necessity of integrating land use and rail-based transport provision. In Europe, the idea of coordinating transport and spatial policies and planning approaches as a necessary condition on the way to sustainable urban development has been circulating among academic scholars and professionals (Gallez et al. 2013). Proximity-based urbanism, the urbanisation and the densification around public transport stations have been suggested as supportive urban planning approaches that encourage a modal shift in favour of public transport and so enhance its potential to provide a spur for wider development (Kaufmann et al. 2008; Cervero 2007; Cervero 1998; Apel and Pharoah 1995). Moreover, land-use policies and public transport supply can be successful only if they are combined with measures making car travel less attractive, particularly more expensive or slower (Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Wegener and Fürst 1999). Therefore, a comprehensive set of measures restricting the automobile use, notably parking restrictions, traffic calming and limiting car access in certain zones, in combination with the promotion of inter-modality, e.g. by the establishment of bike-and-ride or park-and-ride facilities, is essential. A lack of these policies will impact on the overall performance of trams or light rail, as previous research has shown (Mackett and Sutcliffe 2003; Babalik-Sutcliffe 2002; Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, 2002; Hass-Klau et al. 2003, 2004). Nonetheless, the studies have also suggested that the overall impacts of urban rail lines depend significantly also on the attractiveness of the latter. When there is a comprehensive integration of the public transport services, and the quality elements of these services, such as frequency and reliability, are competitive to the levels of individual traffic, a growing ridership is more likely to result, with larger parts of drivers converting to public transport (Lee and Senior 2013). In

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addition, marketing activities before, during and after the construction of new alignments are important for the image of the transport mode and hence for the maximisation of the positive effects on urban development and mobility (HassKlau et al. 2003). Research from the 1990s and 2000s showed that the ridership levels of various new tram and light rail lines had remained below the expectations and they could not contribute to a significant motor traffic reduction and improvement of air quality (Lee and Senior 2013; Henscher 2007; Babalik-Sutcliffe 2002; Mackett and Edwards 1998). It was also argued that ridership forecasts for light rail, in particular in Great Britain and the USA, were overoptimistically biased 90 (Richmond 200191; Edwards and Mackett 1996; Pickrell 1992). The failure of several new lines to achieve the desired outcomes in terms of passenger numbers, modal shift to public transport and stimulation of urban development gave reason to some authors to speak about “myths” with respect to the potential and advantages of the mode92. Reviewing the economic literature on light rail, Balaker and Kim (2006) found that there is a serious scepticism about rail’s ability to attain key transportation-related goals, like reducing congestion, and to bring about environmental improvement. Therefore, there have been tendencies to see other modes, primarily bus, as more functional and worthwhile (Balaker and Kim 2006; Edwards and Mackett 1996). 3.2.2

Competing modes – light rail vs. bus

In research and in planning practice, there has been a long debate on whether rail or bus is the right transport technology, and this debate has spanned from academic and policy papers to briefs and newspaper articles (Balaker and Kim 2006; Hensher 2007; Litman 2007; Mohan 2008; Wright 2005; Mackett and Edwards 1998; Hensher 1999; Hensher and Waters II 1994). Polemically discussed especially in the United States93, the choice of the right transport technology has been present also throughout the European tramway

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Flyvbjerg (2003) confirms the same for rail transport in general. Richmond (2001) suggests that most of the ridership gains experienced by urban rail have been the result of route downsizing in favour of the rail line and the conversion of bus routes into rail line feeders. Studies from the UK also indicate that the modal share gains of light rail were mostly at the expense of bus shares (Lee and Senior 2013). 92 See, in particular, the American scholars Rubin et al. (1999) and Richmond (1998). The French researcher Offner (1993) considered the general potential of transport investment to structure urban development as mythical. 93 Since the appearance of the first projects in the 1950s, bus rapid transit has been considered as an alternative to urban rail, being it metro or later light rail (CERTU 2009b). 91

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renaissance94. This question has largely reflected upon the same arguments. Urban rail has generally a greater carrying capacity 95, offers higher travel speeds96 on dedicated tracks and promises a more comfortable ride due to the electric traction as compared with ordinary buses. It is furthermore considered as quieter and environmentally superior as it doesn’t cause on-street pollution. Whereas these merits apply to all forms of urban rail, during the tramway renaissance, the focus of interest shifted from underground to on-ground lines. A main reason has been that street-level trams and light rail are generally cheaper and faster to implement than metro alignments 97 and entail lower operational costs98. Moreover, the flexibility of modern tramways and light rail to run on different rights-of-way allows for the construction of a denser network and thereby enhances the accessibility of the transport service 99. The higher degree of visibility of on-ground alignments and the often associated uplifts of trespassed places have been considered as additional advantages. In effect, many European cities, ranging from large metropolises to small towns of about 100,000 94

See, for example, CERTU (2009b), Mackett and Edwards (1998), Schmucki (2001, 2010), Fredrich (1987). 95 This implies also a higher productivity of the driver. In Western Europe, the salary of the driving staff makes up to two-thirds of the total operating costs including depreciation and interest (Topp 2005). 96 However, the speed and frequency of some modern bus systems with a high level of service can be identical to those of a tramway (CERTU 2009b). See below for more information on the parallel developments in the bus sector. 97 Topp (1999) claims that 1 km of underground metro is 10 to 15 times more expensive than the same length of on ground light rail. In contrast, according to ITA (2003), a cost ratio typically assumed for surface vs. underground systems had been 1:6. However, based on the information of 30 cities in 19 countries, ITA (2003) found very large variations in cost ratios according to the particular circumstances of each city and existing infrastructure. Furthermore, metro projects often exceed considerably the first cost estimates and scheduled completion times, particularly when underground construction is required. Therefore, such ratios are not very useful in practice (ITA 2003). 98 It is generally accepted that underground lines are more expensive to operate than street-level systems, as they require ventilation and lighting, a more expensive rolling stock, signal and control technology as well as additional staff for safety concerns. However, the increased operating costs go along with a greater reliability of the service. (ITA 2003) 99 A fully segregated, underground alignment could hypothetically have a ‘free choice of route’ – but in practice, this is frequently not the case. Instead, the metro lines tend to follow the same corridors, mostly roads, that street-level lines use, as this allows for more central locations of the stations as well as lower right-of-way costs and impacts on adjacent structures (ITA 2003). However, the station spacing in a metro network is usually about twice as large as that of tram networks in order to explore the potential of higher operational speeds and to save on construction costs (Vuchic 2005). In result, the walkable coverage area of a metro is smaller than that of streetlevel systems, and passengers might need to take feeder buses to have access to the underground network, which can yield longer overall travel times and makes public transport use more cumbersome. In contrast, a public transport network based on surface level trams and light rail can permit a minimum on transfers from feeder vehicles and entail short travel times (Topp 1999).

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inhabitants, have shown interest in surface level rail lines and have been involved in the tramway renaissance (Hassiak and Richer 2012; Bottoms 2003; Mackett and Sutcliffe 2003). The growing popularity of trams and light rail over the years even in middlesized and small cities, where buses have been generally considered a more costeffective solution100 (Deng and Nelson 2011; Hodgson et. al., 2013; CERTU 2009), has been partly explained by the “allure” (De Bruijn and Veeneman 2009) of rail-based transport solutions for decision-makers and the wider public. The choice of technology has been dependent thus not only on its functional characteristics, but also on its image (Mulley et. al. 2014; Hensher 2006; Wright 2005). In this connection, David Hensher pointed at the belief that “trains are sexy, and buses are boring” (Hensher 2007, p. 99). In line with this adage, a “rail bonus” (Axhausen et al. 2001; Megel 2001; Günter 1987) or a “psychological rail factor” (Scherer and Dziekan 2012; Scherer 2010) has been claimed to exist which both refer to a public preference of rail-borne transport and are consistent with statements that the image of a transport technology has an impact on passenger demand (Scherer and Dziekan 2012; Hass-Klau et al. 2003, 2004). In particular, the idea of a rail factor is that potential passengers consider rail-based public transport to be inherently superior to buses, even in cases where quantitative hard factors, like travel time and service quality, are equal (Scherer and Dziekan 2012). Therefore, it is used to express the higher attraction of trams and light rail entailing a higher ridership than bus services (Axhausen et al. 2001; Megel 2001; Ben-Akiva and Morikawa 2002; Vuchic 2005; Scherer 2010). This in turn promises a modal shift and positive indirect effects, as people that otherwise would not use public transport do ride trams and light rail (Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, 2002; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). Nevertheless, despite the widely spread assumption of the existence of a rail factor (Scherer and Dziekan 2012), its actual magnitude and ridership impacts have proven very difficult to demonstrate (Ben-Akiva & Morikawa 2002; Axhausen et al. 2001; Pickrell 1992). Moreover, Scherer (2010) underlines the importance of local conditions, as a rail factor is highly loaded with emotional and social attributions and the image of different public transport technologies vary between regions. Therefore, the preference for a certain mode should not be generalised to different contexts 100

In the transport community, the size of a city has been seen as an important criterion for the choice of a transport technology to serve it (Laisney and Grillet-Aubert 2006; Vuchic 2005; Carmona 2001). According to CERTU, the preference of tramways in middle sized agglomerations with less than 300,000 inhabitants is questionable in view of the ratio between costs and demand. However, it is to be noticed that in the early nineties, the minimum population justifying the implementation of a tram was defined to be much higher – notably around 500,000 inhabitants (Hassiak and Richer 2012).

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without considering the respective cultural backgrounds (Scherer and Dziekan 2012). Against the background of the asserted preference for light rail, efforts have been made in the domain of bus vehicle and system technology to make conventional buses emulate light rail. The permanence of the rail track and the modern identity have been frequently cited as reasons why light rail is perceived as more attractive than traditional buses (Hodgson and Potter 2010; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). In order to overcome the lacking image of being clean, environmentallyfriendly, fast and efficient, bus technology has improved considerably during the tramway renaissance. As Hodgson and Potter (2010) show, modern buses feature increased capacity and low floor configurations. Alternative fuels and hybrid engines were introduced in order to comply with higher environmental standards. The interior and exterior of the vehicles are being modified to provide a look and feel of tram. Furthermore, there have changes also with respect to the infrastructure, particularly the use of a dedicated or prioritised right-of-way. To match the permanence offered by the steel rails, bus systems incorporated reserved lanes, prioritised signalling at junctions and in some cases even automated guidance101. In view of these developments, it can be argued that contemporary bus services in Western Europe can provide equivalents to many of the attractive attributes of trams and light rail, while the associated costs are considerably lower. Therefore, Hodgson and Potter (2010) ask whether bus can be “the new tram”, and this question makes a parallel to the idea of a continuing “battle of the systems” (Hughes 1987). However, in particular conditions, also new systems coherently integrating the potential competitors – modern tramways and high-level bus services – can emerge as the outcome of contingent processes. 3.2.3

Decision-making processes for light rail systems and implementation frameworks

“The battle of the systems” during the tramway renaissance had a considerable influence on the decision making processes throughout Europe. Because of the significant investments required to cover capital and recurring costs of large transport schemes and the associated urban and environmental impacts, the technology choice has nearly always been a political issue (e.g. MESDE 2012; Kim and Balaker 2006; ITA 2003; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). During the last two decades, there was often a political preference for trams and light rail due to their perceived superiority over buses in terms of image, regularity and comfort (De Bruijn and Veeneman 2009). The asserted merits of the rail technology,

101

See for an example the case of Rouen described in Chapter 5.3.3.

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discussed above, facilitated the formation of political support and coalitions 102 needed for the launch and implementation of large infrastructure projects. With the increasing momentum of the tramway rebirth, light-rail and trams achieved an international status among decision-makers to be the proven technology for public transport systems without that there was a firm evidence about its superiority over alternatives (Hass-Klau et al. 2003; Hass-Klau and Crampton 2002, 1998; Black 1993). In this connection, the decision-making in favour of tramways and light rail has been characterised as biased and irrational, frequently ignoring potentially more cost-efficient bus-based system solutions 103 (De Bruijn and Veeneman 2009; Hass-Klau et al. 2003; Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998; Edwards and Mackett 1996). A motivation for the construction of rail alignments was often derived not only from considerations about transport and urban development but also from career aspirations of local decision-makers and politicians (Kim and Balaker 2006; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). Normative values backed by the will of the public and the municipality officials to bear the ensuing costs are important factors, too (Lane 2008; Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998; Black 1993; Johnston et al. 1988). Therefore, the transport technology choices have not been based merely on formal transport-related criteria traditionally included in cost–benefit analysis. Formally, the conventional passenger transportation planning approach addresses the question of how fluxes of people should be organised and managed in a costeffective way, usually by reducing physical barriers. From such a perspective, a (public) transport system comprises various origin and destination points with existing travel demand between them, which has to be satisfied by a conceived supply structure. For the effectiveness evaluation of alternative forms of such a system, traditionally, standard cost-benefit analysis models are applied, which largely compare the monetary value of the total travel time, direct user costs and accident costs. The option bringing about the highest reductions in the magnitude of the assessment criteria against the background of a status quo is regarded as the optimal one (Gibbons and Machin 2005). The cost-benefit analysis has been used as a common tool for economic appraisal of transport investments and decision-making support. Mackie and Worsley (2013) review the recent development of the related practices in seven countries, 102 103

See for an example Knudson (2005). The decision-making processes in many European countries were also criticized to be slow and cumbersome (Crossrail Consortium 2001). De Bruijn and Veeneman (2009) explain the slow process of decision-making for light rail by the involvement of many parties with different perspectives, uncertainties due to changing legal requirements, technical and operational challenges, and funding difficulties.

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among which four in Western Europe 104. They noticed differences in some values and the content in the tool versions, notably between unitary and federal countries, but stress that “the similarities far outweigh the differences. No radical alternative frameworks are in use by these seven countries” (Mackie and Worsley 2013, p.3). However, the role that cost-benefit analysis and its results play in decision-making varies between countries. Worsley (2014) showed at the contrasting examples of the United Kingdom and France that more autonomous local authorities disposing over decentralised financing power are less constrained by the framework of the formal economic analysis 105. The traditional cost-benefit analysis does not adequately take into account the wider unquantifiable urban and economic effects that new transport infrastructure could contribute to (Chen 2014), that’s why the decisions on building trams or light rail are to be seen in the broader institutional context as well as against the background of the local socio-economic landscape and current processes. The circumstances enabling the realisation of a tram system include various resources like the funding capacities of public and private bodies, the planning and organisational powers of a multilevel governance structure, as well as the support and collaboration of local stakeholders. The institutional settings require intensive coordination between different departments 106 and agents and between different levels of government (Lagendijk and Boertjes 2013), whereby the role of the state in dedicating funds is often crucial. Therefore, the choice of whether and how to implement tramway and light rail systems can be seen as a multiactor decision-making process involving a wide range of experts and stakeholders that might have differing perspectives and rationales on the issue (De Bruijn and Veeneman 2009). The rationale for favouring rail transport might go beyond the formal rationality of socio-economic analysis. At the same time, the decision-making process is significant for the actual content and shape of any taken decision and its subsequent realisation (De Bruijn and Veeneman 2009; Kaufmann et al. 2008). This requires a skilful deployment of ‘distributed agency’ by the actors with capacity to mobilise and organise collective action, mostly the 104

The countries are England, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, USA, Australia, and New Zealand. 105 In the UK, funding of local schemes is controlled by the central government, and the decision making on public transport investments has been dominated by economic figures stemming from the use of cost-benefit analysis. In contrast, in France, where local bodies have a greater autonomy and own funding resources, this tool plays only a minor role in the decisions on building tramways. The differences in decision-making between the two countries could partly explain their distinct paths of the tramway renaissance. See for more details on the institutional background of the tramway renaissance in France and England Chapter 5.1 and Chapter 6.1, respectively. 106 For example, spatial planning, transport, finance, etc.

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political and project leaders (Lagendijk and Boerjes 2013). Consistent local political leadership is essential to secure the necessary financial commitments and to maintain the momentum for effectuating the plans for a new rail-based transport system (Phraner 2002). A good and persistent marketing campaign by politicians and the public transport operator is needed for the successful implementation, because the public support depends often on relatively small events or items, which shape the collective beliefs, opinions and attitudes (Lagendijk and Boerjes 2013; Hass-Klau et al. 2003). 3.3

Summary

In conclusion, the overview of the general lines of development of the tramway transport in Western Europe has highlighted some features which can be seen as common for various countries despite the existence of differing paths in the tramway renaissance. This is true also for the presented discourses, which have been shaped internationally and are thus, to a large extent, global in nature and could be relevant in a variety of cases. These discourses have disclosed the large body of generated knowledge about tramway and light rail systems concerning especially their functionality and role in the wider urban context as well as measures and strategies to make them work effectively. It became obvious that the expectations for tram and light rail projects have been particularly numerous and ambitious, but they haven’t been fulfilled by all the implemented schemes in the last decades. The reason for that is arguably not so much related to a gap in normative knowledge, but rather to the ways in which the available knowledge, associated ideas and programs have been translated into practice and given a concrete dimension. The power of the presented discourses to influence and structure policy agendas, resource allocation or governance practices has significantly depended on the particular socio-technical arrangement of the context in which they have been enacted. Therefore, the dynamic interrelations of the discourses with the institutional setting and the material backdrop of a locale need to be explored in order to understand the ensuing rationality and outcomes of system building. As indicated in Chapter 1, the logic and practice of planning and materialising tramway and light rail systems differ between Germany, France and England despite the discursive commonalities and the general trends of development outlined above. To explain this constellation requires addressing the socio-technical complexity and multi-layered appropriation processes in the particular contexts of system development. Within the conceptional framework developed in Chapter 2.2, the following empirical case studies and the final cross-case analysis will elaborate, compare and contrast in a tri-national perspective how the global discourses and trends became manifest in countries and cities and were faced by them.

4

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

This chapter is dedicated to the tramway renaissance in Germany. First, the evolution of the institutional settings and practices of tramway transport at the national level is presented (Chapter 4.1). Subsequently, the cases of the Karlsruhe tramway system (Chapter 4.2) and the Hannover light rail system (Chapter 4.3) are explored. 4.1 4.1.1

The tramway renaissance in Germany Tramway transport in the first half of the twentieth century

Tramways were the dominating urban transport mode in Germany until the middle of the twentieth century. After the extensive electrification of the tramway lines in the early 1900s, they increasingly provided services for the wide public and had significant ridership growths especially after the First World War (Schmucki 2010). The overall network length and the rolling stock size reached a peak in 1928 (Frenz 1987). At that time, Germany, together with the USA, Italy and Switzerland, was one the few countries in the world which still promoted the development of tramway transport by the deployment of modern streetcars, and some German cities invested also in the upgrade of the infrastructure by the establishment of segregated track alignments with catenary and high-standard stations (Frenz 1987). However, the world economic crisis of the early 1930s slowed down the modernisation and expansion of the networks, and with the political change in 1933, the transport policy priorities shifted in favour of the automobile and the road industry implying the replacement of tramways by buses or trolleybuses107. The actual abandonment of tram lines was, however, limited – besides the shrinkage of the networks in some big cities, the service was closed completely just in ten small towns. Despite the omission of necessary investments in infrastructure and rolling stock, the tram retained a share of about 90% of the total public transport ridership even in the late 1930s (Frenz 1987). In the following years of war, the service continued almost without cease, but by the end of World War II, the bomb damage, the long-lasting excessive stress and the neglected maintenance of facilities and vehicle fleets entailed a significant backlog. In the ruined cities of Germany, the tramways 107

Starting in 1936, trolleybus lines were installed in about 30 Western German cities. The service in some of them could be launched first after 1945, however. (Frenz 1987)

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_4

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were the only means of transport, however, as the retrofitting of their rail tracks was much cheaper and faster to achieve than the reconstruction of roads, many of which had been destroyed (Schmucki 2010). Therefore, in the aftermath of the Second World War, only four small networks were scrapped108, and by 1950 almost all other lines were back in service, even though at a reduced speed and with an over-aged fleet at the technical standard of the 1920s (Frenz 1987). In the critical period of reconstruction between 1948 and 1955, politicians and planners in the Federal Republic of Germany regarded the devastated cities as an opportunity to cardinally reorganise them whereby the idea of the spacious and internally structured city (die gegliederte und aufgelockerte Stadt, in German) 109 dominated the urban planning goals. The relevant concepts dated back to the 1920s and were an alternative to the historically grown old towns and the block structure of the early twentieth century, both of which were considered to be not sufficiently hygienic and not suited for the modern traffic requirements. Therefore, the main goal was to open up the cities for more and broader roads which had to connect the different areas accommodating the separated functions of housing, working and recreation110 (Haefeli 2008; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). The urban engineering experts were increasingly concentrating on the individual transport, but public transport was still important in their discourse (Schmucki 2010). In the latter, the tramway, besides the bus and the underground rail, was one of the technological options which had to allow for speedy services and a high transport capacity (Schmucki 2010). However, after the long phase of under-investment and the war damage, the German tramway networks and rolling stock needed a major overhaul and an adjustment to the changing spatial structures (Schott and Klein 1998). In the early 1950s, the tramway became the chosen public transport technology option, although transport experts had suggested underground lines as a solution for the emerging transport problems at the time. Due to financial restrictions, the most economic and efficient technology was to be implemented and this was the well-proven tram. Still, the German industry needed to catch up with the international development of high-capacity tramcars, where the American PCC 108

The concession regulations governing public transport from 1934 onwards also contributed to the retaining of tram services, because they prohibited the competition between operators, and herewith the competition between trams and other public transport modes on a given route. (Groneck 2007) 109 See Göderitz et al. (1957). 110 Nonetheless, in order to preserve the historical heritage and monuments, the destroyed old towns were reconstructed according to the historical plans without additional traffic areas. Hence, in the city centre streets were mostly widened and junctions improved, whereby the construction of completely new motorways was rather the exception (Haefeli 2008; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985).

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model was considered state-of-the-art providing the capacity, speed and efficiency which experts considered as characteristic for superior public transport (Schmucki 2010). The manufacturer DUEWAG, based in Düsseldorf, used the PCC as a source of inspiration for the design of large-body and articulated vehicles, which by 1956 went into serial production and were gradually integrated into the rolling stock of Western Germany (Frenz 1987). In the big cities around the country – Hamburg, Munich, Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf and Hannover – new tramcars appeared, and most of the directors of the major public transport companies had unofficially started competing for the first highcapacity vehicles, which promised admiration and the promotion of a modern and innovative image (Schmucki 2001, 2010). For Schmucki (2010), the choice of the high-capacity tram technology followed not only a functional and economic rationale, but was also symbolically efficient expressing the German affiliation with the modern western world, especially the United States. The technological and economic leadership of the USA attracted the attention of experts and politicians in the Federal Republic of Germany, and the modernised tramway offered one possibility for imitating that leadership. Furthermore, preferring the tramway could be seen also as an anti-Nazi statement, as the Nazi regime clearly promoted automobiles and buses at the expense of tramways (Schmucki 2010). In addition to the upgrade of the rolling stock, there was also a growth in the length of various tram networks, as lines were extended to new districts at the urban fringes, many of which were actually redevelopments of existing areas destroyed during the war (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). As a result, tramways continued offering the main share of public transport in West Germany in the 1950s, but their performance stagnated while bus use was increasing rapidly (Schmucki 2010). The overall pace of tramway modernisation could not compete with the renewal of omnibus fleets, which began to match the tram’s capacity as people mover. Additionally, the reconstruction and expansion of urban roads was clearly prioritised to that of tram tracks, so that in the early 1960s, tram transport began to decline (Frenz 1987). The tram systems suffered from the subordination of the public transport policy to other local policy goals, most notably the fast provision of housing space including the establishment of new districts from scratch as well as the significant road network expansion (Friedrich 1987). In the 1950s, local authorities in West Germany had to provide large areas of land for residential purposes in order to respond to the housing shortage which had resulted from the migration of 12 million refuges after the end of World War II (Schmucki 2010). They did this by planning and building new districts away from the existing main public transport axes, where land prices were lower. In general, the decade witnessed an orientation of the planning discourses on the American way of life

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and a certain admiration for the associated suburban structures and its main transportation mode – the motorcar (Haefeli 2008). In this context, the government decided to subsidise the purchase of private automobiles and to promote their use by offering tax savings for home-to-work trips of more than 6 kilometres (Schmucki 2010; Kopper 1998). This led to increasingly decentralised housing and a growth of the suburban population, which still needed to commute on a daily basis to the city centre, where the main civic activities and job places were concentrated. In the course of functional separation in the urban areas during the next decades, tertiary business districts emerged in the urban centres at the expense of residential floor space entailing considerable traffic flows between the work places and the new lower-density housing areas (Groneck 2007; Schott and Klein 1998). At the same time, the motorisation developed at a pace which outreached all expectations and forecasts111. A growing congestion along the main streets and increasing frictions between trams and the motor vehicles followed, which reduced the operational speeds and performance of public transport. The proponents of the latter had to accept the dominance of the private car, however, as it became a symbol of the so called German “economic miracle” of the 1950s and early 1960s (Haefeli 2008). Transport planers increasingly focused on the concerns of the motor traffic which was supposed to have a free flow (Schmucki 2001). A book published in 1959 provided with its title “The Automobile Friendly City” (Die autogerechte Stadt) the programmatic slogan of the period (Schmucki 2010). The different transport modes had to be consistently segregated to make room for motor vehicles on the roads, while urban public transport, especially in the form of street-level trams, was not meant to play an important role anymore112. Stuck in the congestion of mixed traffic, public transport was losing passengers and hence revenues113. Under these circumstances, the public transport operators opted for cost savings by reducing service frequencies and even shortening or completely abandoning tram lines. In effect, the ridership decreased further, leaving the shrinking tramway systems with annually growing deficits (Schmucki 2010; Friedrich 1987). For many operating companies, it was hence more economical to switch to cheaper bus services (Frenz 1987; Schott and Klein 1998). The latter featured lower fixed

111

The number of cars had risen from ca. 1.7 million in 1953 to 6.6 million in 1963. By 1982, this figure reached 24 million and the city centres of large cities were suffering from severe traffic congestion. (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985) 112 See for more details Reichow (1959). 113 In 1965, public transport reached a low mark in terms of efficiency and ridership (Hall and HassKlau 1985, p.23).

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costs and were more flexible and compatible with the car traffic, so that they presented a preferable system alternative to the tramway. 4.1.2

Tramway abandonments

Between 1950 and 1969, altogether fifty tramway networks in small and middlesized towns including some interurban lines with a low traffic volume were scraped114 (Figure 10). In many of the cases, the service concessions, which had been granted usually for 50 years at the beginning of the century, were simply not renewed (Frenz 1987; Schott and Klein 1998). Mostly, the tramway routes were converted to likewise electrically powered trolleybus services, which represented a modernisation towards the outdated tramcar rolling stocks and the line networks with a large share of single-track sections which were prone to delays. Furthermore, no network adjustments to the spatial reorganisation of cities had occurred and no connections to new urban and suburban zones had been established. With the replacement by trolleybus and bus services, these gaps could be closed (Frenz 1987).

114

Thirty out of the fifty abandoned networks were serving towns with less than 100,000 inhabitants. Only four cities with more than 200,000 residents gave up their tramways in this period, notably Wiesbaden, Münster, Lübeck and Mönchengladbach.

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Figure 10: West German cities with tramway systems scrapped between 1950 and 1969 Source: own illustration based on Frenz (1987); map layer by ESRI ArcGIS Pro

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In the larger cities, where a gradual upgrade of the tramways was taking place, the necessity of separating them from the other transport modes was brought out. To alleviate the growing congestion problems, transport planners amplified the concept of traffic segregation (Schmucki 2010). In the period of an automobileoriented planning paradigm, even the supporters of rail-bound public transport suggested that tram networks had to be displaced underground in order not to interfere with the car traffic115. Consequently, in the general transport plans of the 1960s, which were drawn for the majority of the bigger cities in West Germany, only buses were foreseen to run in town centre streets, whereas the trams had to use underpasses in the central areas and above-ground tracks in the other urban parts (Haefeli 2008). In light of the common trend to abolish tramways and their disappearance from North America and European metropolises like Paris and London, street-level alignments became unpopular. The traditional tram was considered by both planners and politicians as an outdated obstacle for the free traffic flow. The Association of German Public Transport Operators VÖV (Verband öffentlicher Verkehrsbetriebe)116 faced a growing pressure from communal politicians to abandon tramcars from the urban street space and that’s why it founded already in 1956 a working group on underground tramway systems 117 (Frenz 1987). Until the mid-1950s, transport experts considered underground systems to be efficient for cities with at least 700,000 inhabitants, but then the threshold was adjusted downwards to 200,000 people (Schmucki 2001, 2010). Numerous articles in engineering journals from that period demonstrated a pronounced preference of transport engineers for underground alignments, in the form of tramways or classical metro. The estimated capacity for the levelsegregated tramway lines ranged from 12,000 to 40,000 passengers, and for classical metros with larger dimensions of rolling stock and infrastructure – from 16,000 to 40,000 passengers per hour and direction (Schmucki 2010). Hence, in terms of capacity the underground tramway was not inferior to the heavy metro. In fact, the VÖV issued planning criteria for underground systems in 1962, and according to them, it was found that apart from Berlin and Hamburg, no other city would have a ridership justifying the construction of a metro instead of an

115

See e.g. Lehner (1959). In 1990, the name of the association was changed to VDV (Verband Deutscher Verkehrsunternehmen), which included also the operators from the former German Democratic Republic. 117 The concept of underground tramways was not new and had been known since the beginning of the 20th century. The Kingsway Tramway Subway in London opened already in1906, and projects for “tramways souterrains” in Marseille circulated throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

116

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underground tramway118 (Frenz 1987). Nevertheless, at that time all West German cities with more than 300,000 inhabitants planned underground alignments and several of them included in their plans the possibility for the further development of their tram networks to (fully segregated) metros 119 (Haefeli 2008; Hollatz and Tamms 1965). In the eyes of transport planners and local politicians only a “real” metro system could give a metropolitan character to a city and bore, hence, an important symbolic dimension (Schott and Klein 1998). A metro had been associated for a long time with the big metropolises in the world and was thus considered as the best public transport technology which would not only add value to the urban transport system, but also enhance the city and its image. With the German ‘economic miracle’, an underground rail system became a procurable option also for smaller city councils, and local politicians saw in the aesthetics of the technology a tool for enhancing the importance of their cities, as it promised modernity and international prestige (Schmucki 2010). 4.1.3 4.1.3.1

The institutional framework of the tramway renaissance in Germany Early governmental engagement

Besides the influential local actors such as the directors of public transport companies and the mayors of various cities, who shared a clear preference for underground lines, the central government played an important role for the choice of urban public transport technology, too. With the establishment of a funding mechanism for infrastructure investments in the mid-1960s, the government actively supported the idea of underground systems and encouraged the existing trend (Schmucki 2010). According to the federal laws, local authorities were responsible for financing the capital and running costs for all public transport modes and the urban roads, but the adverse effects of mass motoring in the urban centres drew the national government’s attention to the traffic impacts and accessibility problems which numerous cities and agglomerations were confronted with. In 1961, the federal ministry of transport responded to the increasingly evident urban traffic problems by commissioning an expert group to advise local authorities on possibilities to improve the transport situation in their 118

119

In particular, in no other city, more than 20,000 passengers per hour were expected on the main line (see Frenz 1987). By 1962, the cities of Munich and Nuremberg had decided to build metro systems. Eleven other cities with a population between 320,000 and 1,000,000 people planned underground networks which could subsequently become a (full) metro. (The eleven cities were Köln, Essen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Stuttgart, Hannover, Bremen, Duisburg and Bielefeld). Karlsruhe joined this group a year later. In the 14 cities, initially tunnels of 140 km were planned in total. (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987; Hollatz and Tamms 1965)

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communities. Their report “The Traffic Problems of Local Authorities in the Federal Republic of Germany” (Die kommunalen Verkehrsprobleme in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland120) was published in 1965 and presented a direct and indirect outcome of the similar British study led by Colin Buchanan – “Traffic in Towns” from 1963 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). The influential report was in favour of rail-based public transport. It identified the need for some adjustment to the urban motorway network, but it also required the promotion of public transport, in addition to better traffic regulations and traffic management. In particular, the expert commission suggested, similarly to the Buchanan report, a combination of infrastructure enhancements and steps towards demand management, like higher parking fees and short-term parking lots, which had to assure the competitiveness of public transport. In order to prevent the decline of city centres, commuters had to give up their cars in favour of public transport. For that purpose, the speed, regularity and reliability of the public transport service needed to be assured by increasing the technical and economic efficiency of operations. In particular, this meant that trams had to have their own right-ofway, separated from pedestrians and the car traffic which they often conflicted with. The physical separation of the rail tracks, vertically or laterally, was proposed as an urgent measure for alleviating the traffic problems in cities. As the study was led by Josef-Walther Hollatz and Friedrich Tamms, two experts who were already advising on traffic planning and underground schemes in different cities around the country, their suggestion to put the rail lines underground was not surprising (Schmucki 2010). In the following, the report recommendations served as a guideline to the federal and state governments (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985), whereas some of its ideas and concepts were relevant for the later renaissance of tramways. 4.1.3.2

The development of a funding mechanism

The report required a reaction from the federal and state governments and after they had accepted the proposals, these had to be backed up financially and were included into a corresponding decree – the Tax Amendment Act of 1966. Accordingly, the federal ministry of transport engaged actively with the support of investments in communal transport infrastructure by providing subsidies for the networks’ expansion (Schmucki 2010; Haefeli 2010; Kopper 1998). The experts had proposed the creation of a special fund by a dedicated levy as a part of the national fuel excise tax, and from 1967 onwards, three pfennig per litre from that tax revenue were granted for local transport projects. In 1972, this subsidy was doubled (Linder et al. 1975). Initially, 60 per cent of the funds were assigned to road construction and 40 per cent to investments in public transport 120

See Hollatz and Tamms (1965).

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facilities (Haefeli 2008). Later this ratio was changed to 50:50, then 45:55, and in 1984 it was again 50:50 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). In the early 1990s, the distribution key was abandoned, which allowed the states to freely allocate their part of the subsidy to road or public transport projects (Haefeli 2008). The infrastructure investments were to be funded on a matching grant basis with the federal government providing for more than half of the costs eligible for subsidies, additional up to 35% coming from the particular states and the remaining 10-20% raised by the local authorities concerned 121. A prerequisite for projects to receive financial support was that they featured minimum implementation costs of DM 200,000. The decree mentioned above was transformed into a law on the financing of communal transport, called GVFG (Gemeindeverkehrsfinanzierungsgesetz), which became effective in 1971 and provided a formal legal basis to the fuel excise tax. The law confirmed the mixed funding pattern between the federal government122, the states and the communities, whereas for large-scale projects the states could assume even the full complementary funding (Kopper 1998; Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). Not surprisingly, this arrangement triggered widespread and intensive planning activities, especially in urban agglomerations. Several cities developed plans to reconstruct existing and previously abandoned tram lines as underground light rail or even metro links (Schmucki 2010). The availability of generous federal and state subsidies encouraged a shift away from the concept of underground tramways in favour of fully fledged systems 123 (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). Cities could hence start building their metro alignments with moderate own investments and facing the additional tax income from the spurred economic activity, they got an incentive to launch big expensive networks. Indeed, there was a tendency to concentrate the flow of GVFG subsidies on large-scale investments in underground rail development in the big cities. Only there and in the larger agglomerations, the local authorities possessed the possibilities to provide matching finances and that way draw on the GVFG-funds from the federation and the complementary sums from the 121

The matching ratios have changed over time, but in general the proportions have varied around 50:35:15 per cent for the federal, state and communal level, respectively (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). 122 The Federal Government has been empowered to pay for suburban rail (S-Bahn), metro lines, underground and segregated tram lines, construction of bus garages as well as park-and-ride facilities (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). 123 Not only fiscal considerations played a role for the preference of subway systems. In the 1960s, there was a shortage of qualified staff and the perspective of fully automated trains was appealing. The option of automated operations furthermore promised large performance gains, especially by increasing the vehicle speeds, and was only possible on segregated (tunnel) tracks. Besides that, the electricity supply from nuclear power promised to be cheap and easily available.

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states (Kopper 1998). Outside the agglomerations, the local operating companies applied for and generally received grants to establish new bus workshops and office buildings (Schmucki 2010). While the subsidies could be used initially merely for investments in fixed infrastructure and facilities124, the GVFG was later revised to include also the eligibility of investments in new buses from 1987 onwards, as well as the purchase of rail vehicles from 1992 on 125 (VDV 2014a, pp. 888ff). With the original decree and the following GVFG law, the German state assumed for the first time after World War I the financial responsibility for the upgrade and expansion of urban rail systems 126 (Kopper 1998). Nevertheless, despite the emergence of parallel funding of individual and public transport, the priorities of the national transport policy in favour of the automobile transport did not really change such that the 1970s did not witness restrictive measures on car traffic127 (Haefeli 2008). In this frame, subsidies for public transport were provided under the condition that the financed projects would help to clear trunk roads and provide more space for automobiles (Schmucki 2010). Therefore underground links could obviously obtain support much more easily than surface lines. The GVFG law defined in §2.2 also tramways as eligible for subsidies, as long as they were in (densely populated) urban areas and operated on a segregated track. However, the limitations of the applicability to “densely populated areas” and “segregated track” largely excluded classical tramways (Frenz 1987). Besides that, the minimum cost limit for receiving subsidies provided an incentive for the public transport operators to refrain from smallerscale infrastructure improvements in tram networks, like the necessary modernisation of stops and the footway access to these 128 (Friedrich 1987; Schmucki 2010). Rather, a bias towards visible capital-intensive projects was institutionalised.

124

In particular, the subsidies could be allocated to: separated rail public transport alignments, bus lanes, central bus stations, central maintenance and storage facilities, and park-and-ride facilities. Some federal states, however, voluntarily granted financial assistance for investments in new vehicles also before that (Schmucki 2010). 126 Before 1967, no funds were allocated to public transport by the Federal Government. Between 1950 and 1964, only 660 million DM were spent on public transport, whereas the Federal Government invested 41.4 billion DM in road infrastructure (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). 127 This was the case, although in 1973, Willy Brandt, the chancellor of the starting Social DemocratLiberal Coalition, stated in his opening speech “the priority of the public transport over the private car” (Linder et al. 1975, p. 60). 128 Before 1992, improvements of shelters and tram stop facilities could not be funded within the GVFG framework. 125

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The planning and political decisions on urban transport in the 1960s and 1970s culminated in a unique number of construction activities. The time window of economic prosperity and the established funding automatism triggered a general planning euphoria and a large number of underground projects could be launched in a short period of time (Kopper 1998). New fully segregated metro systems were built in München and Nürnberg, and those in Berlin and Hamburg were extended. Furthermore, apart from Bremen, all cities with a population of more than 500,000 people built more or less extended rail tunnel sections in their centres (Groneck 2007). These cities developed a modified version of the initially planned underground tramway, combining tunnel sections and onground alignments with different right-of-way. In order to achieve high operational speeds characteristic for metro services, design parameters close to heavy rail standards were adopted for the new alignments 129. In the early 1970s, also a new vehicle type was launched, which was able to run fast both in tunnel facilities and on above ground tracks130. The prototype was the DUEWAG U2 vehicle designed for Frankfurt which was later exported in large numbers to the USA. The high-floor high-capacity models were engineered for higher speed operation and a larger passenger load than the tramcars at the time131 and allowed for level entry from the platforms in the tunnels and on segregated sections132. On the parts of the route where no platforms could be installed, the vehicles were accessible from the street level over retractable steps. The systems with such features, initially considered a preliminary stage to full metros, turned out to be a new form of urban rail in their own. This was called Stadtbahn (light rail).

129

The pragmatic reason for the choice of underground facilities was that in the mostly narrow city centre streets there was little space to accommodate transport services with high operational performance. Various track routing parameters were considered important for achieving a high performance, in particular curve radii of at least 300 metres, gradients of not more than 4% plus platform lengths and widths that allow a high passenger volume. (VDV 2014a, p. 37) 130 The new vehicles were based on trams and their operation remained similar to that of tramways. Although the alignments were routed so as to be separate from other road traffic, train control, typical for metro systems, was only used for underground sections, with the vehicles running on sight the rest of the time. (VDV 2014a, p. 37) 131 The modern vehicles featured maximal speeds of up to 100 km/h, considerable acceleration and braking forces, short headways, lengths up to 100 metres and a large width of 2.65 m. The combination of track route and vehicle properties allowed for the desired high levels of performance and the flexibility to meet growing demand. (VDV 2014a, p. 37) 132 This was a significant improvement in terms of passenger comfort as compared to the tramways at the time, which had stops located in the road space, so that substantial height differences of up to 1 m had to be negotiated when boarding and alighting (VDV 2014a, p. 37). Later, mostly with the beginning of the tramway renaissance, the tram stops were improved by building island or peninsula platforms and the height differences were reduced.

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In most cities, the construction of the new infrastructure links was part of an overall city centre rehabilitation including large-scale pedestrianisation, conservation of historic buildings and the establishment of more greenery. Several West German cities had pedestrianized some parts of their city centres before 1970, and in some cases even before the Second World War, but it was in the seventies, as part of the extensive (underground transport) construction programmes that large and coherent pedestrian zones were developed (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). At the same time, the adaptation of the on-ground infrastructure to faster (light) rail operations went along with the installation of elongated high platforms, the widening of the structure gauge and the enlargement of curve radii, thereby dividing the streetscape. The harmonious integration of light rail infrastructure in the urban landscape was mostly sacrificed to the functional optimisation of the systems 133 (Groneck 2007; Besier 2002). However, visually intruding viaducts, as present in various original design plans, were avoided in most cities (Groneck 2007). The progress of the implementation of the public transport schemes depended largely on strong individual personalities such as city planners and mayors but also on special events (Hass-Klau 1984). In general, throughout the 1970s, the managerial boards of public transport companies persistently held on to their technological preferences and could rely on the support of local politicians 134 (Schmucki 2010). All newly opened Stadtbahn-lines offered as a rule a higher service standard and more comfort than the street-level trams which they had usually replaced and thus registered a passenger increase of between 30% and 100% along the same transport corridor (Hass-Klau 1984). In contrast to the new underground services, the traditional tram and some bus lines in Western Germany were generally losing passengers (Hass-Klau 1984). In this environment, the classical street-level tram was out of favour among transport planners, city leaders and national politicians who promoted underground systems and the strong city identity promised by them (Schmucki 2010). Tramways were also no topic in professional journals or the engineering and planning debates in the late 1960s and 1970s (Schmucki 2001, 2010). Instead of a chapter on tramways, a new

133

That’s why the term “Stadtbahn” (light rail) might have also a negative connotation in relation with “technoid” planning (Besier 2002, p. 39) detached from the local physical context and ignoring aspects of integration in the urban fabric. 134 Köstlin and Bartsch (1987) see also the evolution of vested interests in the continuation and expansion of cost-intensive tunnel projects, which secured long-term business orders for the building industry and gave the right to exist to subway administrations.

98

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

category ‘light rail’135 (Stadtbahnwesen) was introduced in the annual reports of the VÖV to accommodate the changing emphasis in transport technology (Schmucki 2010). The abandonment of tramways which had started in the early fifties continued for 35 years, such that by 1987, sixty-six tramways had been scrapped in West Germany136 (Frenz 1987). 4.1.3.3

Current institutional settings

The policy of prioritising underground lines over street-level routes was maintained into the 1980s. Investments in these rail systems resulted in a pathdependent manner from political decisions taken in a period of economic expansion and large public expenditure. However, already in the mid-1970s, as a consequence of the recession which had started in 1973, it became clear that the plans of accomplishing extensive metro networks within the following 20 years would not be realised (Schott and Klein 1998). Besides the long completion times137, the high construction costs as well as the significant expenses for operations in and maintenance of the tunnel facilities proved critical aspects in times of increasing financial problems at the national and local levels (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). The investments in public transport were still to continue but they had to be made more carefully. With the introduction of an official methodology for socio-economic analysis in 1982, public transport infrastructure projects exceeding 50 million DM138 could receive federal subsidies only if their expected benefits were larger than the associated costs. From then on, within the formal assessment procedure called Standardized Evaluation of Infrastructure Investments for Public Transportation (Standardisierte Bewertung von Verkehrswegeinvestitionen des öffentlichen Personennah-verkehrs), the decision criteria needed to be made explicit and the public funds expenditures had to be justified (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). Initially, there was some opposition to the use of the technique from individual cities, but it was developed and eventually established in an agreement between the Federal Ministry of Transport and the corresponding state ministries (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985).

135

As presented in Chapter 3.1.3, the term “light rail” replaced “city rail”, which was the initially proposed translation of “Stadtbahn”. 136 The last complete abandonments of tram networks in West Germany took place between 1982 and 1987. Bremerhaven and Recklinghausen gave up the services in 1982, Kiel followed in 1985, and Wuppertal abolished the tram in 1987. 137 In Hamburg, between 1955 and 1985 the average tunnel length build per year was 1 km, whereas in Frankfurt in the 23 years after the beginning of the construction works on the underground rail network, only 16 km were completed – on average 0.7 km per year. (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987) 138 Later, the limit was changed to 50 million euros.

The tramway renaissance in Germany

99

On behalf of the transport ministers, the evaluation framework was revised and extended several times, most recently in 2006 139, but its methodology has remained virtually unchanged since 1982. From the beginning, it has been designed to offer interregional comparability between locally, technically and economically diverse transport schemes, which are evaluated by means of standardised procedures. At the heart of the methodology, there is a macroeconomic assessment of the monetised project impacts, the output of which is a benefit-cost-ratio that must have a value larger than 1 for the investment to be eligible for federal funding. For the purpose of comparability, uniform cost rates140 are applied, but this brings along the difficulty to adequately match local characteristics141. If the standardised cost-benefit analysis does not have the appropriate ratio, and therefore national funding is denied, a federal state can still assume the full funding of a project if it considers it necessary for political or other reasons. In fact, since the mid-1990s, most of the money for public transport infrastructure schemes has been directed via the states. With the Federal Act of Regionalisation from 1996, they received the sole responsibility for the overall planning, organisation and financing issues of public transport and could therefore draw on the tax levied on oil previously allocated by the national government under the GVFG. Even though the government retained a GVFG share for supporting larger local transport schemes, the organisational reform made the direct federal subsidies relatively unimportant in terms of total funding 142. The GVFG was further amended in 2003, when many programme competencies in the area of public transport were transferred from the federal government to the states. The latter were not obliged anymore to fund investments only in accordance with the criteria set by the federal government, such as those defined in Article 2 of 139

See BVBS (2006). A set of different indicators are used for the socio-economic evaluation. For measuring the effects of the investment in public transport infrastructure on the users, the indicators used are travel time savings and cost changes for private and public transport users. The impacts on the operator companies are calculated in terms of fare income, the overhead and operating costs, including capital servicing costs. The costs for the general public are also included as the monetised value of exhaust emissions and accidents. Furthermore, a forecast for the use of the public transport facility and its traffic impacts over a 20 year time horizon has to be carried out by the operator (BVBS 2006). All in all, the standardised cost-benefit-analysis, with all the related planning and building regulations work, is a very costly procedure that takes several months. 141 The standard approach of the formal assessment ignores local particularities, which are hard to be quantified, particularly image and urban development effects. 142 Between 1967 and the end of 1993, on average 2 billion DM had been invested in public transport facilities, and roughly the same amount was spent for urban road projects, mostly in urban agglomerations (Schmucki 2010). In the following years, especially after 1996, the annual resources in the frame of GVFG halved (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 44). 140

100

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

GVFG which excluded from financial aid the construction of tram tracks embedded in the urban streets. The decisions on the eligibility of classical tram lines for GVFG subsidies could be made by the states on their own behalf from 2006 on143. The historically grown requirement of a segregated track has been retained as an eligibility criterion for national subsidies, however (Glück 2009). The GVFG programme of earmarked funding was initially meant to end in 2019, but in 2015, it was eventually prolonged beyond that time point. For the period between 2007 and 2019, the federal government is providing subsidies for investments in the improvement of local transport links totalling ca. 1.67 billion euros. Out of this amount, 1.33 billion euros are channelled through the federal states. The latter sum is divided between public transport and local road works in a manner which varies from state to state and year to year 144. The direct annual subsidy of 332.6 million euros from the national government goes to support urban rail links in conurbations with eligible costs 145 of at least 50 million euros. The aid may total up to 60% of the eligible costs. In all cases, the officially stated basic prerequisite for awarding support is that each project must be urgently needed to improve the transport situation. (VDV 2014a, pp. 915ff.) Whereas the GVFG funds have been available only for subsidising investments in infrastructure facilities, the Act of Regionalisation made significant parts of the oil tax revenues procurable also for covering operational expenditures (VDV 2014a, pp. 895ff.). This has strengthened the basis for providing more frequent public transport services and has provided an incentive to shift the planning focus away from the expensive infrastructure schemes. The operating cost has been traditionally funded from own sources of the states and local authorities, which have been responsible for the tasks of planning, operating and financing urban public transport. In Germany, practically all of the authorities which own and operate trams and light rail systems have been the cities in which the networks are located146 (VDV 2014a, p. 43). Therefore, the political influence concerning the service provision at the urban level has been significant. When 143

In the following, the states of Hessen, Thüringen, Niedersachsen and Saarland dropped the requirement of a segregated track as a condition for state funds, in contrast to Baden-Württemberg. See Glück (2009). 144 Public transport received 40% in 2012 (VDV 2014a, p. 895). Since 2013, the supplementing funds allocated to the states can be invested also for purposes other than local transport improvements. 145 According to Article 4 of GVFG, administrative costs are not eligible, interest payments are usually also excluded, and land acquisition costs are only partly eligible for funding. 146 The “right of own production” of public transport services by local authorities has been recognised by the EU Regulation 1370/2007, and the direct award to communally owned operators remains possible, without compulsory competitive tendering (van de Velde 2007). Therefore, privatisation has had very little effect on urban public transport and none on tramway and light rail operations.

The tramway renaissance in Germany

101

public transport first began to operate at a loss in Western Germany in the 1950s, municipal offset mechanisms were applied, such as direct deficit coverage by the owner municipalities and tax consolidation with profitable municipal utility companies (VDV 2014a, pp. 888f.). It has been customary for many cities to cover the losses of their public transport companies through cross-subsidies from surpluses of their gas, water and electricity supplier 147. In addition to the financial basis, a very important reason for the growing attractiveness of German public transport since the 1960s has been the integration of service provision and ticket fares into a coherent public transport system within a metropolitan area. This integration has been assured by regional transport oversight organisations called Verkehrsverbund, which emerged as associations of transport companies in the big West German metropolises Hamburg, Frankfurt am Main and München in the 1960s. The associations developed later into alliances of local authorities (Aufgabenträgerverbund) or mixed alliances between authorities and transport operators (Mischverbund). All these alliances were given the tasks of planning and coordinating multi-modal public transport services in the areas of operation, information, ticketing and advertising148 (VDV 2014a, pp. 888f.). In practice, they are responsible for developing the medium- and long-term local transport plans for the urban and suburban areas, while public transport companies implement the concept. By the early 1990s, when the tramway renaissance spread, virtually every big urban area in Germany had an oversight organisation, which had created common timetables and fares, and therefore contributed to significant increases in ridership149. 4.1.4

The discursive dimension of the tramway renaissance

The rearrangement of the institutional setting for public transport provision paralleled a paradigm shift in transport planning which was emerging in Western Germany already towards the end of the 1970s. The scarcity of public funds in the FRG from the early 1980s onwards prohibited the completion of the plans for fully grade-separated urban rail networks, but led to the realisation that an own right-of-way above ground and priority at junctions can also assure efficient public transport services. In fact, experts revised their preferences for what was supposed to be the most efficient system (Schmucki 2010). A generation change 147

Nowadays, this revenue stream is weakening due to the increasing competition in the liberalised electricity markets. 148 At a minimum, an alliance governs a common or coordinated ticketing structure for local or regional transport services. 149 The number of urban public transport passengers in Germany increased by more than 10% between 1993 and 2013 (VDV 2002, 2014).

102

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

was taking place in the guild of transport planners and decision makers, and in the new perspective on public transport, the same criteria which had been used to argue against the street-level tramway in the 1960s, started to count in its favour (Schmucki 2010). The passenger travel time was not measured anymore as dependent only on the speed of rail operations but included also the access to stations on foot or by feeder lines (see e.g. Topp 1999; Vuchic 2005). In the course of establishing underground light rail, the density and length of networks had declined in many cases (Hass-Klau et al. 2004). Although the first plans for underground tramways suggested taking the tramway tracks out of the most heavily loaded roads and putting them underground, while preserving the existing network structures as far as possible, the subsequently pursued projects for fully fledged metro systems entailed the replacement of the dense street level tramway networks by a few underground trunk alignments (Groneck 2007). To achieve economies of scale, service lines needed to be bundled into one common trunk, and with the larger spacing of (underground) stations, higher commercial speeds could be attained permitting savings of vehicles and staff. The higher speeds along the underground sections meant, indeed, shorter rail rides, but passengers had to cover longer walking distances or transfer from feeder services in addition to changing levels in order to access the light rail or metro lines. Furthermore, the passengers’ acceptance of underground stations diminished, because already after a short time, these were often run down and were perceived as unsafe places (Schott and Klein 1998). The consideration of the access and egress as well as the waiting times at transfer stops usually meant effectively longer and less attractive trips (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). Therefore, a denser network of street-level tramway lines, even if operating at lower speeds than an underground, was considered by the new generation of transport planners as more efficient. The revived interest in the tram resulted, hence, to a large extend from the apparent limits of underground rail systems with respect to costs, subjective safety and travel time gains (Schott and Klein 1998; Brändli 1995). Not only the public transport planning approach with a focus on underground facilities was questioned, but the hitherto existing general paradigm of traffic segregation was revised in the 1980s. For environmental and economic reasons, the young generation of transport experts viewed critically the infrastructure oriented approach aiming at the provision of more space to the car traffic. Starting in the late 1970s, a growing number of articles in professional journals concluded that the intensive road construction activities had entailed a highly technical and heavily polluted environment 150. The emphasis of planning began 150

For a more detailed analysis of the planning discourse in the 1980s and 1990s, see Schmucki (2001, pp. 153–196).

The tramway renaissance in Germany

103

to shift to traffic calming in order to improve the liveability of cities, which had arisen as a topic on the agenda151 (Haefeli 2008; Schmucki 2010). The first steps were made already in the second half of the 1960s with the creation of pedestrian zones in the urban shopping malls, and their number grew in the following years. The idea of traffic calmed areas was further reaching, however, and put in question the dominance of the car in whole city districts and even on main urban roads. A new planning approach emerged which aimed to develop a deeper understanding of the needs not only of transport participants but also of the people affected by traffic. This approach respected especially the non-transport related functions of the street space and wanted to open it to all citizens, also non-drivers152. The latter aspect corresponded to a conception of urbanity as it existed before the start of mass motoring, that’s why the term “rebirth” appeared as a label to capture related developments – in particular, the “rebirth of urban life” or the “rebirth of tramways” (Haefeli 2008). The human oriented transport concepts, which were winning recognition in the 1980s, pursued the co-existence of various transport modes and led to the remarkable renaissance of the tramway (Haefeli 2008; Schmucki 2001; Topp 1999; Brändli 1995). The ability of the tram to penetrate the existing urban fabric and its emission-free operations were especially advantageous (Topp 1999). Furthermore, the visibility of the tramway owing to the on-ground rails was highly valued by experts as it would improve the citizens’ awareness of the public transport services and thus increase the use of the latter (Köstlin and Bartsch 1987). Tramways were regarded as environmentally superior to other transport modes, so that the shift from automobiles to trams has been one of the main approaches of local transport strategies to improve the quality of urban life (Schott and Klein 1998). An important finding of the research concerning the perception of public transport was that politicians and planners had underestimated the positive public attitude towards mass transport and that a considerable part of the population had a biased picture of the local service 151

Urban planning had already seen a policy shift with the Bill promoting the renewal of inner city areas (Städtebaufördergesetz 1971), according to which local authorities could draw on federal subsidies for urban regeneration programmes. This was provoked by a clear tendency of population suburbanization resulting partly from worsened living conditions due to traffic congestion, noise and air pollution. The annual statements of planning issued by the federal government in the first half of the seventies called for a reduction of individual traffic in the city and the promotion of public transport, but at that time the focus was still on the extension and new construction of underground systems as well as on the promotion of new technologies. Additionally, exclusive right of way for trams and buses and an increase of the overall attractiveness for the passengers were also suggested. (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985) 152 Typically, a reference in this context was given to the Buchanan report from 1963.

104

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

quality which was subjectively estimated to be worse than it was in fact153. Under these circumstances, public awareness campaigns were launched which had to enhance the image of public transport and the provided individual information for the users. The result of these soft policies was a significant increase of ridership and their cost effectiveness outperformed often that of infrastructure activities (Haefeli 2008). Some transport companies and cities even started labelling their modernised trams as light rail in order to underline the changed system’s status. The introduction of spacious vehicles with low entrances at the beginning of the 1990s made the tramway a highly visible and desirable object in public space (Schmucki 2010). The redesign and public reinterpretation of the tram was appreciated also by local authorities, as the technology started symbolising modernity and environmental responsibility, and therefore promoted a progressive urban image (Schmucki 2010). The urban prestige promised by modern tram transport was further derived from the international dimension of the tramway renaissance. In the late twentieth century, particular attention was paid towards the related development in Swiss cities. In the 1960s and 1970s, in Western Germany there was no interest about urban public transport in Switzerland. This changed fundamentally in the 1980s. Especially the example of Zürich was heavily cited, where after the rejection of an underground system in a citizens’ referendum, a consequent policy made the hitherto allegedly antiquated tram an attractive means of transport154. Excursions to Switzerland became part of the education of the new generation of German transport planners, and municipal councillors and transport planners 155 from Zürich were often invited to professional symposia as referents and discussants. Switzerland became a key reference for the proponents of the new transport planning approach in Germany (Haefeli 2008). The looming rebirth of urban rail in the USA in form of light rail transit was also a topic for the German engineering community in the late 1980s. The positive impact of rail-bound public transport on the environment and urban life in North America and the associated public recognition were especially stressed 156. Against the background of the experts’ interest and reference to the American experience, Schmucki (2010) sees in the revived German preference for tramways a certain element of imitation of the US development and the desire for international prestige. 153

See Brög (1987). See e.g. Apel (1984), Apel (1990), Topp (1987) and Schaffer (1986). Particularly, Heinrich Brändli, the chief planner in the public transport company of Zürich and later a professor at ETH, was a frequent guest of professional forums in Germany. See his contributions in the anthologies devoted to the tramway renaissance: Brändli (1987), (1995), and (1998). 156 See Klühspies (1987, p. 416) and Groche (1979). See also the overview of the related discourses in Haefeli (2008, p. 125-126). 154 155

The tramway renaissance in Germany

4.1.5

105

The materiality of the tramway renaissance

The changed perception of public transport, in general, and the tramway, in particular, materialised in the reversal of the previous overall trend of scaling back on-ground tram networks. Although line closures continued in WestGermany throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, including four complete network abandonments between 1982 and 1987, since the late 1980s the number of newly inaugurated tram track sections has exceeded that of the scrapings 157. In particular, the middle-sized cities of Karlsruhe and Freiburg led the way in the 1980s hosting more than half of all the openings of new alignments in the FRG in this decade158. With their remarkable network expansions which were to continue also in the twenty-first century, both cities, but especially Karlsruhe 159, heralded the German tramway renaissance and have been considered as salient examples of it160. Besides the two forerunners, seven other middle-sized cities161 started a comprehensive modernisation of their existing surface tram systems in the 1980s, and later also expanded them gradually. Therefore, it was generally the middle-sized cities that initiated and coined the German rebirth of the tram, and for Kopper (1998) it was an important prerequisite that they had mostly abstained from investments in underground facilities 162. In fact, as Table 1 and Table 2 show, since the mid-1980s, the street-level networks, located mostly in middle-sized cities with less than 300,000 inhabitants, have been significantly growing, while in the cities with tunnel facilities there has been no clear trend. Some of those networks, mostly in big cities with a population of more than half a million, got shorter, other grew, in contrast (Table 1). Clearly, the biggest tramway expansions were in the middlesized cities Karlsruhe, Freiburg, Mannheim and Augsburg (Table 2). Bremen – the only big city without underground sections – features a considerable network growth, too. At the same time, the networks in many of the big urban areas, which had put main rail lines underground, stagnated or shrunk. A notable exception was Hannover, where, especially in preparation of the Expo 2000, 157

See Figure 30 in Groneck (2007, p. 49). In the 1980s, 28 new tram track sections were opened in Western Germany. Eleven of these alignments were in Karlsruhe, and five were in Freiburg. For more details, see the list of line openings in West Germany between 1945 and 1996, provided by Hintzen (1997, pp. 85ff). 159 It is to be noticed that unlike the other West German cities, Karlsruhe started with the modernisation and expansion of its tramway network already in the 1950s. See for more details Chapter 4.2.2.2. 160 See e.g. Topp (1999) and Groneck (2007, p. 138). 161 The cities were Augsburg, Braunschweig, Darmstadt, Kassel, Krefeld, Mainz and Würzburg (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985). 162 Still, the middle-sized cities of Ludwigshafen/Mannheim and Bielefeld, as well Mühlheim, Bochum and Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr area, had built some underground sections. 158

106

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

several new sections were built and a number of line extensions took place over the years. Nonetheless, some of the other bigger cities with tunnel-based light rails got involved in the tramway renaissance, too. In particular, the cities of Frankfurt am Main, Düsseldorf, Essen, Bonn and Bochum split their urban rail networks into largely segregated light rail lines and modernised tram lines with low-floor vehicles163. Also the three metropolises with full metro systems, which had preserved their trams – Berlin, München and Nürnberg, invested in the 1990s in low-floor tram fleet and street-level infrastructure upgrades. In particular, Berlin and München have extended their tramway networks since then (Table 3).

163

As of 2013, the 140 km-network in Frankfurt consists of 62.5 km light rail and 67.5 km tramway. The analogous proportions for Düsseldorf are 68.6 km and 78 km, for Essen – 21.5 km and 52.4 km, for Bonn – 20.9 km and 41 km, and for the conurbation Bochum/Gelsenkirchen –17.5 km and 85 km.

Network length (km)

Network length (km)

Difference

1983

1996

2002

2014

1983-2013

(km)

Network length (km)

107

Network length (km164)

(2013)

City

Population

The tramway renaissance in Germany

Hannover

516,000

92.5

102.9

114.3

121.0

+28.5

Frankfurt/

693,342

127.1

115.2

119.7

140.0

+12.9

Stuttgart

600,260

114.9

106.0

123.5

128.0

+12.1

Bonn

330,178

50.0

51.8

57.6

61.9

+11.9

Bielefeld

328,011

26.1

27.0

31.9

36.0

+9.9

Mühlheim

168,199

30.3

32.0

36.2

38.0

+7,7

Bochum/ Gelsenkirchen Ludwigshafen

362,213/ 260,733 161,518

103.6

102.7

99.7

101

-2.6

29.3

30.2

30.2

24.0

-5.3

Dortmund

571,143

79.5

76.3

73.6

73.6

-5.9

Essen

573,487

81.2

73.4

73.9

73.9

-7.3

Duisburg

486,816

64.3

57.1

53.3

53.3

-10.0

Düsseldorf

593,057

158.4

146.4

146.2

146.6

-11.8

Köln

1,044,070

163.2

140.4

141.6

145.0

-18.2

Main

Table 1: Length development of German light rail networks with underground facilities Sources: VÖV 1984, VDV 1997, VDV 2003, VDV 2014b

164

In some cases, systems have marginally single-track sections, or sections with over 2 tracks, but here 1 kilometre is to be understood as 1 km of double track.

Network length (km)

Network length (km)

Network length (km)

Difference (km)

City

Network length (km)

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

Population (2013)

108

1983

1996

2002

2013

1983-2013

Karlsruhe

293,142

45.4

57.3

62.0

75.0

+29.6

Freiburg

218,412

14.0

22.8

26.2

38.2

+24.2

Mannheim

296,690

51.8

58.0

59.2

73.0

+21.2

Augsburg

278,473

25.0

30.6

35.5

45.2

+20.2

Bremen

548,319

57.0

57.2

64.4

73.0

+16.0

Heidelberg

152,113

14.0

20.7

20.8

30.0

+16.0

Kassel

196,758

40.0

48.1

45.5

53.0

+13.0

Braunschweig

245,798

27.7

31.7

34.7

39.6

+11.9

Darmstadt

151,944

36.2

36.2

29.5

42.0

+5.8

Würzburg

124,154

14.4

19.4

19.8

19.8

+5.4

Ulm

119,218

5.5

5.5

5.5

10.1

+4.6

Krefeld

234,521

36.5

37.7

37.8

37.8

+1.3

Mainz

206,628

20.2

21.9

19.3

19.3

-0.9

Table 2: Length development of German tramway networks 165 Sources: VÖV 1984, VDV 1997, VDV 2003, VDV 2014b

165

The list does not include the systems in Oberhausen, Saarbrücken and Heilbronn, which were opened between 1996 and 2001. The three cases are presented later in this chapter.

Network length (km)

Network length (km)

Difference

1983

1996

2002

2013

1983-2013

(km)

Network length (km)

109

Network length (km)

(2013)

City

Population

The tramway renaissance in Germany

Berlin

3,517,424

173.3

176.0

178.9

191.0

+17.7

München

1,395,429

70.0

65.0

70.6

79.0

+9.0

Nürnberg

495,121

45.0

39.0

36.3

33.0

-12.0

Table 3: Length development of tramway networks in German cities with metro lines Sources: VÖV 1984, VDV 1997, VDV 2003, VDV 2014b

In the German Democratic Republic nearly all cities had kept their trams, so that after the political re-unification in 1990, the number of tramway networks in Germany grew significantly. However, in the early 1990s, most East German systems were in need of modernisation166, which was subsequently carried out with the financial support of the GVFG framework. Between 1991 and 1995, federal funds were provided for the rehabilitation of public transport facilities and rolling stock in the former East German cities (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). In effect, low-floor vehicles were gradually introduced and no network has been closed despite the demographic decline in many smaller venues 167. On the contrary, there have been even noticeable expansions in several of the Eastern cities since 1990. Table 4 gives an overview on the development of the network lengths in the former East Germany over the last two decades 168.

166

See Schmucki (2001) for an in-depth historical study of the public transport development in the German Democratic Republic, in general, and Dresden, in particular. See Jäger et al. (2010) for more details on the future of the tram in smaller and middle-sized cities in East Germany. 168 Note that the data on the network in East Berlin are included in Table 3. 167

Network length (km)

Network length (km)

Difference (km)

Network length (km)

1990

1996

2002

Rostock

203,673

18.4

22.3

27.9

35.6

+17.2

Jena

105,282

12.4

21.9

23.7

26.0

+13.6

Halle

232,705

77.1

76.9

81.7

87.6

+10.5

Zwickau

91,699

12.4

12.6

14.9

21.0

+8.6

Magdeburg

233,669

55.7

59.0

59.6

64.1

+8.4

Chemnitz

242,460

22.3

23.2

27.3

28.7

+6.4

Dessau

83,915

8.5

8.5

14.5

14.5

+6.0

Potsdam

167,151

23.8

24.3

28.9

28.9

+5.1

Gotha

36,200

25.3

25.7

26.4

30.0

+4.7

Gera

100,000

14.0

14.5

13.4

18.5

+4.5

Frankfurt/Oder

58,237

18.5

20.6

20.2

19.5

+1.0

Nordhausen

41,839

6.2

5.5

7.2

7.2

+1.0

Cottbus

100,000

22.8

22.8

23.7

23.7

+0.9

Görlitz

55,000

11.8

11.0

12.0

12.0

+0.2

Strausberg

26,000

6.7

6.7

6.7

6.7

0.0

Plauen

40,250

17.3

17.5

17.5

16.0

-1.3

Dresden

525,929

137.4

129.7

131.1

134.3

-3.1

Halberstadt

36,357

14.8

9.5

10.5

10.5

-4.3

Brandenburg

71,114

22.3

22.8

17.7

17.7

-4.6

Schöneiche

12,200

19.7

14.5

14.5

14.1

-5.6

Leipzig

520,838

162.8

154.7

150.4

150.4

-12.4

Erfurt

205,112

58.7

31.6

38.5

44.2

-14.5

Schwerin

91,264

42.4

22.2

22.9

21.0

-21.4

City

Network length (km)

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

Population (2013)

110

1990-2013

Table 4: Length development of tramway networks in the former East Germany Sources: VDV 1991, VDV 1997, VDV 2003, VDV 2015

The tramway renaissance in Germany

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Besides the extension of existing networks, there were also three reintroductions of previously completely abolished tram services. In 1996, the city of Oberhausen, which had closed down its tramway twenty years earlier, launched a tram line with large portions of an own right-of-way169.The alignment was extended slightly in the early 2000s and currently has a length of 9 kilometres (VDV 2014b). In 1997, also the city of Saarbrücken reinstalled rail tracks in its streets, as did Heilbronn four years later 170. After some prolongations, the alignments of the two cities stretch currently over 33 and 9 kilometres, respectively (VDV 2014b). In the cases of both Saarbrücken and Heilbronn, the tracks in the city streets were connected to heavy railroad which has allowed for serving neighbouring towns and carrying passengers directly to the two regional centres. Both systems include mixed operation with conventional heavy railways and deploy light rail vehicles able to run on both the urban network and main railway track. This innovative concept of track sharing had been pioneered by the municipality of Karlsruhe back in 1992, so that since then, it has been known worldwide as the Karlsruhe Model (e.g. Hodgson and Potter 2010; Phraner 2002; Topp 1999). Because of the possibility of direct rides from the hinterland right into the city centre without the need of multi-modal transfers, this innovation has received a lot of attention by transport experts and politicians and has been implemented during the tramway renaissance also in Kassel, Chemnitz and Nordhausen in Germany as well as in several other European cities 171. The network extensions, technological modernisations and innovations gave reason to Topp172 (1999) to proclaim Germany as one of the leading countries in the worldwide tramway renaissance in the 1990s. In the following decade, in an overview of the renaissance, MVG (2008) termed Germany “the land of the tramway” (MVG 2008, p. 6) because of the large number of existing tramway and light rail systems, namely 56 with a total track length of more than 2800 km, and the continuing activities of enhancing and expanding them (Figure 11). A range of infrastructure measures have been completed since then or are currently under construction. Furthermore, as of 2015, there were plans in different stadiums for 160 kilometres of new track which is to be built in the following years, mostly as extension of existing lines in outlying areas 173. In general, 169

See Hoefs (2000) for more information on the reopening of the tram in Ober-hausen. All the three cities are middle-sized. Oberhausen has 211,000 inhabitants, Saar-brücken – 176,810, and Heilbronn – 125,084. (VDV 2014b) 171 See for an analysis of the evolution and circulation of the Karlsruhe Model Chapter 4.2.3. 172 Hartmut H. Topp, a former professor for mobility and transport at Kaiserslautern University of Technology, was one of the leading transport planners in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the historian Barbara Schmucki. See Schmucki (2001) and Schmucki (2010). 173 See VDV (2014a) for a selection of completed schemes since 2000 and a list of current infrastructure projects (VDV 2014a, pp. 156-167). 170

112

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

tunnel-based solutions have fallen out of political favour and the trend is continuously heading towards ground-level solutions (VDV 2014b, p. 155). Nonetheless, the projects have been strongly influenced by local conditions, as the examples of Karlsruhe and Hannover show in Chapter 4.2 and Chapter 4.3.

The tramway renaissance in Germany

Figure 11: The landscape of the German tramway renaissance Source: own illustration based on the information from Tables 1-4

113

114

4.2 4.2.1

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

The tramway and light rail system of Karlsruhe City profile

Karlsruhe is the second-largest city in the south-western German state of BadenWürttemberg and is located in the upper Rhine valley close to the French border. A comparatively young city with a present population of more than 316,000 people (KTG 2015), it was founded in 1715 as a planned settlement with a halfcircle layout comprising a palace at its centre and more than thirty streets radiating out from it like the ribs of a folding fan (). Almost all of these streets have been preserved until today as the reconstruction after the Second World War followed the original structure. Thus, in terms of historical heritage, a geometric layout of straight streets and wide avenues, instead of narrow alleyways in a medieval town centre, has favoured tramway transport. Furthermore, Karlsruhe has had a well-defined core which forms a major centre for shopping, leisure and service sector employment mainly concentrated around the main east-west axis Kaiserstrasse. A number of public and educational institutions are also located there, so that the city centre has been a focal point for commuters and daily trips from the whole hinterland region which counts more than 700,000 people (RMO 2015). In the after-war decades, the urban redevelopment along the east-west axis was supplemented by the establishment of new districts to the north and south, featuring both public housing buildings and single-family allotments. Residential areas were expanding at the urban periphery and from the early 1970s onwards, the number of residents has been increasing also in the neighbouring municipalities. In parallel, various factories in the cities were abandoned whilst new industrial and commercial zones emerged on the outskirts. Like in other metropolitan areas in West Germany, the suburban growth entailed population losses within the city boundaries. The suburbanisation has continued since then, but during the last two decades also the city of Karlsruhe registered an increase in the number of residents (KTG 2015; Amt für Stadtentwicklung 2014). In the frame of this development pattern, the rail-based public transport system of Karlsruhe and the associated policy have been important for the continuing centrality of the core city in the hinterland region. 4.2.2 4.2.2.1

The urban tramway system The old tramway

The city of Karlsruhe has long had an extensive tramway system serving large parts of the built-up area. The first horse-powered tram line in the city was opened in 1877, when the rising number of residents and the overall urban growth necessitated improved transportation possibilities. The route followed the

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115

east-west axis through the city centre, which has remained the major public transport corridor in Karlsruhe since then. Shortly thereafter, a branch line to the main railway station was launched. From 1881 onwards, the horse power was replaced by steam engines which kept operating until the beginning of the twentieth century, when, between 1900 and 1903, the AEG Company carried out the electrification of the growing network. In the following years, the tramway services were extended to some of the newly created districts and even to the nearby town of Beiertheim. Very soon, the city administration of Karlsruhe recognised the importance of the tramway transport for the urban development so that in 1903, it acquired the operations from the AEG Company and organised it as a municipal enterprise. This was the beginning of a period of an accelerated network growth and rising passenger numbers. Especially the relocation of the railway station further away from the city centre in 1913 prompted the extension of the tramway to the south and the organisation of urban activities around the tram links. The First World Ward stalled the network development for years however, so that first with the economic recovery after 1924, the expansion could continue. By 1929, connections were established to the neighbouring towns of Knielingen, Daxlanden and Rintheim. Later, these towns merged with the city of Karlsruhe, which kept growing over the 20 th century mostly through the incorporation of numerous smaller surrounding municipalities. (Muth 2000; Koch 2000; Höltge 1999) During the world economic crises in the early 1930s, the ridership sharply decreased and the overall tramway development stagnated. The standstill lasted for almost two decades. During the Second World War, the tramway system was partially destroyed by the bombardments and in 1944, the transport operations had to stop temporarily. Nonetheless, with the end of the war in mid-1945, the tramway was gradually brought back into service and by 1950, the reconstruction of the network infrastructure was completed. At this time, the system was at the same technological level as in 1930. The economic difficulties of the 1930s as well as the material deprivation and war damage had not permitted any modernisation of the rolling stock or the physical network. (Muth 2000) 4.2.2.2

The upgrade to a modern system

Like many other German cities, Karlsruhe witnessed a rapid increase of motor traffic in the post-war period. However, instead of following the common trend of making space for the car by closing down the tramway service, the city kept relying on the tram. In the 1960s, the then mayor of Karlsruhe committed to tram transport and the city council deliberately decided to preserve the existing system (Drechsler 1987). The peripheral location of the much frequented main railway

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

station favoured this decision as it required a convenient connection to the city centre, which was assured by the tram. Furthermore, the structuring effect of the dominating east-west axis, accommodating the main civic, administrative and commercial activities in Karlsruhe, induced bundled passenger fluxes which allowed for benefiting from the higher economies of scale of the post-war tram services174. The later pedestrianisation of the main shopping street Kaiserstrasse, which has been trespassed by nearly all tram lines, further strengthened the competitive advantage over the bus. In addition, there was an inherent local tram bias which expressed itself in a consistent preference of the travellers for trams in comparison with alternative bus services beyond the identifiable service qualities (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). Consequently, no real “battle” of the systems emerged and only one tram route in Karlsruhe was replaced by a bus line – the short connection to Beiertheim which was converted in 1956 (Drechsler 1987). The bus operations were rather incorporated into the tramway system, where they have mainly functioned as feeders to the rail-based services (G1; G2). The city of Karlsruhe not only preserved its tramway, but as one of very few Western German cities, it significantly expanded and comprehensively upgraded the existing system. Already in 1953, the construction of new track alignments started and continued throughout the following decades. Various gaps in the network were closed, existing lines were extended and new connections were established to the large housing estates which were planned and built on the periphery from the late 1950s on. The districts of Waldstadt, Nordweststadt, Rheinstrandsiedlung and Oberreut/ Leopoldshafen were linked to the network between 1960 and 1986 (Hintzen 1997). The gathered momentum provided for a system growth also in the following decades such that after the inauguration of the latest route section in 2012 (G1; G2), the network reached a total length of 75 kilometres (VDV 2014b). Therefore, the technical core of the tramway system has basically doubled its size since the 1950s. With the achieved high density of the tram network, the majority of the city population lives within a walking distance from a tram stop and has therefore an easy access to the system, which in turn, stimulates its use (G1; G2). In parallel to the tramway network expansion, the rolling stock was consistently modernised – first with the procurement of large-body tramcars and articulated vehicles in the 1960s and 1970s, which replaced the pre-war fleet (Drechsler 1987), and after 1995, also with the introduction of low-floor vehicles (G1). 174

The introduction of high-capacity vehicles and ticket purchase before boarding considerably increased the operational efficiency (Drechsler 1987).

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117

Gradually, the tramway received an own right-of-way next to the car lanes and priority at signal controlled intersections, which contributed to higher operational speeds and considerably improved the service reliability. Already by 1980, three quarters of the overall network had been separated from the road traffic and equipped with double track (Drechsler 1987). At the same time, the tram has operated in mixed traffic with pedestrians since 1974 when a car-free area along Kaiserstrasse was established. With all these improvements, the traditional tramway was converted into a modern light rail system and this appropriation of the well-known transport technology became a positive example in the looming renaissance of the tram. 4.2.3 4.2.3.1

The Karlstuhe Model – the evolution of a qualitatively new system Establishing a regional system

The internal dynamics of network growth, driven by the local popularity of the tram and the increasing economies of scale, induced the further expansion of the system (Axhausen and Brandl 1999; Drechsler 1987). While its density in the city was consistently growing, the public transport links to the surrounding region needed to be strengthened to attract parts of the commuter flows resulting from the suburbanisation and the related car ownership. In addition to the urban tramway and the bus lines, the public transport users could ride also on the Albtalbahn, a private company that operated a rail line from Karlsruhe to the town of Bad Herrenalb located in the Schwarzwald Mountain in the south. The regional connection was served by narrow-gauge trains from the late nineteenth century until the end of the 1950s, when growing economic difficulties necessitated an operational restructuring (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). Because of the substantial passenger potential of the rail line, the city of Karlsruhe pursued its preservation and acquired the majority of the shares in the Albtalbahn. In 1957, it founded the Albtal-Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (AVG) which had to continue the rail line services and integrate them into the existing tramway system. For that purpose, the Albtalbahn tracks were adjusted from narrow to standard gauge, the line electrification was adapted to the power supply of the Karlsruhe tramway and the hitherto separate infrastructures were physically connected at the Albtalbahnhof, the old terminus close to the Karlsruhe main railway station. These modifications of the old infrasystem allowed for the direct connection between the southern hinterland and the city centre of Karlsruhe and were the first step towards a radical change of the local tramway system. The AVG operations started in 1961 and expanded rapidly in the following decades (G1).

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

The growing ridership on the first AVG line in the 1960s encouraged the city administration to provide funding for its extension and further modernisation and thus accelerated the realisation of plans to link also the northern suburbs to the tram network. When the community of Neureut was incorporated into the city of Karlsruhe, it was contractually guaranteed that this most northern district would receive a tram connection to the city centre (VDV 2014a, p. 551). However, the design of such a connection was a critical problem which could not be solved in the frame of the existing system as it required the operation of tramway vehicles and freight trains on an existing non-electrified rail track owned by the German Federal Railways (Deutsche Bundesbahn). To enable such operations, the rolling stock technology had to be modified to fit into the material and institutional settings of the heavy rail system. In particular, the tram, or rather light rail vehicles, had to comply with the regulations on heavy rail operations EBO (Eisenbahnbetriebsordnung) and be fitted with automatic train protection devices as well as wider wheels capable of running safely both on urban and heavy rail track and switches175. Following long negotiations between AVG and the Bundesbahn on the implementation of the technical adjustments, a light rail service to the northern outskirts was eventually launched in October 1979. Herewith, the AVG was one of the first local transport operators which was allowed to use federal railway track176. (TTK 2004; G1) The integration of the Albtalbahn into the Karlsruhe tram system and the later extension to the north entailed significant ridership gains which together with the growth momentum of the traditional tramway prompted the study of further expansion possibilities. Thus, in February 1983, the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology commissioned the City of Karlsruhe and the operator AVG to investigate the suitability of other federal railway lines in the region for track sharing between light rail and heavy trains 177. The study showed that such an operational approach is technically and economically feasible and could enable the creation of a suburban public transport system (S-Bahn) in the Karlsruhe region at relatively low costs (VDV 2014a, p. 553). In particular, the corridor in the direction of Bretten, a town located some 30 km to the north-east of Karlsruhe, exhibited a fast population growth and sufficient passenger demand for direct transport services to the city centre of Karlsruhe. A seamless 175

Since the freight trains were hauled by diesel locomotives, the electrification of the rail sections for the purpose of tram operations did not cause technical difficulties (G1). 176 At that time, there had been only one other such case – since August 1978, light rail vehicles and freight trains had been operating on the same infrastructure stretch between Cologne and Bonn (VDV 2014a, p. 553). 177 Institutional partners in the frame of this investigation were also Deutsche Bundesbahn and the Institute of Railway Engineering at Karlsruhe University (G1).

The tramway and light rail system of Karlsruhe

119

connection without transfers meant that one and the same light rail vehicle had to operate in mixed traffic with ordinary trams on the urban network and with longdistance trains on the federal track section to Bretten. The development of a suitable vehicle, satisfying the operational safety standards despite the differences in weight, propulsion and size between light and heavy rail, started in 1986 with the financial support of the national research ministry. A specially designed light rail car was equipped with a safety system compliant with the heavy-rail operations (INDUSI) as well as with on-board transformers and rectifiers that convert the high-voltage current to the direct current used by the tram. The vehicle brakes corresponded to tramway standards, but the acceleration capabilities were partly compromised on in order to keep the weight under control. The first dual-current178 light rail car of the world, which later became known as tram-train, was ready to be put in operations in 1991 179 (VDV 2014a, pp. 553f; TTK 2004). In addition to the technical innovation, a precondition for the launch of direct transport services was the reaching of a political agreement between the communities along the line to Bretten as well as the funding agencies at the state and federal level. Discussions started in 1983 and concerned especially the issues of share allocation for infrastructure and rolling stock expenditures between the parties and the exact alignment routing. Furthermore, there were lengthy negotiations between the AVG and Deutsche Bundesbahn on the modalities of the pioneer track sharing operations, particularly with respect to the access of the local transport operator to the federal railroad. Finally, in late 1988, a contract was signed according to which the AVG assumed all operational costs and revenues from the service to Bretten and had to pay a fee for the use of the Bundesbahn infrastructure. (G2; G1) With the material and institutional appropriation of the new technology, the dualmode tram-train could be put into regular service on the line between Karlsruhe and Bretten in September 1992. The light rail substituted the old locomotivehauled commuter trains of the Bundesbahn and became “an immediate success” in terms of ridership (G1). Within the first weeks, the number of passengers along the route rose fourfold – from 2,000 to 8,000 per day, and in the following years, it reached even the six fold of the original level (TTK 2004; Phraner 178 179

The terms “dual-current”, “dual-voltage” and “dual-mode” have often been used synonymously. The vehicles from the first generation were supplied between 1991 and 1995, and a follow-up design was developed in 1997. In the autumn of 2009, 30 new cars from a third generation were ordered (G1). Whereas the oldest vehicles do not offer a barrier-free entry, the newer generations have lower floors and provide for a level access on the parts of their routes equipped with station platforms of 55 cm. (VDV 2014a, pp. 563ff)

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

2002). The increased use of the innovative technology favoured the familiarisation with it and provided for the stabilisation of the emerging technical system in the new environment. Almost half of the new passengers were former car drivers, attracted by the improvements of the local transport services (Phraner 2002). Whereas the previous Bundesbahn connections had a low frequency and terminated at the Karlsruhe main station, from where most commuters and leisure travellers had to continue by tram to their destinations in the city centre, the new light rail line offered a more frequent direct ride from the hinterland into the heart of Karlsruhe and allowed for considerable travel time savings 180. New stops along the existing tracks in Bretten increased the accessibility of public transport from housing areas, schools, and enterprises, and the greater acceleration and deceleration capacity of the tram-trains assured the service of these stops without travel time losses. Furthermore, local bus lines were reorganised and coordinated as feeders to the light-rail route (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). In effect, the total attractiveness of public transport grew in the region and the value of houses located close to the stops along the shared track increased (G1; Phraner 2002). For the former mayor of Karlsruhe Gerhard Seiler 181, the commitment and charisma of Dieter Ludwig, the chief executive of the public transport operator, brought the transport innovation project to fruition (Pflieger et al. 2009). Seiler and Ludwig cooperated closely to come to a settlement with the federal railways company and to find a solution for the various technical, operational and organisational challenges in the appropriation process. Dieter Ludwig was given free rein to realise the project plans and he assumed an important role as mediator between the involved local and regional actors (Bérard 2009; Phraner 2002). Therefore, the system builder Ludwig has been known as “a pioneer in track sharing innovations” and “the German father of track sharing” (Phraner 2002, p. 31). His achievements gained wide recognition nationally and internationally, and in 1995, he became the president of VDV, before two years later, he was elected also as vice-president of UITP. 4.2.3.2

Growth of the regional system

The experience with the first tram-train line encouraged the system builder and its team to seek the wider application of the track sharing concept, which was meanwhile called the “Karlsruhe Model” (Ludwig and Kühn 1995). Their aspirations were backed up by political officials from various close and remote 180

The ride between the railway station in Bretten and the shopping area in Karlsruhe got 15 minutes shorter (TTK 2004). 181 Gerhard Seiler was in office from 1986 to 1998.

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municipalities, who were attracted by the service improvements promised by the innovative technology and expressed the wish to become part of its system. Accordingly, during the 1990s, direct tram-train connections were established to cities and towns located up to 50 kilometres from the centre of Karlsruhe 182. By making use of the existing railroad infrastructure, more frequent and faster light rail services were provided at lower operational costs as compared to the previous commuter train services (G2). Moreover, in some villages that had been bypassed by the available railroad alignments, light rail tracks with additional stops were constructed183. In result, several communities in the hinterland were linked directly to the city centre of Karlsruhe. On some of the corridors, the ridership doubled (Phraner 2002), and modal splits of up to 67% in favour of public transport were achieved (LiRa 2001). The increased use and diffusion of the new technology were especially favoured by the institutional aspects of its appropriation. In order to improve the public transport services beyond the sheer enlargement of the physical infrastructure, in 1992, the City of Karlsruhe and the adjacent counties established the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV). This authority provided for through-ticketing and coordinated timetabling between all public transport modes and that way enhanced the accessibility of the light rail services. In addition, the tram-train system growth profited also from the organisational changes which were enacted by the Federal Act of Regionalisation. With this Act, the responsibility for organising regional rail transport was transferred from the Federal Railway Company (Deutsche Bahn) to regional oversight authorities. They received both the resources and the controls necessary to design and implement new passenger services, and in the case of Karlsruhe, the respective agency provided significant financial support for the further development of regional light rail lines (VDV 2014a, pp. 921ff; G1; G2). The favourable institutional settings and the internal growth dynamics of the light rail system enabled an almost continuous expansion in the two decades after the system establishment such that the light rail network eventually reached a length of 503 kilometres (KVV 2016). The large technical system quickly spread beyond the limits of the Karlsruhe region to serve also remote destinations like Heilbronn, which is located more than 70 kilometres to the north-west of Karlsruhe. The line between the two cities is particular because it not only provides a regional connection between them, but with the extension of 182 183

By 1999, the lines reached Bruchsal, Pforzheim, Wörth, Baden-Baden, and Eppingen (TTK 2004). Single-track sections were built in the main streets of the local centres of Blankenloch, Forchheim and Mörsch. Such a route was preferred to the existing line on the edge of the localities because it was seen as promoting development (G2).

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

the tram-train services in the streets of Heilbronn in 2001, it also embodied the tramway renaissance there. This “technology transfer” provided the basis for the emergence of a local system, which followed the concept from Karlsruhe to extend the urban tramway operations to the hinterland of Heilbronn. In parallel to the growth of the original system and the transfer to Heilbronn, the “Karlsruhe model” was appropriated also in the cities of Saarbrücken, Kassel, Chemnitz and Nordhausen184. Notably, the introduction of the tram-train technology in Saarbrücken in 1998 gave reason to the professional “Eisenbahn-Journal” to report about the new scheme under the title “ an der Saar” 185. In the realm of transportation, the innovative technology had apparently assumed a meaning as a symbol of Karlsruhe and attracted a lot of attention from national and international planning professionals and politicians to the city and its large technical system. 4.2.3.3

Circulation of the Karlsruhe Model

Numerous articles and special editions186 of professional journals were dedicated to the “Karlsruhe model” and that way propelled the circulation of the tram-train concept throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. At the same time, various delegations of transport experts, municipal officers and politicians from all over the world made field trips to Karlsruhe and reinforced its significance as a central site in the international tramway renaissance. The popularity of the “Karlsruhe model” became especially evident in October 2002, when on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of its launch, a conference dedicated to the tram-train concept took place in Karlsruhe. About 300 participants from different European countries attended the event (Hérissé 2002). Almost one quarter of the guests came from France, where the applicability of the innovative technology had been the subject of several studies187 and various cities considered the introduction of tram-trains (Bérard 2009; Hérissé 2002). Eventually, in France, the technology was transferred only to Mulhouse, but in several other places, the study of the Karlsruhe light rail system in the frame of the local development plans strengthened the case for rail-based public transport and facilitated thus the establishment of modern tramways, even if without interconnections with heavy rail infrastructure188. Besides in France and Germany, the concept of the 184

See VDV (2014a, pp. 568-602) for a more detailed description of the historical development and the techno-operational features of the different tram-train systems in Germany. See Klee (1998). 186 See e.g. Numéro Spécial Periurbain (2001), Griffin (2002), Phraner et al. (1999), Ludwig and Kühn (1995), Veinannt and Cacciaguerra (1998), and Hugonnard and Balensi (1998). 187 See e.g. SYSTRA (1997), SYSTRA (1999), SYSTRA (2000), SEMALY (2001), and Perez and Guerin (2002). 188 See Van der Bijl and Kühn (2004). 185

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“Karlsruhe model” circulated also across Italy, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Australia so that until the mid-2000s, more than 80 feasibility studies on its applicability in other locations had been carried out (Van der Bijl and Kühn 2004). Many of these studies were produced by or in cooperation with engineers from Karlsruhe that had been involved in the development of the first tram-train line and the following network expansion. As a response to the growing demand for consultancy, the Karlsruhe transport operator AVG established even a group of experts with the task of transferring the local innovation to other regions in Germany and abroad (G1). Over the years, however, many of the envisioned transfers were eventually given up owing to different reasons such as unsupportive political and regulatory environment189, technical difficulties or negative economic perspectives 190. Bérard (2009) suggests that a large number of the feasibility studies were not necessarily meant to entail an implementation scheme, but were rather marketable products themselves and contributed to make out of the tram-train an “object of desire”. This perpetuated the image of the Karlsruhe light rail system as a “success story”191 and through the circulation of that discourse provided momentum to the international tramway renaissance. 4.2.4 4.2.4.1

Consolidation of the system Kombilösung – the cost of success

The “success story” discourse accompanying the evolution of the Karlsruhe light rail system has tended to minimise the importance of the cost of that success and the dissent and conflicts which surrounded the decisions on how to overcome the reverse salient which had emerged. Following the system expansion, the public transport ridership within the city of Karlsruhe more than doubled – from 50 million journeys in the mid-1980s to 112 million in 2014192, and to provide a sufficient transport capacity, the service frequency along Kaiserstrasse reached one tram per minute (G1; G2). Since the late 1960s, the tram traffic density in this central area of Karlsruhe had been a challenge for the city and transport planners, both as a tram “wall” and a capacity bottleneck for the system (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). In the search for solutions for this reverse salient, a 189

In Germany, the Act of Regionalisation from 1996 made it easier to apply the Karlsruhe model elsewhere. In other countries, comparable institutional arrangements and technological standards have been missing. 190 See Van der Bijl and Kühn (2004) for an extended list of projects which did not proceed and some explanations for the reasons. 191 See Bérard (2009), Hérissé (2002), and Axhausen and Brandl (1999). 192 In addition, the annual trips in the system area outside the city increased from 10 million in the mid-1980s to 52 million in 2014 (KVV 2016; Topp 1999).

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

number of transport studies were launched, the biggest part of which favoured the construction of tunnel alignments (Stadtplanungsamt 1999). The first major study of 1971 reflected the general enthusiasm of the time for underground facilities, especially after potential funds became available with the GVFG decree (Axhausen and Brandl 1999). The proposed extensive underground network could not be financed, however, since considerable sums were allocated for the light rail development in the nearby state capital Stuttgart. In the following years, this constellation made it necessary for the local planners to direct their efforts towards the modernisation and the extension of the existing street-level system. However, as the number of trams along Kaiserstrasse continued to grow with the system expansion even beyond the city limits, the plans for a tunnel reappeared in 1989. At that time the crossing of the shopping street had become much more difficult since the increasing ridership had been handled not only by the operation of more vehicles, but also by longer and wider multiple-unit trams. Once again, an extensive tunnel solution was proposed, but in a period of generally scarce municipal funds, it failed to gain approval from the city authorities. Nonetheless, only three years later, a new study on a tunnel transport facility was launched (Stadtplanungsamt 1999). With construction costs in mind, the experts from the transport operator and the city engineering departments proposed an underground bypass under Kaiserstrasse, which had to accommodate the two recently introduced regional light rail lines, whereas the remaining tram services were to continue operating at street level. The envisioned tunnel provided for a possible later extension to the main station in the south, by the use of an elaborate grade-separated junction. This tunnel option was the first one to be approved by the city council, in a session in December 1992. However, local resistance emerged against this plan which was considered as imposing the cost and consequences of the suburban network growth on the city residents. In the course of the expansion in the region, the city districts of Karlsruhe had fallen behind, while the Karlsruhe residents insisted on a system serving them in the first instance (Axhausen and Brandl 1999; Stolz 2004). Various points of concern were expressed in relation to the infrastructure project, which reflected the general discourses in the frame of the tramway renaissance193. The tunnel was presented as a generally unpleasant ambience, and in addition, the disruption to urban life during the expected long construction period was criticised. Moreover, the associated investments as well as operational and maintenance costs were perceived as irresponsibly high, while at the same time, doubts about the official cost figures persisted. Special attention 193

See Chapter 4.1.4.

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was given to the lack of in-depth studies about the major tunnel alternative – a street-level alignment along Kriegsstrasse, a parallel urban motorway about 400 m south of Kaiserstrasse (Figure 12). A tram track in Kriegsstrasse had emerged as an option already in 1991 (Stadtplanungsamt 1999), since this street had changed its traffic functions in the course of the urban road network redesign. Notwithstanding the objections from the public, the tunnel project, worth 390 million DM, remained the preferred option of the city officials and was approved by the council majority in May 1996 (G1). In the same month, a grassroots movement started a petition against this decision, which led to a citizen’s referendum in October 1996. There, the tunnel proposal was rejected by twothirds of the voters, after a campaign in which the proposers did not fully engage (G1; Axhausen and Brandl 1999).

Figure 12: The Kriegstrasse in Karlsruhe as of 2015

The vote results entailed a search for alternatives based on new alignments in Kriegsstrasse, which promised also opportunities for the redevelopment of the southern inner city (Topp 1999). However, the city authorities were not willing to reduce the car traffic volume in favour of a frequent light rail service in Kriegstrasse, so that only two lines were eventually considered for rerouting

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along that street (KASIG 2008). In effect, the result of the formal socioeconomic assessment for building an on-ground route was negative, meaning that new alternatives had to be developed. In a path-dependent manner, the public transport company and the technical departments of the city administration reinstated their preference for a tunnel facility under Kaiserstraße and were backed by the local politicians in power. In the frame of the urban planning activities for the upcoming 300th anniversary of Karlsruhe, the creation of a tram-free pedestrian zone in the centre of the city was declared a key project which would allow for strengthening the vitality of the urban core in times of an increased city competition194. Still, the accompanying public participation process called “City 2015” revealed the persisting rejection of an underground alignment by a large number of citizens, while there appeared to be a wide public consensus about the desirability of a street-level route in Kriegsstrasse (Ka-News 2002). In this constellation, the mayor of Karlsruhe Heinz Fenrich found a way for the discursive appropriation of both infrastructural elements within the light rail system. He suggested the creation of a compound project called “Kombilösung” as a solution for the reverse salient of the light rail system and a tool for urban redevelopment in the southern inner city195. To provide for these goals the project had to comprise a tunnel under Kaiserstrasse with a southern branch totalling 3.5 km of length, as well as a tram line in Kriegsstrasse with a 1.2-km long road tunnel beneath (KASIG 2016; G1). The infrastructure project is schematically depicted in Figure 13. The “Kombilösung” finally became the object of a referendum in late 2002 and was endorsed by about 55% of the voters.

194 195

See Stadt Karlsruhe (2011). See Stadt Karlsruhe (2011).

Source: taken from the official project brochure at KASIG (2016)

Figure 13: Schematic overview of the “Kombilösung”

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The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

Despite the results of the public vote, the project remained a contentious issue which re-emerged in sessions of the municipal council also more than a decade after the referendum196. The necessity of a tunnel facility was still questioned, given the rather limited improvements in terms of public transport attractiveness and operational stability197. Moreover, the cost for the ”Kombilösung” significantly exceeded the initial estimations. At the end of the planning approval process in late 2005, the calculated total cost was 496 million euros (Karlsruhe Stadtzeitung 2005), and after several adjustments, this figure was updated to 897 million in December 2014 (KASIG 2016). Out of this sum, nearly 600 million euros were dedicated to the construction of the light rail tunnel (KASIG 2016). In light of the considerable cost increases and the absolute magnitude of the investment, the Green party called for a revision and the abandonment of the “Kombilösung”198, but the other major political parties in Karlsruhe backed by the funding institutional commitments sustained the infrastructure project. The availability of GVFG subsidies, covering about half of the total costs, in combination with a cross-subsidy from the local multi-utility company199 reinforced the discursive adherence to the technological choice made and were decisive for the materialisation of the underground idea after four decades of planning. The construction of the tunnel facility under Kaiserstrasse was presented as a key project for the public transport and the future development of Karlsruhe200, and was launched as the first measure for the implementation of the “Kombilösung”. The decision of the municipal council to prioritise the tunnel over the redesign of Kriegsstrasse can be seen as a symbolic act underlining the importance attached to the facility and physically fixing the technological choice of the local authorities. Therefore, the construction of the street-level alignment in Kriegstrasse had to wait for the completion of the light rail tunnel in 2017 201, although the reverse sequence of works would have saved the costs for track relocation and vehicle rerouting during the underground works.

196

See e.g. Karlsruhe Gemeinderat (2014). The project has promised shorter travel times for the users, but the officially calculated time saving of 4 minutes while crossing the tunnel can be lost for the passengers alone for getting in and out of the underground stations. Furthermore, in 2010, an expert report critically reviewed the operational capacity of the tunnel and claimed that it is theoretically and practically impossible to achieve the intended throughput of 33 trains in the peak hour, which would be even lower than the on-ground service frequency. The triangular junction in combination with the timetable for the southern branch was seen as the reason for that. See Vieregg-Rössler (2010). 198 See Deutscher Bundestag (2009) and Deutscher Bundestag (2010). 199 See KASIG (2016). 200 See KASIG (2016). 201 See KASIG (2016). 197

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4.2.4.2

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The current development

With the development of the “Kombilösung” after 2000, the light rail system of Karlsruhe started to consolidate. In parallel to the large infrastructure project, some further extensions of the urban tram network took place, but at a lower scale and pace than in the previous decades. In particular, besides a few route extensions in the outer districts, some links between the radial routes in the city were built (G2). These new sections brought some enrichment to the style of the maturing system. Under the influence of the French tram renaissance and especially the close-by example of the Strasbourg system, the new sections were constructed not only following purely functional considerations but also with a better integration into the streetscape in mind. Therefore, predominantly grassed track was used and tree lines were planted along large parts of the new routes and especially along the alignment to Nordstadt (G2; G1). For the design of that line, the city administration hired the French landscape architect Alfred Peter from Strasbourg, who gave a distinction to the tram corridor by the integration of some aesthetic ornaments in the stop facilities in addition to the extensive use of greenery (Figure 14). The French touch of the tram appropriation was accepted very positively by the wide public and the officials in Karlsruhe, and brought a design prize for the city (G1; G2). The establishment of a showcase for infrastructure integration in the urban environment did not change the overall system style, however, as the planning efforts in Karlsruhe have been still focused on the functional optimisation. A particular emphasis has been placed in the last years on the maintenance efficiency improvement and the upgrade of the tram stop facilities for providing a barrier-free access to the system (G2). These consolidation and rationalisation activities are expected to dominate the system development also in the near future.

Figure 14: Material elements of the green line in Karlsruhe

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4.2.5

The gradual and multifaceted development of tramway systems in Germany

Summary

The evolution of the light rail system of Karlsruhe is a paradigmatic case of the international tramway renaissance which highlighted the virtues of comprehensive rail-bound public transport for an urban region. At the same time, it is also an extreme case owing to the extraordinary, nearly continuous growth of the system and the pioneered technological innovations. After the Second World War, the Karlsruhe authorities not only preserved the old tramway network but actively engaged in its expansion and upgrade to a modern light rail system, and that way provided momentum to the overall tramway renaissance in Germany. The traditional tram of Karlsruhe was methodically converted into a qualitatively new system, which became famous all over the world through the integration of innovative tram-train services reaching from the city centre far into the hinterland. This development was widely acclaimed by transport planning professionals and academics and that way provided an image to the system of being a real success story of the tramway renaissance. But the success has been relativized by the emergence of a reverse salient in the form of a capacity bottleneck at the core of the infrastructure network and the following controversy about the way to overcome it. Instead of asserting the street-level character of the light rail system and exploiting its potential as an urban development tool, the local decision-makers insisted on the implementation of a large-scale tunnelbased solution drafted several decades ago. The path-dependent decision of constructing a light rail tunnel largely contradicts the tramway renaissance paradigm of favouring on-ground alignments and therefore presents the Karlsruhe system, which had been hitherto considered as a salient example of the tram renaissance, also as a critical case. The dissent and conflict surrounding this decision and its monetary consequences pose also the question whether the success of a system in terms of its extensive growth is not a problem for its future. 4.3 4.3.1

The light rail system of Hannover City profile

Hannover is located in the North of Germany, about 230 km west of Berlin and about 200 km south of Hamburg. Since 1946, it has been the capital of the state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony), and with more than 520,000 inhabitants, it is by far the largest city in the state and the 11th most populous in Germany (Hannover 2015). In the 1960s, Hannover, together with the adjacent middle-

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sized towns in its hinterland, constituted the Region Hannover 202 as an institutionalised platform for inter-municipal cooperation. From the beginning, the Region Hannover has had a mono-centric structure strongly influenced by the core city, which has accommodated almost half of the total population. Because of its political, economic and cultural importance, the city of Hannover has had a predominant position not only in the Region, but also in the whole state of Niedersachsen (Siedentop et al. 2005, p. 283; Menke 1987). In the last decades of the twentieth century, there was a slight decline in the industrial basis of the city, so that it lost some employment but this loss has been by far outweighed by the growing service sector (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 74; Stein, Wolf and Hesse 2005, pp. 283ff). In terms of transportation, Hannover has been a main multi-modal node in Germany, at the intersection of two national motorways and several major railroads, with the central railway station of the city being one of the most important in the national network, with links in all directions (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 74; Stein, Wolf and Hesse 2005, pp. 283ff.). In addition to the various long-distance connections, Hannover has also had a balanced local transport system with a public transport network that has been viewed by experts as highly efficient, especially after the upgrade and modernisation in the late twentieth century (Siedentop et al. 2005, p. 283). Accordingly, the modal split share for urban public transport in 2011 was 19% and was one of the highest in Germany203. A central public transport element in the city and its hinterland has been the light rail system which evolved from the traditional urban tramway. 4.3.2 4.3.2.1

The evolution of the light rail system The old tramway

The tramway transport in Hannover began in 1872 when the first horse-drawn line was established. In the following years, more lines were launched and the network rapidly expanded over large parts of the city area. With the takeover of the existing lines by a new tramway company founded in 1892, which has operated the Hannover tramway system since then and was later named Üstra (Überlandwerke und Straßenbahnen Hannover AG 204), the electrification of the network was launched. In 1893, the first electric tram ran in the city, and by 202

Until 2001, Region Hannover was called “Kommunalverband Großraum Hannover” (Communal Association of Greater Hannover). 203 At the same time, the motor traffic share of 38% was relatively moderate and had decreased by 6% from 2002 to 2011. See Gruschwitz and Follmer (2013, pp. 47-51). 204 Üstra was in private hands until 1969, when the enduring poor financial outcomes led to a takeover of the operator by the municipality (G3).

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1897, all routes had been electrified, although there was some initial reluctance from local officials toward the appearance of the overhead wires in the city centre. Within less than a decade after the electrification, the tram network grew from a total length of 39 to more than 160 kilometres and reached far into the hinterland to link the cities of Hildesheim, Barsinghausen and Burgwedel, all located some 30 kilometres and more away from Hannover (KGH 2000, pp. 45). In 1899, also freight tram operations started to carry goods from the vicinity into the city centre and the adjacent factories. Thus, already in the early twentieth century, an extensive tram network emerged, which established the tramway as the main public transport mode in Hannover. In the following decades, the Hannover tramway system remained one of the largest among all German cities of comparable size (Guhl 1975, p. 13). The damage and material scarcity during the Second World War and the years thereafter entailed a short decline of the system, with the termination of freight traffic and the replacement of the overland sections by cheaper motor bus services in the 1950s. Furthermore, like in other German and Western European cities, the immediate post-war period in Hannover was marked by a significant growth of the motorisation rate of the population. Following the model of the “car-oriented” city in the frame of reconstruction of the war-ravaged capital of Niedersachsen, a large-scale road infrastructure was established in order to facilitate the urban car traffic flow. The rising number of private cars soon led to serious traffic congestions on the arterial roads and in the city centre of Hannover, where the tramway had to run in the mixed traffic and suffered therefore massive delays and operational disruptions. Due to the obstructions, the average operational speed of the tram dropped to 8 km/h in the centre and so was barely higher than a walking pace (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, pp. 4546). In effect, the tramway ridership started to decrease in the 1950s, and reached its minimum in 1968, when only 75 million journeys were registered 205 (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, p. 45). The tramway system was apparently facing a “reverse salient” (Hughes 1987) that was constraining its functionality and evolution. 4.3.2.2

Genesis of the light rail systems

Against the background of the rapidly increasing motor traffic and the associated decline of the tramway system in Hannover, it was realised that the tramway operations in mixed traffic presented a “critical problem” (Hughes 1987), which was to be solved by providing the public transport mode with an own right-of205

Three years earlier, in 1965, there were still 92 million passengers (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, p. 45).

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way. This measure was expected to allow for faster and more reliable operations irrespective of the general traffic (G3; Guhl 1975, p. 79). Therefore, already in 1959, there were plans to gradually put the existing tramway lines underground and that way assure their undisturbed services. The looming suburbanisation and the associated population growth in the hinterland, however, gave a reason to modify the initial plans into such for a fully-fledged metro system capable of carrying large passenger volumes at high speeds over longer distances (Menke 1987). In the following years, various schemes were studied, until finally in June 1965, the city council made the decision to gradually develop the existing tramway into a metro system. The construction works started already that same year but could continue only for a few months due to the lack of sufficient local financial resources to realise the biggest infrastructure project in Northern Germany at the time (G3; Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006). Therefore, the works had to be put on hold for two years and were resumed not before 1967, when the federal government created the basis for large-scale investments in communal transport infrastructure by earmarking part of the national fuel excise tax revenue206 (G3). The high degrees of technical and institutional uncertainty posited by Hughes (1987) for the establishing phase of large technical systems became apparent in Hannover and required the development of new forms of organisation and governance to enable the system evolution. The provision of subsidies from the West German Federation and the State of Niedersachsen, which agreed to cover more than three-quarters of the cost for the new rail-borne system in Hannover, allowed for the actual system building to start (G3). A special underground construction authority (U-Bahn-Bauamt) was established under the direction of the Berlin engineer Klaus Scheelhaase, which was responsible for the planning, design and building of the tunnel facilities and the technical equipment (G3). Sheelhaase held the director office until 1994, when the authority was abolished, and he significantly shaped the system building in Hannover207 (G3). Besides him, several other experienced transport planners and consultants were recruited from Berlin and Hamburg, where metro systems had already been operating for decades (G3). Their know-how in underground construction and operations was to be used in the process of local technology appropriation marked by the transition from a traditional tramway to a tunnelbased metro system (G3).

206 207

See Chapter 4.1.3.2. For this reason, he has been known as the “father” of the light rail system in Hannover.

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Figure 15: The network concept of the Hannover light rail system Source: taken from LHH (1975, p. 5)

The Hanover underground network was conceived to be the backbone of public transport in the city (G3) with four trunk tunnels labelled A, B, C and D (Figure 15). Like in the metro network of Berlin, separate tunnels were planned to accommodate the different service lines in order to permit high timetable reliability (G3). The trunks had to be connected at three main interchange stations in the centre of Hannover, including the central railway station and the three-level station facility at Kröpcke, at the heart of the main shopping area. Each trunk had to link two of these main stations, so that every stop on the network could be reached with a single transfer. Furthermore, every destination in the city centre had to lie within a five minute walk from the closest underground station (KGH 1995, p. 2). The tunnels were designed for metro vehicles with widths of 2.9 metres, and were equipped with full signalling and built with large curve radii to allow for maximum speeds of 70 km/h (Menke 1987, p. 245). In addition, high-level platforms with a length of up to 103 metres were set up to enable fast, barrier-free boarding and alighting (G3; Menke 1987,

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p. 245). The chosen infrastructure parameters for the tunnel facilities allowed thus for full metro operations like in the big European metropolises. Despite the ambitious plans to build a complete metro system, which were present also in other German cities of a similar size at that time, it was soon recognised that a classical metro for Hannover was not financially feasible and could not be built in a reasonable period of time. As noticed in Chapter 2, the import of whole-scale solutions into particular place constellations is rather difficult, so that a technological system usually needs to be adapted to the characteristics of a new environment and to align to its dynamic. In Hannover, on-ground routes permitting a faster completion as compared to tunnel facilities were deemed a reasonable alternative to classical metro alignments which would enable a rapid network expansion keeping pace with the urban development (G3). Hence, the initial system plans had to be altered such that only the city centre route sections would be underground, while in the other parts of the city, the tracks had to be at street level. To cater for a high ridership, the aboveground routes were built along the main radial traffic corridors and mostly followed the old tram alignments, directly connecting that way the main trip attractors and generators also outside the inner city (G3; Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006). Unlike the historical tramway, however, the aboveground sections of the new system had to receive an own right-of-way (G3). Accordingly, from the 1970s on, signal priority was gradually installed at the junctions with motor traffic so that the public transport vehicles can pass without waiting times, and in the frame of GVFG funding, all relevant traffic signals were eventually adjusted until the mid-1990s208 (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006). Hanover’s light rail system was planned in combination with a completely new lay-out of the city centre, which had been partly rebuilt in its old historic form after the damage of the Second World War (Hass-Klau 1984). The main shopping street, in which the old tram had been running, was changed to a pedestrian zone, with the new light rail lines routed underground. Furthermore, the trough motor traffic was banned from wide adjacent areas in the city centre, which were also pedestrianized, and greenery and trees were planted in the newly won space (Menke 1987; p. 47). The residential areas close by also experienced large schemes of traffic calming, and these improvements of living conditions in connection with the light rail construction contributed to the ending of population loss in the inner city from the early 1980s on (G3; Hass-Klau 1984). The tunnel construction and the upgrade of the on-ground alignments 208

There has been no signal priority only at three intersections in the Hildesheim County, outside the Hannover Region (Siefer and Kollenberg 2010, p. 4; Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006).

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allowed for the rearrangement of the street space also along the main urban road corridors, where wider pedestrian sidewalks and bike routes were established and the pavement was renewed (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006). Moreover, in the existing built-up areas, a higher land-use density was permitted in the vicinity of stations in order to promote the use of the system by a larger number of people and thus stimulate a modal shift away from the private car (G3; Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006). For the same reasons, several new residential districts and, in particular, large-scale housing estates209 were connected to the light rail network and were developed in such a way as to increase the coverage of the stations and allow a walking access to them for a maximum number of residents. Therefore, it can be noticed that important elements of the idea of coordinating transport and spatial policies and planning, which has been recently circulating among academic scholars and professionals210, are discernible in the rationale guiding the light rail system building. The combination of metro-like sections within the inner city and tram-like alignments with an own right-of-way outside, which was originally regarded an intermediary development state, has endured in the long term and became the core of the Hannover system, in particular, and the basis of the concept of light rail, in general. The public transport authority in Hannover was the first one in Germany, and also in Europe, to introduce an evolutionary system developed from an existing tram network, and it coined the term Stadtbahn, later translated as light rail, to distinguish the new system from the old tramways (G3; HassKlau et al. 2004, p. 74). Therefore, in the process of appropriation, the technology and the associated concept were incorporated not only into the existing material structures in the city, but also into the prevailing linguistic patterns. To make the emerging technological system “suit the place” (Hughes 1983, p. 405), a new type of vehicle was specially designed for the Hannover light rail network by the manufacturers Siemens and DÜWAG, which allowed for the faster transport of larger passenger volumes than by the traditional trams (Menke 1987, p. 248). The high vehicle floor permitted level boarding from platforms with a height of 820 mm within the tunnel and most separated route parts, while the entry was to be by retractable steps where the right-of-way is shared211 (Figure 16).

209 210 211

E.g. Mühlenberg, Roderbruch and Kronsberg. See Chapter 3.2.3. In anticipation of the equipment of all stations with a high platform by 2030, a new generation of vehicles without folding steps was ordered in 2013 to gradually replace the first generation rolling stock (G4).

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Figure 16: The Hannover light rail vehicle with retractable steps

4.3.2.3

Expansion of the light rail system

The light rail operations in Hannover started in September 1975, when the first section of the A-tunnel under the city centre was inaugurated, and gradually replaced the city’s tramway over the course of the following 20 years. The diffusion of the new technology went along with an increased use of its services, which favoured the familiarisation with it and the stabilisation of the technological system in the environment. Already in 1978, shortly before the completion of the first tunnel route, a survey carried out in urban areas around the new light rail stations found that the emerging new system had a strong support from the population in Hannover. Despite the disturbance of city life caused by the construction works, more than 90 per cent of the respondents considered the light rail system a good investment, and 81 per cent believed that the further expansion of the system should be a first priority in the city’s transportation planning (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 58-59). In the following years, the light rail network was progressively extended. In 1982, the B-tunnel was completed, and in 1993, the service on the C-tunnel was launched, while in parallel a number of on-ground routes were upgraded to light rail standards and extended also beyond the city limits (G3). In this period, the light rail ridership grew from 85 million journeys in 1975 to 108 million ten years later; and by 1995, two years after the completion of the underground network part, it had

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reached 112 million passengers, which equalled an increase of 50% as compared to 1968 (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, p. 45). Already then, the forecast value of 330,000 riders per day, defined in the system plans from the sixties, had been exceeded (G3). The continuous network expansion, together with the higher travel speeds and the enhanced service reliability on the routes with an own right-of-way have been seen by transport planning professionals as decisive factors for the patronage growth (Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, p. 45; G3). In addition, the creation of a unified transport authority for Hannover in 1970, which set a common fare structure and coordinated schedules for the transport services in the city and the region (G3), was an important act of appropriation at the institutional level and played a significant role in increasing the attractiveness of public transport. Moreover, efforts were also made to create an appealing ambience in the passenger facilities of the light rail system. Some architectural elements were integrated in the interior of the underground stations built in the 1970s and 1980s in order to aesthetically enhance the otherwise purely functional space and make the use of the underground infrastructure, in particular, and of the system, in general, a more pleasant experience (G3). The considerable passenger growth suggests that the measures to make the use of the light rail technology part of the daily routines in Hannover were fruitful. In effect, by the mid-1990s, the system development had gained a substantial momentum. In the second half of the 1990s, the system experienced a further expansion, after Hannover had been awarded to host the 2000 World Exposition (Expo 2000). In light of the many expected visitors for this event, the entire public transport system in the city and the region was modernised and extended (Üstra 2016, p. 63; G3). Backed by generous subsidies from the federal government and the state of Niedersachsen, a light rail link between the C-tunnel and the Hannover fairground in the south of the city was established, and the bus and light rail fleets were significantly increased and modernised 212. Thanks to the automatic buffer technology of the new rolling stock generation, longer train units 213 could be flexibly put in operation on some lines instead of increasing the service frequency in rush hours as before, and this presented an economically more efficient way of increasing the transport capacity of the light rail system (Siefer and Kollenberg 2010, pp. 8f.).

212

The total cost for the construction of this link amounted to about 385 million DM, from which 91% were covered by the state and the Federation (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 74). The purchase of the new light rail rolling stock was also subsidised with a 90%-grant (G4). 213 The second generation of light rail cars, which entered service between 1997 and 2000, could be coupled to three-unit trains with a length of 75 meters (Siefer and Kollenberg 2010, pp. 8f., p. 46).

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After the massive investments in preparation of the Expo 2000214, a period of “high-level stagnation” of the public transport development in Hannover began (Siedentop et al. 2005, p. 293). The light-rail network was still growing, but only by few short additions at the urban fringe and in the suburbs (G4). By 2016, the light rail network reached 127 kilometres of length, with 19 kilometres of tunnel sections and altogether more than 80% of an own right-of-way (Üstra 2008a; G4). In effect, the system covers nearly the whole city area and more than 70% of the urban population live within a radius of 500 metres from a light rail station (G4)215, while some lines extend also into the hinterland216. Therefore, the light rail network is considered as generally completed (G4) and the construction of only two new sections is planned for the near future 217. Because of the extensive light-rail network, buses have played a supplementary role in the public transport of Hannover mainly connecting the city outskirts to the light rail stations or providing tangential links between the light rail routes 218 (G4; Siedentop et al. 2005, p. 292). In effect, with more than 125 million journeys per year 219 and an annual ridership growth of one per cent, the light rail carries more than threequarters of the public transport passengers in Hannover (G4; Region Hannover 2015, pp. 48f.). According to the transport operator Üstra, the system capacity allows for the service of 50% more travellers without the need of additional infrastructure expansion (G4). That’s why the focus of the system planning activities is set on the renovation of the oldest underground infrastructure, the increasing of the share of tracks with an own right-of way and the upgrade of station facilities to provide a fully barrier-free access to public transport, as required by the law (G4). Currently, three-quarters of all the light rail stations are equipped with a high platform, and the rest is to be upgraded by 2030 (G4; Üstra 2016, pp. 4, 26). Based on the slowdown of the system growth and its high level of maturity, it can be concluded that the Hannover light rail has entered the development phase of consolidation220. 214

The total investment in the transport systems in the Region Hannover, including also the upgrade of the motorway network, amounted to 1.25 billion euros (Üstra 2016, p. 63). 215 In the course of light rail development, the number of the old tram stops was basically not reduced and the average spacing has remained at ca. 600 metres (Menke 1987, p. 252; G3). Currently, there are 198 light rail stations in the Region Hannover (Üstra 2016, p. 4). 216 In particular, the light rail network reaches into the neighbouring towns of Isernhagen, Garbsen, Laatzen, Langenhagen, and Sarstedt (G3; Scheelhaase and Straßburger 2006, p. 45). 217 See Region Hannover (2015, p. 241). 218 Several bus lines operate also beyond the city boundaries and serve as extensions for the light rail. In the inner city, there are two 16-km long ring lines linking various important sites and complementing thereby the rail also in the centre (G4; Üstra 2008b). 219 This means that there were more than 550,000 passengers per day. See for more details Region Hannover (2015, pp. 48ff.) and Üstra (2016, p. 2). 220 See Hughes (1987).

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Within every stage of its development from a historic tram to light rail, the system was considered by transport planning professionals as successful in its flexibility of offering full use for the passengers and its contribution to the improvement of the traffic situation in the city centre (Topp 1998; G3). Therefore, the concept of the new system started circulating in parallel to its evolution. Since the mid-1970s various German and international delegations of transport experts and city officials interested in the Hannover light rail have been hosted in the city, while Klaus Scheelhaase was invited to present the Stadtbahn system in international forums and professional journals 221 (G3). The local experiences and problem solving capacities added that way to the “global pool” (Hughes 1983) of technology and know-how, and served as a reference visualising the merits of light rails. Over the following decades, the concept and associated technology were appropriated by several cities in the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries in the world222, so that light rails became an important element of the tramway renaissance. 4.3.3

Under or above ground – a critical decision about the future of a mature system

The comprehensive technical core of the light rail system in Hannover was edified consistently following the design plans from the 1960s, but one of the proposed major network links– the so called D-trunk – has not been built. Originally, this link was envisioned to comprise a tunnel crossing the inner city from the West to the South in the form of an arc (Figure 17). In anticipation of the projected underground route section, provisions for the fourth tunnel were constructed at the main transfer stations already in the 1970s and 1980s 223. However, the scarcity of public funds and the abandonment of plans for several new large-housing estates in Hannover which had conditioned the consideration of the D-trunk put any plans for the public transport link on hold. A window of opportunity for the realisation of the tunnel appeared though, when the city was chosen to host the Expo 2000 fair and the federal government indicated that infrastructure projects in Hannover would be treated with priority in light of the upcoming event. (G3)

221

See e.g. Scheelhaase (1980) and Scheelhaase (1982). Besides in Western Europe, a similar system was developed also in Tunis, where the same light rail vehicles as those deployed in Hannover were used (Topp 1998). 223 In particular, an empty station was built under the central railway station and a special arrangement of pillars at two other stations to allow for the later construction of a tunnel underneath. Furthermore, the local land use plans had prohibited also the shoring of areas needed for the D-tunnel, as for instance under a shopping centre opened in 2008. (G3) 222

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Figure 17: Schematic map of the light rail tunnel tracks in Hannover Source: taken from LHH (1993, p. 32)224

In 1990, the city administration of Hannover published a position paper in which it strongly advocated the construction of the D-tunnel as an integral part of the original light rail network concept. It argued that the underground facility would allow for shorter travel times and easier transfers to the other trunk lines, increase the service reliability and punctuality, and provide new space for urban development (LHH 1990). Within the formal assessment procedure for an investment in the favoured infrastructure link, the calculated benefit-cost indicator for the construction of a 3-km long tunnel equalled 1.8 by total costs of 350 million DM. For the western 1.7-km part alone, the ratio was even 2.5 by total costs of 220 million DM, whereas the equivalent value for a street-level alternative was 1.2, by total costs of 80 million DM (LHH 1990, p. 14). Hence, 224

Not all the names of stations are presented here, unlike in the original publication.

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the calculated monetised benefits of the tunnel facility outweighed the higher investment sum and, within the logic of the assessment procedure, the western section of the D-trunk was to be built in the first stage of its development. In 1995, also the Region administration, which has been the authority responsible for the organisation and planning of public transport in the city of Hannover and the neighbouring towns and communities, argued for the construction of a tunnel. Based on several technical and transport planning studies, they declared that the facility would offer better transport and urban development perspectives in the long term. Besides safer, more efficient and reliable services, the tunnel would increase the attractiveness of the whole public transport network and particularly of the multi-modal transport hub Hannover railway station. This would present an important competitive advantage for the city as a business location. Because of the ensuing separation of transport modes and liberation of street space, no opposition from the public was expected. In contrast, they argued that an alternative on-ground alignment would cause conflicts with motorists, pedestrians as well as land use activities in the city centre, and would be much more difficult to become accepted (KGH 1995). As a whole, the position and arguments of the public authorities reflected the continuing technological preference of the public transport operator for underground facilities and displayed thus a certain form of discursive path dependence originating from the plans and decisions of the 1960s. Despite the favourable results of the socio-economic analysis and the accomplishment of all formalities required for the final planning approval in 1992, the construction of the tunnel was not launched. Besides the local budgetary constraints, it was mainly due to the stance of the Green Party which has been firmly against any plans for new underground sections and as a coalition partner in the local government has prevented the realisation of such plans since the late 1980s (G3, G4). Instead, the Green Party and the new generation of like-minded transport planners called for an evolution of the “light rail philosophy” – away from the infrastructure oriented approach of the 1970s towards more operational improvements and a more appealing integration in the cityscape. In the style of the “tramway renaissance” in France and the USA, street-level routes were suggested as the preferred form of the future network expansion in Hannover and a means to regain public space from the motor traffic (BIU 1989). In the new political environment, two years after the completion of the C-tunnel in 1993, the underground construction authority of Hannover was abolished and the Region administration assumed the responsibility for the further light rail system development. As a body, representing the interests of both the city of Hannover and the surrounding communities, the Region administration set the focus of the planning and implementation activities mainly

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on the extension of light rail lines beyond the limits of Hannover (G4). The increase of the geographical scope of the services was thus prioritised over infrastructural projects in the city centre aiming at operational improvements. With the put of any tunnel plans on hold, two tramway lines, which were to be replaced by the D-trunk in the inner city, continued running in the mixed traffic of the city centre streets (Figure 18), while all the other tram tracks in the centre had been removed with the completion of the tunnels A, B and C. The peripheral parts of the two tramway lines had been upgraded to light rail standards, but their section in the city centre still had the character of an old tram alignment with some narrow curves and no right-of-way. In this state, they offered low average travel speeds and rather inconvenient transfer possibilities to the tunnel lines, while along their route, particularly in the railway station area, they had had a barrier effect on pedestrians’ and cyclists’ paths. Therefore, they had been seen as the “weak point” of the light rail system (KGH 1995) and a general consensus had emerged that the street-level tram operation needed to be improved (G3; G4). However, the question of how to overcome this “reverse salient” led to serious controversies in the public debates.

Figure 18: A light rail vehicle operating in the mixed traffic in Hannover

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After a decade of no progress in the plans for improving the service on the concerned lines, the director of the transport operator ÜSTRA raised the issue in the mid-2000s pointing to a potential increase of the yearly operational profit of the company in case of the construction of a tunnel. However, the associated investment costs could not be borne by the local authorities alone, so that the eligibility for a GVFG-subsidy had to be demonstrated in the frame of a formal cost-benefit analysis. In November 2009, the analysis results for three options with a sufficient benefit-cost ratio were presented: a street-level alignment with a segregated track, one with a non-segregated track, and an underground route (Infraplan 2009). The street-level solution with a segregated track was deemed the best because of the low initial investment, but in a planning horizon of 40 years, the tunnel infrastructure promised the highest financial results. A route with a shared right-of-way was discarded as the worst option. The head of the transport department in the Region Hannover described the situation as a “classical dilemma”, because the suggested best case with a segregated track was a “no go” for the Hannover city planning administration due to the barrier effect and visual intrusion that would result in the central urban area (Haase 2009). At the same time, the Region alone could not afford the necessary share of 32.6 million out of a total investment of 130 million euros for the underground route, and the city of Hannover was not able to assume the pro rata cost either. For these reasons, the Region president and the city mayor agreed not to realise any of the presented project variants (Region Hannover 2009). In spite of several following studies and political calls in favour of a tunnel, in March 2011, the Region administration announced that it had scrapped any tunnel plans due to their prohibitive cost and it would concentrate on finding a street-level solution for the two remaining surface lines (Region Hannover 2011). At the request of several environmental associations and the co-ruling Green Party, not only the employed high-floor vehicle technology was considered a feasible option for the upgrade of the network segment. Rather, they advocated the introduction of lowfloor tramways on the two service lines as a first step of establishing a second technological (sub-) system in Hannover.

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Figure 19: The high-platform station infrastructure in Hannover

For the proponents of the idea of introducing low-floor tramways in Hannover, the operating high-floor system was old-fashioned, the path-dependent outcome of a decision in the 1970s when no alternatives were available, and the adherence to it resulted from purely functional constraints and technical considerations, without valuing the impact on urbanity. The high-floor platforms of the light rail stations were seen as barriers in the public space inhibiting integration into dense urban areas225, so that the system would not be flexible enough to adapt to the future urban development (Figure 19). In contrast, a low floor system could have more stops located closer to the trip origins and destinations and thereby increase the overall mobility in the city. Hence, the introduction of modern low-floor tramways on the two lines was suggested as the basis for future expansions (Schnüll 2011; Gardemin 2012226; BIU and VCD 2010). In general, the low-floor technology was presented as a tool for a reorientation of the public transport development and the establishment of a new mobility understanding and practice in Hannover, associated with the reduction of motor traffic in favour of public transport and the soft mobility modes (SRL 2009; BIU and VCD 2010; Gardemin 2012). In this connection, the existing street-level tram alignment was 225

In fact, the plans of the transport operator to install high platforms in a narrow street in the West of Hannover met with a massive opposition in the city administration as well from the local residents and politicians (Region Hannover 2011). 226 Gardemin (2012) is a position paper bundling the arguments, forwarded especially by the Green party.

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to be rerouted in the inner city of Hannover, where it was supposed to provide an impulse to the urban renewal of the area at the backside of the railway station and increase the general accessibility of the neighbourhood (SRL 2009). Notably, the construction of a new tram route section in this area required the demolition of a flyover which had been erected in the post-war years under the paradigm of the car-oriented city (Figure 20). Therefore, the suggested introduction of low-floor tramways including the replacement of an intrusive road facility in favour of a public transport route was not just a response to current geographically limited problems but was to be seen also as an important symbolic act. The French tramway renaissance and especially the example of Strasbourg were often referred to in order to accentuate the potential contribution of a low-floor street tram to liveability, urbanity and perceived safety (G4). By and large, the arguments produced by the proponents of a second technological (sub-)system in Hannover reflected the general discourse presented in Chapter 4.1.4.

Figure 20: The flyover at the backside of the main railway station in Hannover

It took an year, until in June 2012, the parliament of the Region Hannover eventually voted for keeping and expanding only the high-floor system, and thus against low-floor tramways (Nagel 2012). A study on behalf of the public

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transport operator Üstra deemed a second (sub-)system in Hannover too expensive in terms of acquisition, operations and maintenance cost 227. At the same time, low-floor vehicles could not serve the tunnel stations and would therefore reduce the operational flexibility of the operator (Siefer and Kollenberg 2010). Therefore, the economies of scale offered by a homogeneous rolling stock and the perspective of a faster completion of the light rail system by using the existing technology rather than introducing a new one were crucial factors for the vote of the majority of deputies. Therefore, the significant investments in the incumbent technological core of the socio-technical system and its institutionalisation prevented the redirection of its development path. Besides the idea of supplementary low-floor lines in Hannover, also the plans of extending the street level route and demolishing the flyover at the backside of the railway station had to be abandoned after intensive and controversial public debates about the project and its cost of nearly 70 million euros (Schinkel 2013). In the city council, the opposition parties together with the social democrats, which had been in power in a coalition with the Green Party since the 1980s, looked critically at the plans because of the implied negative impacts on the motor traffic flow in the city centre and the doubts on the eligibility of the whole project for funding (Haase 2012). In fact, at the end of 2012, it became clear that the cost of 15 million euros for the demolition of the flyover will not be subsidised, so that the envisioned new tram track section in the neighbourhood at the backside of the railway station had to be given up (Schinkel 2013; G4). This meant that also the envisioned symbolic act of changing the transport mode priorities in the inner city could not materialise. The “battle of the systems” presented above featured another aspect which caused controversies in Hannover. In order to comply with the legal requirements for providing physical accessibility to the high floor vehicles to all passengers, the transport operating company has to equip all light rail stops with high-profile platforms. For aesthetic reasons, the city administration discarded the installation of such platforms at the existing stop location in the square in front of the main station, and this necessitated alternative concepts for the remaining street-level tramlines in the inner city of Hannover. The meanwhile 227

Low floor tramcars feature higher purchase prices and maintenance costs, due to the faster wear and tear of their smaller wheels, as compared to high floor vehicles, although low-floor trams would require less elaborated and cheaper stop facilities than the existing high platforms in Hannover. Based on the data from other cities in Germany, which have been operating high-floor and low-floor networks, the extra cost for low floor systems were determined as 20% for rolling stock maintenance and 15% for infrastructure maintenance. In sum, the calculations suggested that low-floor services on the existing tramline in Hannover will incur additional costs of about 850.000 euros per year. (Siefer and Kollenberg 2010)

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retired Klaus Scheelhaase suggested an operational approach of splitting the tramlines and routing their vehicles alternately on-ground to the periphery of the pedestrian zone in the city centre and via the A-tunnel to the railway station, where available high-platform facilities, lifts and escalators assure the accessibility for all passengers (G3). This idea required no additional infrastructure investments and furthermore entailed fewer conflicts between light rail and automobiles in the mixed traffic of the inner city, so that it found the support of various parties in the city parliament of Hannover, including the ruling social democrats. The Scheelhaase-proposal was especially advocated also by the transport operator Üstra, as it promised higher operational speeds and service reliability for the light rail (G3; G4). However, the idea implied a decreasing importance for the street-level light rail transport in the centre of Hannover and was therefore massively criticised by the Green party in both the Region and city parliaments. In order not to endanger the political coalition between the social democrats and the Green Party in the city council and the Region government, the social democrats in Hannover had to give up their position in favour of the Scheelhaase-proposal. Instead, a compromise solution for the on-ground alignment had to be found (Schinkel 2013). In January 2013, the governing parties eventually agreed to retain the street-level alignment in the centre and relocate its terminus behind the main railway station, where the visual intrusion caused by high-profile platforms was not considered critical. Apart from that, the largest part of the route of the trams would remain unchanged, so that they will continue running in the shared space of the city centre streets. However, in order to mitigate the conflict potential with the motor traffic and the impact on the operational service quality, the volume of the through traffic was to be reduced by introducing several one-way street sections along the tram alignment. The newly won space would be embellished and become widely available for pedestrians and cyclists. Following the example of French cities, the use of greenery and tree rows, the choice of matching building materials and the installation of a uniform lightning system were considered important design elements contributing to amenity in the new environment (Region Hannover 2014). The assignment of nearly one third of the total project cost of 50 million euros228 to place-making measures underlined the political aspirations to use the street-level tramway as a tool to regain space from the car traffic in favour of the soft mobility modes. The found solution was criticised as suboptimal in terms of public transport functionality and incompatible with the high operational efficiency of the rest of 228

See Infra (2013) for more information on the project budget and the funding pattern.

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the system because of the rather modest expected improvements in terms of travel speed and service reliability (G3; G4). From the operator’s point of view, the solution is not sufficiently dimensioned for the future, because the capacity of the new terminus does not allow for the increase of the service frequency and this makes future line extensions difficult 229 (LHH 2013; G4). Despite the critical professional opinions, in March 2013, the city council of Hannover and the regional parliament approved the planned scheme (Region Hannover 2014). The Region president confessed indeed that the planned street-level alignment was not the optimal transport solution, but it was a reasonable compromise which caused the lowest resistance in the red-green political coalitions in the Region and the city of Hannover (Klein 2013). Basically, the political constellation in Hannover did not allow for the elimination of the “reverse salient” in the system but rather entailed an incremental improvement with a symbolic significance. 4.3.4

Summary

The evolution of the rail-borne public transport system of Hannover is a paradigmatic case of the gradual development of a traditional tramway into a partly underground light rail system. The local public transport authority was the first one in the world to establish an evolutionary system, combing metro-like and tram-like alignments, and coined the term Stadtbahn for it. The technology concept was subsequently appropriated by several other German and Western European cities. In Hannover, the light rail system grew continuously after its establishment and proved successful in the flexibility of offering full use during its development. Accordingly, it gathered a substantial momentum and became an integral part of the urban development. Despite the acquired momentum and the maturity of the system, the direction of its future development became an object of serious public controversies. A dissent emerged whether to stick to the high-floor vehicle technology and expand the tunnel infrastructure, or to opt for the introduction of a supplementary lowfloor subsystem. The debate was stylised as a “system’s question” and remained intense until recently, when a political “compromise” was found, which is admittedly not optimal in terms of transport functionality. This development suggests that the Hannover light rail system can be viewed also as a critical case of the tramway renaissance, in which even a mature and well established system can be thwarted by the limitations of the overall political process in a region. 229

The business and industry chamber has also been critical of the plans because of the introduced restrictions for the motor traffic. As more than one third of the customers in the city centre came by car, a worse accessibility of the parking houses there would imply a competitive disadvantage as compared to suburban shopping centres. See LHH (2013, pp. 3-6).

5

The emergence of the modern French tramway as a sociotechnical novelty

This chapter is dedicated to the French tramway renaissance. First, the development of the institutional framework for tramway transport in France, the decision-making practice at the local level and the key features of the modern tram systems are presented (Chapter 4.1). Subsequently, the cases of the Strasbourg tramway system (Chapter 5.2) and the Rouen multi-modal system (Chapter 5.3) are explored. 5.1 5.1.1

The French tramway renaissance The demise of the old French tramways

The first tram in France started running, drawn by horses, in Paris for the Universal Exhibition of 1855, and by 1878, when the next exhibition was hosted in the city, the tram network had expanded to 40 lines. Around the same time, from 1874 to 1882, tram networks were created in 16 major French cities, and the number of systems increased significantly with the onset of electrification in the last decade of the 19th century. The first electric trams were put in operation in Clermont-Ferrand in 1890, two years later Marseille and Paris followed (HassKlau et al. 2004). By 1911, there were 115 systems across the country and the tram had become the dominant form of public transport (Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Offner and Zembri 1994). The lines used the central thoroughfares in the cities and served mainly the relatively densely populated urban cores (Zembri 2012). Their ridership grew steadily throughout the years and in 1925, it reached its peak (Robert 1974; Demongeot 2011).

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_5

Source: own illustration based on information from Groneck (2007, 2016) and Offner and Zembri (1994)

Figure 21: Tramway systens in France in 1920 (left) and 1975 (right)

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With the emergence of the motor bus technology, a battle of the systems (Hughes 1987) began and like in other countries, many tramways were replaced by bus services. The missing of a concession framework for public transport operations at the time led to an intense competition among public transport operators, particularly between tram and bus services, such that already in the 1920s several tram networks were closed (Groneck 2007). Furthermore, many tramway lines served fairly small towns, with some reaching far into the sparsely populated countryside, so that they did not provide for significant ridership gains. In addition, the rapid expansion of many of the lines had been carried out at very low design standards at the beginning of the twentieth century which entailed their rapid wear and tear. Hence, already by the 1930s, many French tramway companies had accumulated large deficits which could not be offset by fare increases (Groneck 2007; Demongeot 2011; Larroque 1989). A modal switch to the more flexible motorbus appeared economically reasonable, even more after the administrative decision to reduce the maximum speed of trams to 30 km/h, whereas the limit for buses was 45 km/h (Groneck 2007). In 1929, the city administration of Paris made the decision to replace the tramway by bus services and within eight years, all trams lines in the metropolis were dismantled230. The example from the capital was followed by many other municipalities, with the lines in the small cities and the suburban alignments being scrapped first (Groneck 2007; Groneck 2009). Despite the numerous abandonments, however, in the mid-1930s, there were still nearly 70 tram networks in service (Groneck 2007). Most of them continued operating also after the Second World War such that in 1948, about 50 French cities were still equipped with a tramway network (Kopff and Okamoto 2005). From then on, within 23 years, all but three French networks were closed 231 232 (Figure 21). The obsolescence of the infrastructure and the rolling stock after the omitted modernisation in the 1930s and the 1940s, and the preference of the cheaper 230

In the mid-1920s, the Parisian tramway network comprised 122 lines, covering 1,100 kilometres, which were served by 2,300 tramcars (Laisney 2014; Demongeot 2011). For more details about the tramways of Paris, see Tricoire (2007). 231 In particular, by the early 1960s, the biggest French cities had dismantled their networks: Montpellier in 1949, Le Havre in 1951, Nice and Rouen in 1953, Lyon and Toulouse in 1957, Bordeaux and Nantes in 1958, and Strasbourg in 1960 (Groneck 2007; Hass-Klau et al. 2004). 232 The tramways that were preserved were found in Lille, Marseille and Saint-Etienne. The line in Lille, leading to the neighbouring cities of Roubaix and Tourcoing, had the advantage of having been built on a segregated right-of-way already in 1909, whereas in Marseille, the availability of a 600 m long tunnel, which was too narrow for buses, conditioned the preservation of the alignment. The linear town Saint-Etienne had also maintained a 5.5-km long route because it was serving the main city axis. The extension of the Saint-Etienne route in 1983 was the first new tramway section in France after World War II. (Groneck 2007; Demongeot 2011)

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technology options bus and trolleybus which were also more compatible with the growing road traffic, were the main reasons for the abandonment of the tramway in France (Demongeot 2011; Larroque 1989). After the financial crisis of the 1930s and the reconstruction efforts in the aftermath of World War II, the local authorities saw in the overhaul of the urban roads an opportunity to get rid of the costly tram services (Larroque 1989). The inactivity of the French railcar industry also made evident the general lack of interest in this means of transport and was another reason for its abandonment across the country233 (Muller 1994). Trams were seen as being slow and out of date and were accused of being responsible for the new phenomenon of traffic congestion (Hass-Klau et al. 2004; Laisney 2014). They thus had to give way to the motor vehicles, as during the Trente Glorieuses in French cities, the emphasis was placed on automotive and bus transportation (Prédali 2014). Mass motoring became evident from the late 1950s on all over France (Demongeot 2011), when the new norm of individual mobility, enabled by the private car, was incorporated by large parts of the population (Laisney 2014) 234. Also the national government had adopted the view that, in the long term, the automobile would become the only viable travel mode and based its urban transport policy of the 1960s on that (Lassave and Offner 1989). This policy included a large-scale programme of road investments and the simultaneous support for the partly nationalised automotive industry (Lassave and Offner 1989; Kopff and Okamato 2005). It also meant that “the city had to be adapted to the automobile”, according to a motto later attributed to the President Georges Pompidou235 (Laisney 2014). Consequently, the urban landscape started changing with the construction of ring roads, motorways and the widening of main streets, especially in the old parts of the city that were considered impractical for the free traffic flow. Town squares were transformed into roundabouts, pedestrian sidewalks were narrowed and lines of trees were felled. With the establishment of infrastructure facilities following the principles of automobile functionalism (Laisney 2014), the public space was mostly devoted to the motor car, imposing detours over footbridges or underpasses and longer journey times for pedestrians and cyclists (Laisney 2014; Demongeot 2011). These changes soon led to a deterioration and population losses in the central 233

In contrast, according to Laisney (2014), a wide coalition embracing petrol companies, vehicle manufacturers, road builders, users and professionals as well as landowners and land developers lobbied for the dismantling of the tram transport in favour of the mass motorisation. 234 See also Muller (2000, p. 120). 235 Georges Pompidou was the French Prime Minister between 1962 and 1969, and the French President from 1969 to 1974. For more details about the role of Georges Pompidou for the promotion of mass motoring in France, see Flonneau (1999).

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parts of many cities (Kopff and Okamato 2005; Muller 1994). Although French cities, which had suffered comparatively little war damage, were generally able to largely preserve their traditionally compact urban form with high densities and a mixed land use, a development set on which was marked by spatial extension and strong growth of activities in suburban and periurban areas (Zembri 2012; Pucher and Lefèvre 1996, pp. 66f; Kopff and Okamato 2005). The limits of the car-centred paradigm and the associated policies, which became known as “tout automobile”236, were reached at the end of the 1960s, when the economic growth was beginning to wane and it became clear that the available government funds would be insufficient for the upkeep of the hitherto applied policies (Lassave and Offner 1989; Hassiak and Richer 2012). At the same time, the adverse effects of the motor traffic in the form of air pollution, noise and road congestion were becoming increasingly obvious and were confronted with the hopes for an improved quality of life, which started to be expressed clearly following the student revolt of May 1968 (Laisney 2014; Lassave and Offner 1989). The oil crisis from 1973 was a major event which further encouraged a greater awareness of environmental issues and intensified the rethinking process of the hitherto existing urban policy priorities (Laisney 2014). 5.1.2 5.1.2.1

The prerequisites of the tramway renaissance in France First institutional steps towards the revival of public transport

The arising shift was preceded by a profound change in the institutional framework of local transport planning in France. Until the end of the 1960s, expertise in the field of urban transport was essentially provided by state technical organisations, particularly by highway engineers, whereas locally, the public transport companies had limited skills. At the beginning of the 1970s, two new institutional bodies were established – inter-community town planning agencies and seven non-governmental technical research centres (CETE), which started providing expertise to the local authorities. This allowed for a genuine growth of local expertise on urban transport issues, which included not only aspects of the technical feasibility but also context-related considerations of the general policy and public service. The new experts broadened the technocratic rationalism, characterising the immediate post-war economic planning period, and included also perspectives stemming from the ecological and social movements formed in the 1970s. In this framework, the first traffic plans were created, initially as urgent measures for improving the conditions for the motor vehicle transport before the completion of dedicated infrastructure facilities. 236

For more details on the “tout automobile”, see Flonneau (1999) and Bon (2005).

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Nevertheless, these plans rapidly became the main basis for the traffic organisation in urban contexts throughout the 1970s and significantly contributed to the takeover of urban transport matters by the municipal level. Accordingly, the second half of the 1970s was characterized by growing town planning activities in combination with ideas about the revival of public transport, the importance of which was realised. (Lassave and Offner 1989) In the early 1970s, urban public transport, which used to be financially selfstanding until the 1960s (Kopff and Okamato 2005), was continuously deteriorating. The lack of investments and innovation after the 1930s, and the prevalence of a car-oriented policy in the 1960s, had entailed a poor quality of the public transport services and a decreasing ridership 237 (Demongeot 2011; Lassave and Offner 1989). The unfavourable development was officially recognised in 1970, when the French Ministry of Transport organized a conference on public transport with the aim of updating and enlarging the urban transport planning profession (Lassave and Offner 1989). Also some locally elected officials addressed urban transport issues and assumed a leading role in the search for particular solutions in the field (Lassave and Offner 1989). There had already been various projects for new transport technologies which were supposed to offer a solution to the growing traffic problems. Futuristic monorail and small, automatically guided vehicle systems had been largely studied in the previous decade but without eventually finding a wide implementation (Demongeot 2011, pp. 154-165; Kopff and Okamato 2005). Conceived mostly as primarily engineering projects, the proposed technologies were not up to the complexity of urban contexts, both in terms of the town-planning and institutional settings238 (Demongeot 2011, pp. 162ff.; Lassave and Offner 1989). Nonetheless, in the late 1980s, the idea of automated guideway systems could be realised in some French cities, particularly in the form of the automatic metro VAL239 and the POMA 2000240 in Laon.

237

This was particularly noticeable outside the Paris area, whereas in the capital, the development had been partly mitigated by the mere size of the public transport system and an increasing number of complaints passed on by the left-wing parties in parliament (Lassave and Offner 1989). 238 Latour (1996) offers a thorough study of the socio-technical construction of one of the proposed automated people mover systems called Aramis (Agencement en Rames Automatisées de Modules Indépendants en Stations). Bruno Latour showed that a main reason for the failed implementation of the technology was the inability of the technical developers to adapt it to the societal changes of the time so that the project lacked a political ownership and was never realised. 239 VAL is a fully-automated, unmanned rail transport system with rubber-tyred wheels, developed by the French enterprise Matra Inernational. See Chapter 5.1.2.5 for more information about VAL. 240 The Poma 2000 is an automated people mover system with small cabins which serves three stations on a stretch of 1.5 kilometres in the small city of Laon in Northern France. See for more information Tul-Laon (2015).

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The difficulties in the domain of urban transport were tackled not only by means of technology but also, and especially, by innovations in terms of organisation. As a beginning, the contractual relations between public transport companies and local authorities were amended, such that the latter took over the ownership of the networks (Lassave and Offner 1989). This first institutional change was followed by the introduction of a local transport tax set up by the French state in order to improve the financial basis of the public transport systems. This tax, called “versement transport”, has been levied on public and private companies with nine or more employees as a percentage of the overall wage bill within the company or body (Duchène 2005; F1). It has been collected by the local authorities in charge of the transport policy for the concerned urban areas and can be used both for public transport operations and investments in the infrastructure241 (Hassiak and Richer 2012; Duchène 2005). The payroll tax was first instituted in Paris in 1971 and within the next four years was gradually extended to smaller urban areas with 100,000 inhabitants 242. The creation of this financial source allowed for the establishment of lower fares as a stimulant to increase the ridership (Pucher and Lefèvre 1996). Before the introduction of the versement transport, public transport was exclusively financed by its users (Lassave and Offner 1989). 5.1.2.2

Public transport investments in the 1970s and the awakening interest in the tramway

With the income from the payroll tax, which already by the late 1980s covered about one third of the public transport costs of a local authority (Lassave and Offner 1989), and the financial commitment of the national government to making rail an import urban transport mode (Pucher and Lefèvre 1996), two conventional metro schemes were launched in the big cities Marseille and Lyon in 1977 and 1978, respectively. By then, only the capital Paris was endowed with a metro, built at the beginning of the twentieth century. Although the idea of underground public transport, avoiding the interference with road traffic, appeared attractive to the local planners and decision makers (Hasiak and Richer, 2012), heavy metro lines were not economically justified in the medium-sized French cities (Pucher and Lefèvre 1996). There, the projects funded by the 241

The rationale of the tax is to obtain a contribution from the private business benefiting from the agglomeration economies and the improved accessibility to a larger labour market which were enabled by a public transport system (Bouf and Henscher 2007). This justification corresponds to the theoretically stated effects of public transport investments on the wider economic development in a city, discussed in Chapter 3.2.1. 242 In 2001, the population threshold for introducing the transport tax was lowered from 20,000 to 10,000 inhabitants (Duchène 2005). Between 1973 and 2012, the versement transport was applied by 236 local authorities (GART 2014, p. 13).

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versement transport related to the development of the bus networks. The bus services, which had replaced the trams in the previous decades, usually followed their original routes along the main axes and were gradually expanded to cover also the newly urbanised areas which had emerged in the 1960s (Zembri 2012). Nonetheless, despite the growth of the bus networks, their service was deteriorating as buses were also caught into the traffic congestions and their limited capacity did not correspond to the growing demand for mobility (Laisney 2014; Demongeot 2011; Zembri 2012). The ensuing mediocre results in attracting more ridership suggested the necessity of an intermediate public transport mode, which would offer the advantages of urban rail without incurring the costs of conventional metros. Therefore, the reopening of tramway systems appeared as a reasonable option at the time (Domengeot 2011, pp. 166ff). GÉTUM (Groupment pour l’Étude des Transports Urbains Modernes), a small expert group founded in 1964, was already early on sceptic about the ideas of futuristic and underground public transport systems which dominated the professional debates in the 1960s. Instead, they developed a favourable position towards the tramway referring to the examples of its merits displayed in Switzerland, West Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Accordingly, in the early 1970s, the expert group defined the main street axes (“axes lourds”) of the French agglomerations with 300,000 to 500,000 people as the appropriate service areas for modern tram lines (Guillon 2013). The design of such lines was to differ from that of the old tramways, as with a length of up to 20 kilometres, they had to cross the city centres and extend into neighbourhoods at the urban fringe (Zembri 2012). Initially credited with marginal importance in the debate on urban transport issues, the ideas of GÉTUM were recognised as reasonable by officials from the Ministry of Transport and were published in its magazine in 1974 (Domengeot 2011). Nonetheless, the idea of re-introducing the tramway transport in France remained generally disregarded. This began to change in late 1974, when the new president of the republic Valérie Giscard d’Estaing, elected in the same year, saw the potential of trams as an electrically propelled form of public transport 243. Bearing the impacts of the recent oil crisis in mind, the president aspired to the energy independence of France which was to be achieved by the increase of the overall share of electricity generated by nuclear power. Seen in this context, the electric traction let the tramway appear an interesting option to tackle the urban 243

According to Raymond Guitard, a former director of the public transport company in Toulouse and former chief secretary at the French Ministry of Transport, it was him who pointed at the advantages of the electric traction of trams, observable in Swiss and Benelux cities, to the president of the Republic (Demongeot 2011, pp. 171-173).

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transport problems. Hence, in early 1975, the tramway was put for the first time on the government’s agenda. (Demongeot 2011, pp. 169ff.) 5.1.2.3

A state initiative to reintroducing the tramway

In February 1975, the new State Secretary for Transport, Marcel Cavaillé, invited eight major cities244 in France to investigate the possibilities of introducing modern street-level rail systems and come up with schemes for them. In the official letter, the secretary asked the local people in power to launch as quickly as possible studies about transport systems which fit into the urban fabric and make use of the existing street network while requiring a minimum of new infrastructure, particularly underground facilities 245. The cities were also requested to contribute to the development of specifications for the new railbased systems. Substantial state funding covering half of the experimentation costs was promised to the selected cities. At the same time, an international competition, which became known as the “concours Cavaillé”, was launched by the Ministry of Transport for the development of “a guided electric terrestrial public transport vehicle able to run on ordinary streets and on a reserved site” 246. The term “tramway” was not used in the formulation in order to address a number of possible technological solutions, but also to avoid negative associations with the old generations of trams. Nonetheless, the technical specifications implied an intermediate technology between bus and classical metro, as represented by the modern tramway at the time, and excluded the automatic metro VAL from the set of options by strictly limiting the acceptable costs247. In 1976, the vehicle model proposed by the French manufacturer Alsthom was chosen as the winner of the competition. Given the strong position of GEC Alsthom in the national railway industry and its involvement in the design of the state sponsored high-speed train TGV, the company was the 244

The eight cities addressed were Bordeaux, Grenoble, Nancy, Nice, Rouen, Strasbourg, Toulon and Toulouse. These cities formed the cores of the most populous conurbations in the country, counting at least 300,000 residents. The three biggest agglomerations – Paris, Marseille and Lyon – were not addressed, because they already had or were constructing a metro. Similarly, the agglomerations of Lille and Nantes, that also had a population of more than 300,000, were also developing plans for a metro scheme. 245 The original letter read as follows: "étudier au plus vite des solutions utilisant la voirie actuelle et recourant à un minimum d'infrastructures, en particulier souterraines, afin d'adapter le transport collectif à la ville telle qu'elle est" (Courrier du secrétariat d'État aux Transports du 27 février 1975, Transports Urbains n°30, janvier-mars 1975, p. 9-10, quoted in Demongeot 2011, p. 175; p.963-964) 246 The original French description was: “un véhicule terrestre de transport collectif de voyageurs, guidé, électrique, pouvant circuler sur la voirie banale et en site réservé". The specification is quoted in Marconis (1997). 247 See for more details on the specification Demongeot (2011, pp. 176ff.).

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preferred bidder for the government (Demongeot 2011, p. 180). The winning model was termed “metro léger”, thus referring to the allure of the public transport mode of the big metropolises248. Despite the letter of Cavaillé, there were no particular financial resources, in form of state loans or subsidies, earmarked for the particular studies on the reintroduction of tramways in the eight cities. The available state funds had been already provided for loans for the construction of the metros in Lyon, Marseille and Lille, or for the modernisation of bus fleets. Hence, the state initiative just indicated a possible technical solution to the urban transport problems but did not back it financially. Furthermore, after the completion of the “concours Cavaillé”, the State did not engage actively in promoting the tramway, which still bore some negative connotations related to the old generations of trams. In this context, local actors ignored the tramway as an option for solving the urban traffic problems, even more as some of the mayors had been responsible for the abandonment of the tram in their cities in the previous decades. None of the eight cities which were asked to develop possible public transport solutions responded, largely also due to the looming municipal elections of 1977. It was suspected that a tramway scheme could cause public resentment and thus entail the electoral loss for a mayor, while the elections were generally expected to be difficult for the local representatives of the nationally ruling party. In addition to this institutional constellation, the designated manufacturer Alsthom did not promote the tramway either, as it was focused on the TGV project and regarded the tram market as peripheral and with uncertain profitability. It was therefore the Ministry of Transport that insisted on the creation of manufacturing capacities necessary to respond to a potential rolling stock order from a city. In general, however, there was no national strategy for promoting the tram in the 1970s, as the state-sponsored initiative of 1975 brought about merely a generic technological option, not adapted to the local particularities. (Demongeot 2011, pp. 186ff.; Laisney 2014)

248

The other finalist in the competition was a rubber-tyred guided vehicle developed in cooperation between Matra and the Belgian manufacturer La Brugeoise et Nivelles, which in the 1990s and the 2000s was implemented under the name TVR (Transport sur voie réservée) in Nancy and Caen. Furthermore, two other options were not considered in the final selection round. A German-made Düwag tramway vehicle as those operational at the time in the FRG was proposed under the name "Système Léger sur Rails" (Light rail system), but as a foreign technological product, it would not have allowed for the emergence of a French tramway industry and was therefore rejected. The other dismissed candidate was a French low-floor vehicle prototype called “Citadis”, which was deemed an immature technology at the time. A few years later, the engineering company that had developed the low-floor prototype was bought by Alsthom, which adopted the concept and in 1996 brought its family of low-floor trams under the name “Citadis”. (Demongeot 2011, pp. 182ff.)

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The emergence of the modern French tramway

The attempt of the French national administration to trigger tramway projects in a top-down manner did not directly lead to concrete schemes but the “concours Cavaillé” gave momentum to the idea of reintroducing the tram in France. On this ground, particular initiatives to build tramway systems came at the local level from cities experiencing the need for effective public transport services. Nantes, which had not been part of the conurbations addressed by the State Secretary in 1975, was the first city which decided to construct a new tram line. As a response to the steadily growing traffic congestion in Nantes, different public transport solutions had been investigated since the 1960s, including improved bus or trolleybus services and a metro network. The limited capacity of the bus options and the prohibitive costs for the construction of a metro made it necessary for the local expert study group to look for alternatives. Therefore, they asked to be included in the national consultations on the new rail-bound technology, which was launched in 1975. The efforts of the transport experts found a supporter also at the local level in the person of Alain Chénard – the young mayor who won the municipal elections of 1977. In his campaign, he had addressed transport issues and unlike his older counterparts in other cities, he had no prejudices against the tramway. Accordingly, he was open to the idea of introducing a new tram-type technology, which emerged from the “concours Cavaillé”, and approved of launching preliminary studies about its feasibility in Nantes. (Demongeot 2011, pp. 201-203; Tricoire 2007, pp. 100-111) Plans were drawn for a three-line network serving Nantes and the surrounding communities but their realisation was protracted, as no technical and operational standards or regulations existed at the time. The specifications of the future rolling stock had to be elaborated in the frame of the scheme and were defined by a group of engineers from SEMALY – the company responsible for the design of the metro in Lyon 249 – and representatives of the tramway operator in Saint-Étienne. The engineers largely based the specifications on the results from the “concours Cavaillé” but included some modifications to respond better to the transport conditions in Nantes250. The local administration could not afford the costs for the development of the future rolling stock, however, that’s why the Ministry of Transport incurred the major part of them. This enabled a call for furnishing the rail vehicles which was issued in March 1980. According to a 249

The vehicle for Nantes was therefore strongly inspired by the Alsthom MF 77 metro and was initially called “metro léger” (Guillon 2013). 250 The vehicle was to have a length of 28.5 metres, which was a bit more than in the concept from 1975, and had to be able to run in the street space (Demongeot 2011, p. 204).

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ministerial order, the call was open only to the finalists of the “concours Cavaillè”, and eventually only to Alsthom251. In effect, the price proposed by the manufacturer turned out to be the double of the initial estimations, but the national administration was willing to make the necessary financial commitment for the launch of the new public transport vehicle, which was to be called Tramway Français Standard (TFS). Although Alsthom had initially adopted the term “metro léger”, the ministry suggested the name TFS which corresponded to its expectations about the technology. As a standardised solution, the tramway had to become affordable, and the aspired introduction across the country had to bring about economies of scale and produce reference cases facilitating the international export. The Alsthom group, which in 1982 was nationalised by the new left-wing government under the presidency of François Mitterrand, was supposed to pool the French know-how on railway technology and activate it nationally and internationally. In this framework, the development of the TFS vehicle was funded by the government and the national agency for innovation support (Vigarié 1983). Furthermore, the State assumed 50% of the costs for establishing the public transport infrastructure in Nantes. The city was to be the first showcase for the new French tramway industry. (Demongeot 2011, pp. 203ff.; Tricoire 2007, pp. 100-111) The construction works for the first line in Nantes started in late 1981 and were carried out following proven German methods (Tricoire 2011, p. 103). The alignment benefited from the avilability of a broad thoroughfare in the city and further used to a large extent the pre-existing infrastructure of a former main railroad section, so that it had little impact on the urban motor traffic (Laisney 2014). Nonetheless, the realisation of the scheme was postponed as a consequence of the political change brought about by the local elections of 1983. Following a campaign driven by debates about the necessity of a tramway line252, and given the inconveniences caused by the large-scale construction works in the city, a new mayor was elected who had intended to abolish the project253. However, the advanced stage of the works and the gathered “mass” (Hughes 1987) had provided momentum to the emerging tramway system, so that the construction continued and was eventually accomplished within three 251

The consortium between Matra and La Brugeoise et Nivelles was also invited, but they retreated from the competition after an unsuccessful bid for the metro léger in Tunis in 1980 (Demongeot 2011, p. 204). The light rail system in Tunis – the first one on the African continent – was equipped with German Düwag vehicles as those running in Hannover and became operational in 1985 (Topp 1998). 252 At the time of its construction, the tram was still associated with the pejorative name “the yellow peril” (le péril jaune) given to the old vehicles of Nantes (Hugo 2001). 253 In hindsight, Alain Chénard called his conscious position in favour of the tram “a political suicide”. See Lange (2010).

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years. In January 1985, the first modern tramway line in France was commissioned, but without any official inauguration by the new mayor of Nantes (Prédali 2014). Nevertheless, already by the end of its first operational year, the tram carried more than 42,000 passengers per day on its 10-kilometre route, entailing a load factor in the peak hours which was close to the maximum (Lange 2010; Groneck 2009). The large ridership volumes in Nantes made a strong impression in France and abroad, and presented the tram as a viable public transport solution (Kaminagai 2014). 5.1.2.5

A battle of the systems – tramway vs. VAL

Throughout the 1980s, there were intense debates about the most apt public transport technology in various French municipalities. Several big provincial cities, primarily Strasbourg, Toulouse, Rennes and Bordeaux, shifted back and forth between VAL and tramway proposals thereby displaying a highly political battle of the systems254. The antithetic perceptions of the systems in terms of image, and their very different characteristics in terms of integration into the urban landscape and costs were at the heart of the local debates. The Frenchmade automated light metro VAL (Véhicule Automatique Léger) was considered a state-of-the-art technological system, which would allow for an increased civic pride in a city, unlike the allegedly outdated tramway. In Lille, where in 1983, the VAL system first entered in service, the local political aspirations for a prestigious project had played a decisive role in the realisation of the scheme (Muller 1994, p. 151). In the other big provincial conurbations, image was also clearly an important factor in the discourses surrounding the choice of a transport technology255. Drawing on the experience in Lille, where VAL had been operating without accidents256 and had shown a good ratio of revenue to operating costs (Hill 1995), the manufacturer Matra actively promoted the technology in each of the municipalities257 (Demongeot 2011, p. 193). The 254

For the case of Strasbourg, see Chapter 5.2. This was particularly pronounced in the case of Toulouse – a city proud of its aviation industry, which by employing VAL wanted to underline its position as a key European site in the forefront of technology. See Hill (1995) for more details. 256 The high safety record of the metro had been helped by glass barriers at the platform edge which open synchronously with train doors, leaving no access between the platform and the track. Comprehensive remote surveillance measures had been introduced to meet concerns for personal security. (Hill 1995) 257 According to Michel Philipponneau, former first deputy mayor of Rennes, in charge of planning in the period 1977-1989, the commercial pressure by MATRA was a significant factor for the reversal of the initial technology choice in favour of the tram (Wolf 2012). For more details, see Philipponneau (1995). Also the VAL in Lille itself resulted to a large extent from the quest of Matra International for a test site for commercial operations of its automatic transport technology and for the promotion of 255

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driverless, electronically guided metro could automatically adjust the frequency and speed of operations to the daily flow of passengers. It produced low noise emission levels permitted by the electric traction and the use of pneumatic tyres. Finally, benefiting from a grade-separated right-of-way, mostly underground, the metro could achieve high operational speeds258 and did not interfere with the urban motor traffic (Hill 1995, Demongeot 2011, pp. 193ff.). For the latter reason, VAL systems were preferred by officials and politicians that sought to protect the role of the car in the city 259. However, although the automated light system was substantially cheaper to construct and run than a conventional metro thanks to the small profile and driverless operations, it still featured capital investment costs of three to four times that of a street-running tramway (Demongeot 2011, p. 193). That’s why, the opponents of VAL insisted on devoting the same resources to a more extensive surface network, especially given that the transport service efficiency of both technologies was considered to be equivalent260 (Demongeot 2011, p. 193; Hill 1995). Between 1994 and 2003, the French government provided a further argument in favour of the tramway by offering more advantageous subsidy levels and ceilings than for a VAL. Eventually, besides Lille, the cities of Toulouse and Rennes opened VAL systems in 1993 and 2002 respectively, while a link connected the airport Paris Orly to the regional rail services RER in 1991 261. 5.1.3 5.1.3.1

The institutional framework of the tramway renaissance The LOTI Act of 1982 as a legal basis

The local initiatives on introducing rail-based public transport systems in French cities in the 1980s fell within the framework of a new legislation created in the course of wide-ranging institutional changes. Between 1982 and 1985, more than twenty laws and some 185 decrees concerned with decentralisation were passed the company (Muller 1994, p. 151). The acronym VAL initially stayed for “Villeneuve-d’AscqLille”, this is the route which the first line served, but soon after, it was changed to “Véhicule Automatique Léger”. See for more details Demongeot (2011, p. 157). 258 The maximum speed of the vehicles is 80 km/h, but the operational speed has been limited to 35 km/h (Hill 1995). 259 Groneck remarks that the VAL was mostly promoted by conservative politicians, whereas the local representatives of the leftist parties were in favour of the classical tramway (Groneck 2007, p. 51). Nevertheless, in Lille, a socialist administration had chosen the VAL, so that the centreright mayor of Toulouse Pierre Baudis argued in the mid-1980s that there was not one metro for the conservatives and another for the socialists (Hill 1995). 260 In Strasbourg and Bordeaux, a major argument in favour of the tramway technology was the possibility to build a network with several lines instead of only one or two alignments of VAL (Finn et al., p. 110). 261 Internationally, the automated technology was implemented in the USA, Taiwan, Italy and South Korea (Siemens 2015).

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(Lassave and Offner 1989). With the arrival of the leftist government in 1981, a process of modernisation of the local authority structures began and territorial responsibilities were modified by giving local elected officials the autonomy they had demanded (Lassave and Offner 1989; Laisney 2014). At the turn of the 1970s to the 1980s, in a general context of claiming local freedoms and citizen participation in the city’s life, municipal councillors had called for more powers and autonomy262 (Prédali 2014). In response, a system of decentralised administration was set up in France, distributing powers and responsibilities to the different institutional scales263. The key document defining the degree of responsibility attributed to communes, departments and regions for the organisation of public transport became the Framework Law on Domestic Transport (Loi d’Orientation sur les Transports Intérieurs, LOTI), passed in 1982. Initially motivated by the need to revise the statutory position of the national railway company SNCF, LOTI assumed a general application and set out a legal frame for the organisation of both passenger and freight transport, covering all modes and all spatial levels (Harman et al. 2007). The act laid down the principles of establishing the “right to transportation” for everybody as well as the “freedom of choice for the user” and reaffirmed the need for public transport (Laisney 2014; Harman et al. 2007; Duchène 2005). For the provision of public transport, LOTI stipulated a sharing of tasks between the central government and the local authorities, on the one hand, and the public bodies and the operators, on the other (Harman et al. 2007). The responsibility for urban public transport services remained at the communal level 264, where a local authority could organise these services alone or in cooperation with other authorities, while the network operations could be delegated to private enterprises265. Although, prior to 1982, the organisation of urban public transport and road traffic had been practically the tasks of local authorities, the latter received with 262

In particular, the Guichard report from 1976 had recommended an affirmation of the local communities and the development of intermunicipal cooperation (Prédali 2014). 263 The administrative structure in France has been made up of the national level (the State) and three major levels of local authority: the regions (régions), the departments (départements) and the communes. The country is divided into 22 regions, which on their turn are subdivided into departments. There are 96 departments comprising more than 36,000 communes (Insee 2015). 264 The départements took over the organisation of interurban public road transport within their own area. The regions, which became public authorities in 1982, received the responsibility for regional rail transport. The State retained the regulation of transport activities and associated regulatory controls. The State has been also the authority organising public transport services of national interest and oversees the coordination of decentralised measures. (Harman et al. 2007; Duchène 2005) 265 A new contractual framework between the local authorities and public transport operators had existed since 1979 (Laisnay 2014).

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LOTI the responsibility for them by right (Lassave and Offner 1989). This provided a framework under which a commune, whether alone or in cooperation, may establish a Public Transport Organising Authority (Autorité Organisatrice des Transports Urbains – AOTU). As the French communes cover a rather small area, the AOTU have been mostly made up by an association of neighbouring communes266 (Harman et al. 2007; Groneck 2007; Hylén and Pharoah 2002). The organising authorities received the powers to set the fare tariffs, within the limits approved by the national government, and to define the local transport policies and the investment programmes. Furthermore, they became responsible for the determination of the service characteristics in terms of frequencies and quality levels and the choice of a public transport operator. The authorities were also affirmed as the owner of the infrastructure assets, and sometimes the vehicles, and had the possibility to directly run their network or to contract out its management. Outside the Paris region267, the public authorities do not generally operate their public transport systems and in about 90% of the cases delegate the service for a fixed-term period to a private or mixed-ownership268 transport company (CERTU 2009). In fact, many authorities have not had their own expertise, so that they have only carried out the supervision of the contracts while relying on the operators for defining the transport services to be provided (Harman et al. 2007). Over the years, about three-quarters of the public transport systems have been run by three major corporations – Veolia, Keolis and Transdev269 – which have been predominantly owned by public interests, with the exception of Veolia, and which have been very active worldwide (CERTU 2009; Harman et al. 2007). Within each French urban area, however, the full responsibility for the provision of public transport has lied with the AOTU.

266

The French agglomerations, or conurbations, are formed by groups of neighbouring communities, comprising a larger city and up to 20-30 surrounding communities (Groneck 2009; Hylén and Pharoah 2002). The urban public transport, together with the water supply sector, has been one of the main areas of intercommunal cooperation in France (Groneck 2009; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999), and according to Laisney (2014), has even become their symbol. The versement transport encouraged communes to group together so that the population number in the AOTU area would exceed the thresholds required to apply the payroll tax (Harman et al. 2007). 267 In the capital, the service operations have been entrusted to the state-owned company RATP, which has a monopoly and runs the public transport in the city. For more information, see 268

http://www.ratp.fr/.

The mixed-ownership company called SAEM (Societé Anonyme d’Économie Mixte) is a partnership between the planning authority and the private operator, in which the local authority holds the majority of shares and provides the rolling stock. 269 In 2011, Veolia and Transdev merged and the new company has had the name Transdev since 2013.

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167

The Urban Travel Plan as a central planning tool

One important task, which the AOTU received in the frame of LOTI, has been the establishment of Urban Travel Plans (Plan de déplacements urbains – PDU) for the area of their jurisdiction. The PDU was created by the law as a general tool to define the organisational principals of urban transport, covering all travel modes. Bearing in mind the car-dependency of the French cities and the associated risks revealed by the oil crisis, the plans were aimed at promoting the rational use of the automobile and raising the awareness of the availability of alternatives to it. This was reflected by the use of the term “travel” instead of “transport” or “traffic”270, which implied the consideration of broader sociotechnical aspects reaching beyond infrastructural measures (Lassave and Offner 1989). This required the provision for the proper integration of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport in the urban areas. Consequently, the first PDUs in the 1980s and the 1990s started out as global transport planning tools for the development of public transport systems and the promotion of the soft travelling modes walking and cycling at the expense of the rising car use. The principle objective of the plans was the establishment of a high-quality public transport, so that in the 1980s, the PDUs in Nantes and Grenoble271 sought to support the creation of a tram network. (CERTU 2012) Although about forty travel plans were set up in the 1980s and the early 1990s, the importance of the tool was evinced first in 1996, when the Act on Clean Air and the Rational Energy Use (Loi sur l’Air et l’Utilisation Rationnelle de l’Énergie – LAURE) made the plans mandatory for all urban areas of more than 100,000 inhabitants. Aiming to achieve a balance between the needs for mobility and accessibility, on the one hand, and the protection of the environment and public health, on the other, the French act 272 defined the PDU’s objectives and elaboration procedure and enforced a global approach to the organisation of urban travels (Laisney 2014). In particular, the reduction of private car traffic and therefore the improvement of public transport, the development of intermodal transport networks and the facilitation of cycling and walking became the main PDU objectives set down by the law273 (Duchène 2005). Therefore, French cities formulated a host of measures in their PDUs promising the 270

The planning documents in the 1960s and the 1970s were called “Transport Plans”, while the equivalents in the 1970s and the early 1980s were “Traffic Plans” (Lassave and Offner 1989). See below for more information on the first tram line in Grenoble. 272 The act was adopted following up on the Earth Summit of 1992, where the idea of sustainable development was globally promoted and all European states stressed the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Laisney 2014). 273 State control was limited to ensuring compliance with the obligation to establish a PDU and with the goals stated in the act (Duchène 2005). 271

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transformation of spaces devoted to the automobile in favour of public transport, bicycles and pedestrians. Decreasing road capacities, traffic restrictions in the city centres, creation of zones with a speed limit of 30 km/h, widening of footpaths and bike lanes or improving the access to public transport stops were commonly stated goals in the travel plans (Duchène 2005). Furthermore, all PDUs aimed at increasing the public transport ridership, mostly by means of an improved regularity and a higher commercial speed as well as by better timetable coordination, interchange facilities and integration of fares (Duchène 2005). Several cities set up also schemes for new tramway lines as part of their plans (CERTU 2012). The urban travel plans were further strengthened as a tool in 2000. In this year, the Solidarity and Urban Renewal Act (Loi relative à la Solidarité et au Renouvellement Urbains – SRU) confirmed the objectives of the LAURE Act and in addition brought together the policies on housing, transportation and urban development in order to create conditions for a better coordination in the planning process. Already in the 1990s, when urban planning had suffered from a lack of impetus, travel plans, which had been usually tools with a mid-term perspective of 5 to 10 years, started including a longer planning horizon of up to 20 years in order to reflect the interactions with urbanity that were associated with the measures for restricting the car use (CERTU 2009). The realised need for a greater coherence of transport schemes with the overall urban development led to the creation of new planning documents in the frame of the SRU Act and placed the PDU in the established hierarchy274. As a consequence, the aim of travel plans has been to concentrate the urban development around existing or planned public transport stops and by promoting local activities and the densification of services to enable shorter travel distances, where also the soft modes can offer an alternative to the car. In terms of public transport policy and planning, the role of the PDU as a major planning tool was affirmed once more and this considerably strengthened the significance of the tramway, as in various places, the PDU featured a tramway as a central element of public transport. The plans further required the reorganisation of bus networks, the introduction of social tariffs and the establishment of park-and-ride facilities (Guillon 2013). All in all, with the SRU Act, PDUs had to provide not only for a balance between the mobility needs and the environmental protection but they also had to 274

The SRU Act established a long-term Integrated Scheme for an Urban Area (Schéma de Cohérence Territorial – SCoT), heir of master development plans and planning guidelines, and a local urban development plan (Plan local d’urbanisme – PLU), aimed at regulating the land use. In the frame of the PLUs, land allocation has had to be compatible with the PDUs, which can particularly entail a limitation of the provided parking space (Harman et al. 2007). See for more information on SCoT and PLU, e.g. Hassiak and Richer (2012, pp. 38-45).

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reinforce the social and urban cohesion. That way, travelling, and especially transport, assumed a central role in the local public policy. (CERTU 2012; MESDE 2012) By 2010, additional legislation was passed, which expanded the scope of the PDU to incorporate several interconnected issues, such as access to transport for people with reduced mobility, road safety and environmental protection, which all need to be considered in the plan’s sector-specific measures. The so-called “Hadicap” Act of 2005 made it compulsory for the entire transport chain – from facilities of the built environment to the various transport services – to be accessible to all citizens not later than 2015. The local transport authorities were required to provide full access to their networks and the PDU was determined as the central planning document for defining and scheduling measures to achieve this goal. In 2010, also the environmental dimension of the travel plans was deepened, when the commitments to restrain the urban sprawl and energy loss, made in the round-table discussions on ecology and sustainable development in France (Grenelle de l’environnement), were translated into laws. The Grenelle laws recalled the obligations of the state to encourage the elaboration of urban travel plans and made the latter a local and regional tool for limiting climate change, alongside other planning documents at the same scale. Over the years, hence, the PDU has gradually taken on more importance around various matters that appeared more recently on the public agenda or that had been insufficiently accounted for in the early decades. (CERTU 2012; MESDE 2012) As a planning instrument with a global urban approach, the PDU has been elaborated under the participation of various institutional stakeholders and key players in civil society (CERTU 2012). In fact, the first PDUs served mainly as an opportunity for local officials, professionals and citizens’ associations to discuss medium- and long-term transport planning issues and to open up areas for consultation that could have an influence on decision makers275. Frère et al. (2000) showed for the case of Lille that the main advantage of the PDU had been less its capacity to resolve transport related environmental problems but rather its possibility to launch a collective learning process. Therefore, Offner (2003, p. 12) summarised that “PDUs are not an end in themselves but are an active part of ‘constitutive’ policies’’276. Notwithstanding their wide-ranging aims, however, several PDUs were simply used as an instrument to lobby for the construction of a tram line or new road links, without considering other accompanying measures

275 276

See for example Yerpez and Hernandez (2000) for an analysis of the PDU in Marseille. Quoted by Kaufmann et al. (2008).

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on reorganising transport277 (Offner 2003). In spite of such cases with a focus merely on physical infrastructure, the comprehensive approach and the potential of the PDU to influence urban travel choices in favour of non-road modes have encouraged many French towns with less than 100,000 inhabitants to voluntarily develop an urban travel plan. The tool has also been promoted by the European Union as one of the successful models for “sustainable urban mobility plans” (CERTU 2012). Laisney (2014) underlined the role of the planning tool in the reintroduction of the tram in French cities. In the frame of a PDU, the urban authorities willing to construct a tramway line had to conduct an extensive research on the overall travelling patterns in their areas and reflect not only on traffic and parking, but also on parallel bike lanes and pedestrian facilities. The urban travel plans gave the opportunity to rethink the functioning of public space and with the introduction of a tramway, to redevelop it and redistribute it between the different travel modes (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 57). Hence, the construction of tram infrastructure allowed for a reduction in the importance attributed to automobile traffic by decreasing the available road capacity and thereby stimulating a modal shift away from the car. Furthermore, the consistent prioritisation of public transport and the restructuring of bus services around the tram routes has also been an important corollary of the planning procedures. Having received an own right-of-way and priority at crossroads, the tramway could meet a certain demand for capacity, commercial speed and comfort, which bus services had not offered, and that way it could reassert the public transport with a greater impact against the private car. These virtues of the modern tram in France corresponded to the main guidelines of the sustainable mobility policy advocated by the LAURE Act (CERTU 2009). The first lines, built in Nantes and Grenoble in the 1980s, and in the large cities which followed their example, mainly intended to relieve the traffic congestion in the urban areas, as was required in the early PDUs. At the same time, Nantes, and later especially Grenoble and Strasbourg accompanied the tramway introduction with major urban renewal schemes which had to support the acceptance of the transport mode by the local population (MESDE 2012). Furthermore, the flexibility of modern trams to integrate into the redeveloped urban space and their ability to serve it at street level provided for higher visibility of the policy aimed at environmental improvement, which was introduced in the 1990s. The silent and emissions-free operations on grass tracks 277

Despite the aims to limit the use of the private car and to increase the modal share of public transport, PDUs often envisaged also the building of more roads. Other measures such as the enforcement of parking rules were less popular. (Hylén and Pharaoh 2002)

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along newly planted trees (Figure 22) were means to make the upcoming concept of sustainable development a little more tangible in a relatively short period of time (MESDE 2012). With the linkage of urban and transport planning by the SRU Act in 2000, the tramway offered the opportunity to develop and reorganise the city as a whole in addition to the explored potential of a rehabilitation in the line corridors. By structuring of activities around stations, creating intermodal nodes and reorganising travelling, the PDU and the Integrated Scheme for an Urban Area (ScoT) made the tramway also an important tool for urban development (CERTU 2009). Accordingly, as an integral part of the urban development policies, French tram projects embodied the objectives of road safety, improvement of the air quality and urban solidarity, which were stipulated in urban travel plans after 2002 (Laisney 2014).

Figure 22: An emblematic green alignment in the district of Esplanade in Strasbourg

5.1.3.3

The importance of the actors at the local scale

The institutional practices for the introduction of the tramway in French cities were clearly shaped by the LOTI Act of 1982 which, in the frame of decentralisation, established the municipality as the key player in local policies.

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The public transport organising authorities AOTU, which were created on the basis of this legislation, became the principal decision-making bodies involved in the PDU design, in general, and public transport projects such as new tramways, in particular (Harman et al. 2007). Thereby, the relatively small and predominantly urban area covered by a typical AOTU allowed for the emergence of close links of public transport not only with urban planning, but also with urban politics as a whole (Hylén and Pharoah 2002). The latter connections have been very important, as political leadership has been stated as crucial for the swift realisation of the French tramway systems 278. The support and personal involvement of city mayors – the traditionally highest-profile politicians outside the national government (Pucher and Lefèvre 1996) – have been decisive to overcome the opposition against tramway schemes, which systematically came from car drivers, shop keepers and tax payers, and to make the necessary critical decisions happen faster279 (Kopff and Okamoto 2005; SYPTE 2003; Groneck 2007). Many mayors championed a tramway project following an election campaign in favour of the transport mode and were responsible for delivering the project within their six-year mandate. As opposed to the long-lasting constructions of metro and VAL systems, a tramway scheme can be completed within such a time frame and has often served as a proof of the mayor’s commitment to holding election promises (Demongeot 2011, p. 498; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). In their mandates, the mayors have the powers to dedicate local funds to the project 280, mostly from taxes, and to support it throughout the design phase and the construction works, bringing it so from concept to opening before the next municipal elections (Laisney 2014; SYPTE 2003). An essential condition for the establishment of a tramway has been also the availability of the specific payroll tax “versement transport” which was given to the local authorities in the 1970s to finance their public transport systems 281. This dedicated tax has been the main funding source for urban public transport in

278

See Prédali (2014), Laisney (2014), Wolff (2012), Zembri (2012), Demongeot (2011), Groneck (2009) as well as Hylén and Pharoah (2002). See Chapter 5.2.3 for the example of the introduction of the first tram line in Strasbourg. 280 The share of local funds in the financing of public transport has been around 35% since 2005 (GART 2014, p. 12). In the late 1990s, the communal budget contribution was 27% (GART 2007, p. 10). 281 Each transport authority can decide, subject to the legally-bound ceiling rates, whether or not to introduce the versement transport and at what rate. The maximum rate is 1.05% of the overall wage bill of companies for urban areas of at least 100,000 inhabitants and 0.6% for areas with 10,000 residents or more (GART 2014, p. 14). In the case of a city welcoming a lot of tourists, the rate can be further increased by 0.2% (GART 2014, p. 14). In Paris and Hauts-de-Seine, the maximum rate is 2.6% (Duchène 2005). 279

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France, providing for 46% of the local budget (GART 2014, 2007), and it has presented a strong incentive to build alignments with an own right-of-way282. 5.1.3.4

The state funding mechanism

While the local backing was decisive for the return of the tramway in French cities, the renaissance of this transport mode was made possible also by the consistent support from the State. Successive governments elaborated the legal framework, which gave the local authorities the necessary powers and financial resources to promote urban public transport. In addition, the State provided varying but generous subsidies for investments in systems with an own right-ofway and thus further encouraged the development of public transport. The first provincial metro and tramway lines which opened by the mid-1990s had been sponsored on a case-by-case basis with up to 50% of the capital cost (Demongeot 2011283). However, as the decentralisation process entailed an increased interest in rail-based urban transport systems, the State administration felt impelled to review its grant awarding policy and clarify the rules. Accordingly, a national administrative decision in 1994, which was later revised in 2001, introduced framework documents, called “circulars”, which officially defined the mechanisms of allocating grants (Hassiak and Richer 2012, pp. 37ff.). The existence of a comprehensive travel plan elaborated by an AOTU became a major eligibility condition (Laisney 2014). With the growth of environmental concerns in the 1990s, the reduction of car traffic became an important objective in the French transport policy, so that street-level schemes designed to the detriment of space available to automobiles received higher grant levels than underground routes. In particular, tramway lines were subsidised with up to 4.5 million euros per kilometre and up to 35% of the overall capital cost 284, whereas for metro alignments, a State contribution of only 20% was available (Prédali 2014; MESDE 2012; Hass-Klau et al. 2004). Therefore, the appearance of the circular additionally stimulated the revival of tramways in France (Laisney 2014;

282

In urban areas with more than 100,000 inhabitants, the rate can reach 1.8% in the case of an investment in a public transport system with an own right-of-way. For areas with a population of at least 50,000 people, the respective figure is 0.9%. (GART 2014, p. 14) 283 See in particular Demongeot (2011, p.148, p. 205, p. 244, p. 449). 284 Rolling stock, site acquisition costs, design and general project management costs as well as nontransport related urban improvements were not open to government financial support, and all these expenses were to be paid entirely by the AOTU. Outside Paris, also subsidies to cover the operational deficits were to be provided solely by the local transport agencies. (Hass-Klau et al. 2004; SYPTE 2003; Hylén and Pharoah 2002)

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CERTU 2009) and added to his momentum, which was marked by a large number of grant applications submitted after 1994285. The state subsidy provision was not based on a competitive selection but was automatically secured for projects meeting minimum standards, which entailed a significant growth in the volume of claims to the national budget (Kopff and Okamoto 2005). In particular, the level of attributed grants rose from 70 million euros in 1995 to 234 million euros in 2001 (Prédali 2014). However, in the light of stricter national budgetary constraints after the year 2000, this financial commitment could not be further upheld and the subsidy rates dropped below 10% (Kopff and Okamoto 2005). In 2004, the state subsidy provision was eventually terminated, as in the context of increased decentralisation, local authorities had to assume full financial responsibility for their transport policy (CERTU 2009; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). Nontheless, alternative financial instruments including long-term loans at a low interest rate were introduced to assure the support of the numerous projects underway, so that the return of the tramway in French cities continued (Kopff and Okamoto 2005; CERTU 2009). The financial state support for the building of public transport systems with an own right-of-way returned on the public agenda in the frame of the round-table discussions on ecology and sustainable development. Then, the French government announced the allocation of 2.5 billion euros to achieve a target of 1,800 kilometres of new routes by 2020 and launched two calls for local projects. Following the first one from 2009, a total sum of 810 million euros was distributed to fifty public transport projects in 36 urban areas 286. The second call at the end of 2010 led to a financial aid of 590 million euros for 54 urban areas developing nearly eighty projects including twenty-nine tram schemes287 (MESDE 2012). The approved public transport projects had not only to bring about “good quality transport conditions” to a maximum of people, but as part of comprehensive city strategies, they were expected to become structuring axes for the urban development and provide connectivity between the major city poles and districts with low accessibility (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 39). The importance of the urbanistic dimension of the schemes eligible for state subsidies was reasserted in the third call for projects from May 2013, which promised a grant with a total volume of 450 million euros for projects on public transport 285

See below for the overview of cities, which have opened their first lines since the mid-1990s. The selected projects included the extension of two metro lines in Marseille and Lyon, 215 km of tramway tracks, 150 km of BHLS and a funicular in Grasse. 287 Besides the 29 tram schemes with 152 km of new track, subsidies were provided to 45 bus lines with a high level of service covering in total 456 kilometres, two underground projects with 14 kilometres of tracks as well as two maritime links. 286

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and sustainable mobility (transports collectifs et mobilité durable), and prioritised the accessibility improvement for peripheral urban districts288. Although more than 100 proposals were submitted, in early 2014, the Ministry of Transport postponed the project selection due to budgetary constraints 289. Nonetheless, the subsidy policy launched by the government apparently encouraged a growing number of local authorities to develop public transport systems and deliberately integrate them into urban planning. 5.1.4

The decision-making practice for public transport projects

The institutional framework of public transport development in France has obviously been very favourable for the reintroduction of tramways in numerous urban areas. The local choices for implementing the transport mode, which were made possible in the context of decentralisation, largely benefited from the supportive national policies. The state had not only created the basis for local funding through the “versement transport”, but it also provided loans and direct subsidies, with higher shares for tram lines, and actively incited local authorities to develop public transport projects by issuing several calls. In the context of Grenelle de l’environment, the tram was even explicitly stated to be the flagship of sustainable development policies (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 84). All these state incentives to build tram systems outweighed the constraining institutional devices incorporated in the assessment procedure for public transport schemes. The principles of this assesment procedure were equivalent to the corresponding evaluation methodologies in Germany and England. The LOTI Act mandated that local authorities that undertake major transport infrastructure projects290 with public funding must verify the economic and social efficiency of the investment in an assessment procedure before and after the implementation. While the ex-ante assessments have been an integral part of the project development process, the assessments carried out after the commissioning of a project have been few and less comprehensive, mostly due to the lack of precise guidelines (Hassiak and Richer 2012, pp. 52f.). The ex-ante evaluation considered primarily the financial aspects of the project, comprising the estimated capital and operations costs, but it included also non-financial criteria such as the expected impacts on safety, energy consumption, economic and urban development. These assessment principles were confirmed by the new 288

See FNAUT (2013). An envisaged “écotaxe” on heavy goods vehicles, which would have contributed 700 million euros for infrastructure investments, was suspended shortly before that and public transport projects were mostly affected by this decision (Collet 2014). 290 Under the LOTI law, such projects were defined as having an investment cost of more than 12.6 million euros (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 49). 289

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Transport Code (L1511), which replaced the LOTI Act in November 2010 291 (Hassiak and Richer 2012, pp. 47f.). Effectively, the French tramway projects after the mid-1980s were realised in the regulatory framework of LOTI, where the ex-ante assessment was a prerequisite for starting the legal procedures of implementing a scheme292 and for obtaining government subsidies. Thereby, the project assessment was often reduced to a moderately rigorous293 cost-benefitanalysis which calculates the rate of return of the investment (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 52). Although the considered benefits include wider environmental impacts such as safety improvements and emission reductions, time-savings and modal shift have been the predominantly valuated elements and they were usually overestimated (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 52). However, the calculated cost-benefit ratio has not been that emphasised in the project owners’ argumentations in favour of a tramway scheme, as opposed to its urban development components (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 48). This perspective, going beyond supply and flux figures by considering the role of a new line in the overall urban policy, was supported by the official methodological recommendations for the ex-post analysis, which were issued by the national centre on transport and urban studies CERTU 294. Accordingly, the highlighted outcomes of new tramway systems in France were often linked to urban renewal and city image in addition to, or even rather than, mere ridership (Groneck 2007; MESDE 2012). When a tramway has been well accepted locally – and more so if it has become part of the city image, as in Strasbourg after 1994295 – the public transport investment has been considered justified (SYPTE 2003).

291

In particular, the assessment of the socio-economic efficiency of implementing a transport infrastructure should be based on criteria which take into account not only monetary aspects but also the induced impacts on the environment, the safety and the health, and which allow for intermodal comparisons. (L1511-2 article; quoted in Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 48) 292 The key procedures preceding the start of construction works are a public inquiry, where objections and concerns regarding the promoted schemes can be raised, and a following approval by the Ministry of Transport. A public inquiry and the associated consultations can start only after the completion of the ex-ante assessment (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 51). Subsequently, the public transport authority applies for a grant from the Ministry of Transport, which declares the public benefit resulting from the scheme. This grant, called Déclaration d’Utilité Publique, gives to the AOTU the right to carry out the construction works and to purchase the necessary land (Laisney 2014; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). 293 Denant-Boèmont and Mills (1999) noted that transport modelling was used to a much lesser degree in the French planning practice than in Great Britain. In general terms, the French evaluation methodology has not been as rigorous and elaborated as in other countries (F1). 294 See CERTU (1998). 295 See Chapter 5.2.

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To favour the public acceptance and consequently the implementation of a tramway scheme in France, the promoters have focused besides on transport efficiency aspects especially on design and urban integration measures (Kaminagai 2014). The introduction of new lines, although requiring long-lasting construction works and therefore causing serious inconveniences to citizens, provides the opportunity to thoroughly restructure the areas crrossed by the route both in terms of landscape and functionality (MESDE 2012; Wolff 2012; CERTU 2009). The comprehensive approach of planning, landscaping and architecture accompanying the tramway construction in France became known as “façade to façade” (Kaminagai 2014). It refers to the overall refurbishment and modification of the streetscape along a line with the aim of allocating public space to soft travel modes, particularly the creation of pedestrian and car-free areas. By narrowing the road space, removing parking positions or redirecting the traffic, a tramway project allows to locally restore the urban landscape to the conditions before the era of mass motoring (F3; Laisney 2014; CERTU 2009; Groneck 2009). Unlike the truncating effects of automobile traffic, forcing pedestrians to use footbridges or underground passeges, the trams’ right-of-way can be integrated in the pedestrianised space and remains crossable along its full length, while being softly separated from other vehicles by a specific coloure paved edge or by planted trees (Laisney 2014). Furthermore, the “façade to façade” approach embraces the architecturally appealing design of the route with the surrounding street furniture296 and often recalls the principles of “Urban Art” from the late 19th century297 (Laisney 2014). The potential redevelopment and embelishment of public space within a tram scheme (Figure 23 and Figure 24), entailing traffic calming and reduction in the air polution and noise, has largely contributed to winning the public and especially political support (Kaminagai 2014; MESDE 2012; Frenay 2005). And the local politicians’ will and engagement have been more decisive for the justification of the choice to implement a tramway in a French city than the results of socio-economic assessment calculations, as Hassiak and Richer (2012, p. 83) point out.

296

Often cited examples for aesthetic landscapes have been Esplanade in Strasbourg, Boulevard des Maréchaux in Paris or Euroméditerranée in Marseille. See Kaminagai (2014) for more examples. 297 However, the landscaping applies mainly to the densely urbanised sections, whereas outside them, the works are limited to the tracks and stops (Hasiak and Richer 2012).

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Figure 23: Comprehensively planned and designed streetscape along a tram line in the centre of Strasbourg

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Figure 24: Urban integration of the tramway in the city centre of Strasbourg

In general, since the decentralisation in the 1980s, the technology choice for public transport systems has satisfied the city mayors’ preferences rather than directly resulted from the experts’ techno-economic rationale (Hassiak and Richer 2012, pp. 83ff.; Di Commio 2005; Offner 1993). Following the first positive feedbacks from the projects realised in the 1980s and the early 1990s, particularly from Nantes, Grenoble and Strasbourg, the tram was quickly associated with modernity and urban renewal and therefore became a desirable object for many municipal political leaders (Prédali 2014; MESDE 2012). It had displayed the potential to bring a new image to public transport and to help improving the public opinion about the urban environment, so that politicians in many cities integrated it in their electoral programmes (Prédali 2014; Stambouli 2007; Knopff and Okanoto 2005). Being hence “primarily a political vision”, as formulated by the former president of the transport operator Transdev Philippe Segretain 298, the French tramway has served not just as a transport tool but very much as an instrument for urban planning (CERTU 2009; Harman et al. 2007). It 298

Quoted in Hassiak and Richer (2012, p. 82).

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has thus often been used as part of local policies seeking to requalify the public space and to rebalance the development in an urban area (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 83; Laisney 2006). In addition to the rehabilitation of the existing urban fabric along a route, tramway schemes were also designed to support the development of the urban area as a whole. The tramway has been considered a suitable means of connecting districts with large shares of collective social housing to important social infrastructure like hospitals, educational and administrative institutions as well as places of commercial and cultural activities (Zembri 2012; Redondo 2012; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). According to this social role of the tram, almost all of the first lines in French cities were built to serve peripheral districts considered as disadvantaged 299, where they provided for an improved accessibility and a visual upgrade of the route corridor (Zembri 2012). The construction or extension of tram lines to link the city centre with the surrounding districts allowed hence for strengthening the social cohesion in the urban area and also brought the chance to urbanise less dense territories located at the metropolitan fringe or between the centre and the outskirts 300 (Kaminagai 2014; CERTU 2009). Correspondingly, the tramway projects, and especially those completed in the 2000s, aimed at expanding the urban core and opening up of areas by enabling mobility in outlying locations, and that way contributing to a major reorganisation of the agglomerations (Redondo 2012). Furthermore, many French tramway projects aimed at creating a new city image and even at contributing to the evolution of urban identity and pride (Prédali 2014; Guillon 2013; Wolff 2012; Redondo 2012; MESDE 2012). By materialising these aspirations and the associated urban policies, the large technological system gives a high visibility to the efforts of its promoters, particularly the city mayor, and has promise for future elections (Guillon 2013; Offner 2001). As a showcase object, promoting the city in the frame of international competition, the tramway has thus become in many places a consensual transport mode framed in the concept of sustainable development (MESDE 2012; Hamman 2011; Grillet-Aubert 2006; Di Commio 2005). Positive attributes referring to the tram within official discourses have respectively been “efficient”, “ecological”, “quiet”, “accessible”, “comfortable”, “aesthetic”, “fast” and “safe” (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 21). In this context, the elected officials’ choice in favour of the tram has been generally not negotiable and above 299

Such districts, targeted by the tram networks, are Bellevue in Nantes, Hautepierre in Strasbourg, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray in Rouen, La Paillade in Montpellier, Les Caillols in Marseille or Orgeval in Reims (Zembri 2012). 300 Tramway lines were routed through non-urbanised areas e.g. in Orleans, Montpellier and Reims (Zembri 2012). The future extension of the D-line in Strasbourg is also supposed to accelerate the urbanisation of a waste land in the West of the city (see Chapter 5.2.4.3).

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controversies during the public consultations301. Even in the case of strong opposition against a tram project, the inquiry did not lead to a complete reconsideration of the technological choice but at most to the modification of some scheme aspects like the small-scale routing or the punctual integration in the urban fabric (Hassiak and Richer 2012, pp. 83ff.; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). In effect, the practice of decision-making for tramway projects in France demonstrated a high instrumental efficiency (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 85), as within 30 years, twenty-five schemes comprising one or more lines were implemented throuhout the country. 5.1.5

Milestones and key features of the French tramway renaissance

Since the introduction of the first modern line in Nantes in 1985, the tramway openings in France have been scheduled around the municipal elections in the years 1995, 2001, 2008 and 2014 (e.g. MESDE 2012; Laisney 2014; Groneck 2009). As an integral part of the electoral programs of many municipal teams, tramway projects have been generally a major issue in the political assessment of a mayor’s mandate and therefore needed to be completed within its frame (Stambouli 2007; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). This logic has entailed the timing of official line openings set closely to the end of municipal terms of office (Figure 25).

301

See for an analysis of the French practice of public consultation Hamann (2011) and Hamann and Blanc (2011).

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100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1989

1995

2001

2008

2014

Figure 25: Length of tramway tracks brought into operation since 1985 (in km) Source: Own Illustration, based on CERTU (2007, p. 2) and CERTU (2013, pp. 477-513)302.

5.1.5.1

Grenoble as a trend-setter

Nantes and Grenoble started the wave of new tramways in the mid-1980s. Whereas the first line in Nantes did not have a strong visible impact on the public space, apart from the modern rolling stock and stations with original furniture (Kaminagai 2014), Grenoble accompanied the tram introduction of 1987 with an extensive urban renovation scheme. The sensitive integration of the street-level alignment in the architecturally appealing old town of Grenoble was a prerequisite to obtain the support of the political actors and the acceptance of the local public for the project (Groneck 2009; MESDE 2012). Since the alternative to build an underground section was prohibitively expensive, the design of the tram corridor and the vehicles was a central planning issue (Groneck 2009). Furthermore, the local associations of handicapped people insisted on the launch of an accessible rolling stock, so that low-floor centre sections were inserted in the TFS-vehicles for Grenoble and the following systems in other cities (Demongeot 2011). As a result, Grenoble introduced the fundamentals of the modern French tramway – an individually designed vehicle 302

The data contained in CERTU (2007, p. 2) and CERTU (2013, pp. 477-513) covers the period from 1991 to 2012. In order to complete the presented series, additional data was derived on the basis of information from the webpages of the operators of the various tramway systems in France.

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with a (partial) low-floor body and especially the establishment of a soft pedestrianised area in the city centre which excluded the car but was crossed by the tram (Kaminagai 2014). Many agglomerations followed this example. 5.1.5.2

Momentum for the tramway renaissance

The third new tramway appeared in 1992, marking the return of this transport mode to the Paris conurbation. Two years later, the tramway in Rouen started its operations and was called Metro by local officials because it used an underground section in the city centre and did not interfere with the car traffic (Laisney 2014; Kaminagai 2014). However, it was the Strasbourg tramway, launched just before Rouen in 1994, which attracted the most attention and constituted a potentially successful model for elsewhere (Laisney 2014). Reaffirming the principles applied already in Grenoble, the tramway system incorporated an elegant and futuristic vehicle, known as Eurotram303, and highquality urban insertion, with grassed tracks in the city streets and architectural landmarks such as the Homme de Fer station (Kaminagai 2014). The urban rearangements accompanying the tramway introduction in Strasbourg demonstrated the manifold potential of the transport mode and gave rise to a rhetoric around the tramway, in which the modal shift from the automobile has not been the only purpose of building tram systems (Gagnière 2012). Nevertheless, the significant increase in public transport ridership after the launch of the first tramway services 304 was an important argument in favour of the transport mode and strengthened the interest in it elesewhere (Prédali 2014). Therefore, the tramway renaissance in France has been pinpointed to this time period characterised by the opening of the first lines in Strasbourg and Rouen in 1994 (CERTU 2009; MESDE 2012; Kaminagai 2014). In hindsight, these tram inaugurations seem to mark the beginning of the national diffusion of the tram (Demongeot 2011, p. 497), so that it can be stated that they provided momentum to the tramway renaissance. Despite some voices305 questioning the relevance of this transport mode, particularly in financial and technical terms, its spread in France has been continuing since then. 5.1.5.3

The ongoing spread of tramway systems across the country

The tram system projects in Lyon, Montpellier and Orléans were all completed in 2000 and largely anticipated the application of the PDUs, most of which were 303

The Eurotram was designed by Pierre Neerman, who created also the rolling stock design for Grenoble and the later low-floor tram model Citadis (Kaminagai 2014). A growth of 30% was reached already during the first year of tram operations in Strasbourg, in other cities it took a bit longer for the patronage gains to stabilise around this value (Prédali 2014). 305 See e.g. Carmona (2001). 304

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approved in 2001. The effectuation of the travel plans further stimulated the introduction of tramways, so that between the municipal elections of 2001 and 2008, eight new systems were inaugurated. Besides the big agglomerations of Bordeaux and Nice, the middle-sized industrial cities of Mulhouse, Valenciennes and Le Mans opened their first lines to the public. Whereas these lines used conventional steel-wheel technology, Clermont-Ferrand and Caen chose tramways on tyres306, as had done also Nancy in 2001. At the same time, the first networks in Nantes, Grenoble, Strasbourg and Paris expanded, facing less opposition than the initial line projects did (Kaminagai 2014). All transport schemes from the 2000s were linked to major urban redevelopment projects, especially in the city centres (Laisney 2014; MESDE 2012). To fit into the requilified streetscape, attractively and spefically designed vehicles were used to equip the networks. With its low-floor model Citadis, which has been running in French cities since 2000, Alstom presented a modular tramcar available in several lengths and widths which allowed for local customisation while maintaining economies of scale (Hattori 2004). By creating specific front sections, liveries and interior often inspired by the local history and culture, the manufacturer could offer distinctly designed vehicles for each system 307 serving the common project objectives of enhancing the image of public transport and the city and affirming the urban identity (Kaminagai 2014; Laisney 2014). The initially “standard French” tramcars by Alstom became customised and city specific after 2000, which allowed the company to increase its global market share for trams from 2% to 24% while further dominating the domestic market (Kaminagai 2014).

306

Nancy and Caen adopted the TVR technology, which had been based on one of the proposals submitted to Concours Cavallé (see Chapter 5.1.2.3). The TVR is essentially a trolleybus with a single steel guide-rail laid into the ground. Clermont-Ferrand, hometown of the tyre manufacturer Michelin, pioneered a similar (trolley)bus called Translohr, which is also following a guide rail, but unlike TVR, Translohr cars are permanently fixed to that rail and cannot divert from it (Guillon 2013). The TVR has suffered serious technical and operational problems since its commissioning in the early 2000s, so that the manufacturer Bombardier effectively abandoned the technology and Caen announced the conversion of its line to a conventional tramway (Guillon 2013; Zembri 2012; Certu 2009a). The Translohr company, which was taken over by Alstom and the state in 2012, has had more success with its guided bus technology, which is used on two lines in Paris, opened in 2013 and 2014 respectively, as well as in China, Italy and Colombia (Kaminagai 2014). 307 A famous example is the moulded fibre-glass front of the tram vehicles in Lyon symbolising a silkworm (Figure 26) as a reference to the significance of sericulture for the city, while the front sections in Reims are shaped like a champagne flute to point that the city has been one of the centres of champagne production.

The French tramway renaissance

Figure 26: Lyon’s tram vehicle with a front section symbolising a silkworm

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While in the early 1990s, the tramway was considered as a suitable transport mode for urban areas counting at least half a million inhabitants, a decade later the population threshold defined by experts was lowered to 300,000 (Hassiak and Richer 2012, p. 16; Grillet-Aubert 2006). With the closer integration of tram schemes in the overall urban development policy, the transport technology became eligble also for smaller conurbations. Hence, between the municipal elections in 2008 and 2014, Reims, Angers, Brest 308, Dijon, Le Havre and Tours opened their first tram lines. In the same period, a first tramway line was launched in Toulouse as a complement of the VAL system, while most of the existing tram networks in other cities expanded (Laisney 2014). Due to budget constraints, the costs of these projects had to be limited and did not exceed 25 million euros per kilometre, as compared with up to 35 million euros previously309 (Kaminagai 2014; MESDE 2012; CERTU 2009a). The cities of Besançon and Aubagne, which opened their first tram lines a few months after the local elections of 2014, saved on costs for their systems also by choosing a more compact and cheaper rolling stock310 (Laisney 2014). Notwithstanding the financial constraints, also the recent tramway projects included urban renewal and aesthetic design goals trying to match the standards of other cities (Kaminagai 2014). 5.1.5.4

The materiality of French tramway networks

The infrastructural core of the tramway systems constructed until now features some French particularities mirroring the decision-making rationality presented above. The endeavor to link major trip attractors311, often built in the suburbs during the “toute automobile”-period, with the dense housing areas and the urban core resulted in convoluted routes, especially for the first lines (Zembri 2012; Groneck 2009; Frenay 2005). Close station spacing of 400-500 metres at the street-level, particularly in the densely populated city areas, provides high degrees of accessibility and allows for high system visibility. This urban dimension of the tramway goes at the expense of its transportation performance in terms of speed (Zembri 2012; Groneck 2009). However, thanks to the own right-of-way and signal priority at junctions, the trams can generally compensate 308

It is to be noted, that in October 1990, a local referendum in Brest blocked the development of a tramway, and a political decision canceled the scheme of Reims in 1986 (Groneck 2007). 309 The tram in Rouen and the first line in Strasbourg feature the highest cost levels due to the construction of underground sections. 310 Besançon chose a “low-cost” tram by the Spanish manufacturer CAF, while Aubagne ordered the model Alstom Citadis Compact. Another way of more economic rolling stock purchase was the joint order placed by Brest and Dijon. (Guillon 2013) 311 The main trip attractors have been mainly universities, hospitals, business parks, shopping centres and leisure facilities.

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the detours and frequent dwelling, and run at average commercial speeds of 18 to 22 km/h (Zembri 2012) in the urban areas. That way, the trams offer faster travels than the previous bus services, which were consistently reorganised upon the tramway lines to provide feeder services for them. Despite the eventual necessity for passengers to make an intermodal transfer, a tram service at short intervals reduces the waiting times (Groneck 2009; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). Although the associated costs are higher than alternatively running longer vehicles at lower frequencies, the ridership gains after a tramway opening have commended this operational principle (Groneck 2009). In general, the commissioning of a tram line has entailed an increase of the public transport patronage in all French cities312, even though tramways could nowhere significantly change the modal split over a whole urban area (F3; Kaufmann et al. 2008; Bouf and Henscher 2007; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). 5.1.5.5

The perspectives for the future development of tramway systems

During the thirty years since 1985, more than 700 kilometres of tram networks have been built in France, and the majority of the urban areas with at least 200,000 inhabitants have one or more lines. In 23 of these urban areas, the tram serves as a major form of public transport, while in the remaining five – Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Lille and Toulouse – the tramway complements a conventional metro or VAL system. Figure 27 shows the French urban areas, where a tramway or a metro system has been in service, whereas Table 5 provides some numerical information on the existing tramways in France.

312

See Gagnière (2012), MESDE (2012) and Groneck (2007).

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

Figure 27: French urban areas with tramway313 and metro systems Source: own illustration

313

Besides the cities with a classical tramway, Clermont-Ferrand and Nancy, which deploy rubbertyred tramways, are also depicted. In Clermont-Ferrand, the Translohr technology has been in use, wehereas in Nancy TVR has been in service.

2

1992, 1994, 2000, 2009, 2012

43

3

1987

1990, 2006, 2007, 2014

35

5

11.780.000

1992

1997, 2006, 2012, 2013, 2014

105

9

Rouen

496.000

1994

15

2

Strasbourg

476.000

1994

2000, 2007, 2008, 2013

41

6

Montpellier

2006, 2012

59

4

11

1

Saint-Etienne

381.000

1881

2006, 2015

Lille

1.129.000

1909

Nantes

604.000

1985

Grenoble

406.000

Paris/ Île-deFrance

(Year)

Extensions

18

Opening Year

3

Population1

12

Tramway system (city)

Number of Lines2

189

Network Length2 (km)

The French tramway renaissance

424.000

2000

3

Nancy

263.000

2000

Orleans

281.000

2000

2012

29

2

Lyon

1.314.000

2001

2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014

66

5

Caen3

222.000

2002

16

2

Bordeaux

722.000

2003

57

3

ClermontFerrand3

290.000

2006

14

1

Mulhouse

255.000

2006

2009, 2010

18

3

Valencienne

348.000

2006

2007

34

2

Le Mans

189.000

2007

15

1

13

2

9

1

Marseille

1.052.000

2007

Nice

538.000

2007

2004, 2007, 2008, 2015

4

2010

924.000

2010

Angers

274.000

Reims

1

2011

12

1

212.000

2011

11

2

Brest

213.000

2012

14

1

Dijon

250.000

2012

19

2

Le Havre

243.000

2012

13

1

Tours

305.000

2013

16

1

Aubagne

106.000

2014

11

2

Besancon

183.000

2014

15

2

(Year)

17

Extensions

Number of Lines2

Opening Year

Toulouse

Network Length2 (km)

Population1

The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

Tramway system (city)

190

2015

1

The population figure, as of 2012, refers to the area of the AOTU providing the public transport services. 2

As of 2015.

3

The systems of Nancy, Caen and Clermont-Ferrand deploy rubber-tyred vehicles, and are hence no classical tramways. In Caen, the system will be replaced by a classical tramway by the end of 2019. 4 The tramway of Marseille was operational throughout the whole twentieth century, but between 2004 and 2007, it was out of service due to reconstruction works. The current network opened in mid-2007. Table 5: Overview of the French tramway systems Source: CERTU (2013)314

314

The data concerning the network length and the number of lines in the various systems was updated on the basis of information obtained from the webpages of the respective operators.

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Rennes and Toulon are the two main exceptions of populous French agglomerations315 which have not implemented the tramway technology. While Rennes opted for a VAL system, Toulon reversed in 2005 an initial decision to build a tram system in favour of a bus with a high level of service (BHLS). The BHLS is a bus-based system with an own right-of-way, conceptualised in France in the mid-2000s on the basis of local experiences in Île-de-France, Rouen and Nantes, which tries to link advantages of the less expensive, flexible bus services with the performance of tramways (F1). The popularity of the BHLS concept in France has been increasing since 2006, and especially after the reinstallation of government funding for public transport in the framework of Grenelle de l’environment316 (F1; CERTU 2009a). The parallel spread of tramways to smaller urban areas entails a potential “battle” between the two technological systems as they provide similar service levels and can integrate equally well into the urban landscape. However, trams and BHLS can also complement each other, particularly in large agglomerations, as has been the case in Rouen, Nantes and Strasbourg317 (F1; F3). Given the number of cities that have already implemented a tramway in France, there will be far less openings of new systems as in the previous 10-15 years. Hence following the model of Hughes (1987), one can say that the French tramway renaissance has entered into a period of consolidation. In fact, Laisney (2014) claims that the essence of the future work will be the maintenance of the networks and their renewal, although various network extension projects are being prepared, too. 5.2 5.2.1

The tramway system of Strasbourg City profile

Strasbourg, the capital of the Région Alsace, is a city located in the Northeast of France, at the German border. It has about 275,000 inhabitants and is the kernel of the “Eurometropole de Strasbourg” 318 – a larger built-up area of more than 480,000 inhabitants which includes a total of 28 self-governing municipalities (Insee 2015; Eurometropole 2016). As the city of Strasbourg accounts for more than half of the population in the conurbation and covers approximately one quarter of the whole territory – 78 square kilometres within the 316 km2 area, Strasbourg’s Mayor serves also as the head of government of the Eurometropole. 315

Both urban areas have more than 400,000 inhabitants. The growing number of submitted BHLS proposals to the Grenelle calls, as shown in Chapter 5.1.3.4, underlines the popularity of the BHLS. 317 See for the cases of Rouen and Strasbourg Chapters 5.2.4.2 and 5.3.3. 318 Before the 1st January 2015, l’Eurometropole de Strasbourg was called Communité Urbaine de Strasbourg (CUS). (Eurometropole 2016) 316

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

Furthermore, the city is a significant business and administrative centre in France with an active role in science and education, and therefore acts as the main employment generator not only for the conurbation but also for a larger region extending in north-southern direction from where it attracts numerous daily commuters (F3). The vast majority of the workplaces in Strasbourg and its conurbation – about 85% – are concentrated in the tertiary and public sector, but the biotechnology and automotive industry as well as agriculture are key employment areas, too (CUS 2014). As the seat of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is also a centre of international politics, and with its location at the crossroad of European transport corridors between Western and East-Central Europe, it considers itself as a “European capital” which is mirrored by the choice of the name Eurometropole for the conurbation. In this context, Strasbourg has aimed to present itself as a coherent, well-governed and liveable metropolis; and the establishment of a modern tramway system over the past three decades was an integral part of the associated urban policies. 5.2.2 5.2.2.1

The path from the old tramway to a new system The rise and fall of the old tramway

Before the launch of the first modern tramway line in 1994, trams had already run in Strasbourg until 1960. Tramway operations in the city, initially with horse-drawn vehicles, started in 1878 and within a few years expanded to the suburbs. After 1894, when electric traction was introduced to the operations, a widespread network emerged, including several overland lines on both sides of the Rhine River. This network continued growing until the beginning of the First World War, which brought its partition, however, such that only the lines on French territory, west of the Rhine, remained part of it. At the end of the war, the city-owned transport company CTS (Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois) resumed the tramway extension and opened several new track sections, so that in the late 1920s the urban network was composed of ten cross-city lines and one ring line stretching along the quays in the centre and the main boulevards. The urban network reached its maximum length of 83 km in 1937, and additional 151 kilometres were in operation on the overland lines. Despite the network growth, the tram was losing its significance throughout the 1930s. Already at the beginning of the decade, the motorbus appeared as a competitor, in particular to the rural lines, and in 1939, also trolleybus services were launched in the city of Strasbourg. However, the shortage of gasoline and tyres during the Second World War made the tramway the only available form of public transport for a few years. In 1943, it had a ridership which was 25% higher as compared to the passenger numbers in the early 1930s. (Robert 1974, pp. 398ff.; Muller 1994)

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After the end of World War II, the CTS did not have the necessary financials means to upgrade the infrastructure and renew the rolling stock. The war damage, the omitted maintenance during the war and the increasing motor traffic eventually led to the decision to abandon the tramway and close the existing network. Although some lines were converted to trolleybus operations in the late 1940s, the urban tram network system was preserved as a whole until 1953. In the meantime, the bus industry had developed vehicles which promised more flexible and efficient operations, so that CTS scrapped all tramway routes within seven years and replaced them by buses, even if some were very busy until the end. The obsolete image of the tramway required its disappearance from the streets where space had to be made for the automobile – the new symbol of modernity. The trolleybus was abandoned soon after, in 1962, whereby its first pre-war line was closed already in 1955. The motorbus remained the only means of public transport in Strasbourg, while most of the trips were done by private car. (Robert 1974, pp. 398ff; Muller 1994) 5.2.2.2

The first plans for reviving the tramway

Based on the globally circulating doctrines of functionalist urban planning, during the 1950s and 1960s, car accessibility became the major issue of the transport policy and planning. In this period, Strasbourg was chosen by the French Ministry of Transport as a “pilot-site” for the application of traffic models originating from the USA. Under the assumption of the continuation of past trends, the implemented planning tools projected urban and demographic growth associated with significant traffic increase which implied the construction of large-scale road infrastructure in the urban area. This planning approach, supported especially by road engineers from the national technical authorities, clearly dominated until the mid-1970s, when it was confronted with the view of the municipal administration, which insisted on the protection of architectural heritage and urbanity in the city. Pierre Pfimlin, mayor of Strasbourg between 1959 and 1983 and head of the Urban Community (CUS), was a declared opponent of the progressing car invasion, particularly in the historic city centre, and actively promoted the creation of an extensive pedestrian zone in the old town at the time of the formulation of the agglomeration development plans, called “dossier d’agglomération”. Thanks to an exceptional institutional constellation inherited from German law, which had granted him full authority over urban planning within his jurisdiction, the mayor could successfully prevent the construction of motorways in the city centre. As the ancient capital of the Reichland Alsace-Lorraine, Strasbourg had traditionally had expertise in the field of urban planning, which was further strengthened in 1965 with the

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

establishment of a planning unit within the municipal administration on behalf of Pierre Pfimlin319. This provided the ability to the mayor’s office to defend its interests against the objectives of the road engineers from the national authorities and reach a compromise between the political vision of reclaiming public space from the automobile and the functional approach of access improvement through building road infrastructure. In effect, in 1975, a development plan for the city centre was approved, which aimed at the suppression of transit car traffic by constructing a beltway and bypass roads so that a large part of the centre could be transformed into a pedestrian area. Furthermore, a tramway project was also an integral element of the plan. (Gallez et al. 20013) Already in 1972, the Urban Community (CUS) had plotted the principles of a public transport network with an own right of way aimed at improving the accessibility of the city centre, and approved the general scheme two years later (Demongeot 2011, p. 194). At this stage, the exact transport technology was not specified yet. The set of options included the motorbus and a conventional metro, and with the State initiative triggered by the letter of Marcel Cavaillé, it was extended by the modern tramway (Demongeot 2011, p. 194). The bus was quickly discarded as a solution due to its limited capacity, the environmental impacts of its operations and the low attractiveness of its public image, whereas the costs of a fully segregated metro turned out to be prohibitive for a city of the size of Strasbourg (Muller 1994, p. 149). In contrast, a tramway with a dedicated right-of-way seemed a feasible option, which had already been effectively implemented in the neighbouring cities Basel, Freiburg and Karlsruhe. To visualise the merits of the technology and its concept study trips were organised for the local decision makers to the places that had already appropriated it. The examples of the German and Swiss systems demonstrated the pertinence of the modern tramway, so that it was eventually chosen also in Strasbourg due to its tested technology, advantageous capacity-cost ratio and acceptable realisation horizon (Muller 1994, p. 149; Kopff and Okamoto 2005). Accordingly, two tram lines were included in the agglomeration development plan of 1975 with the perspective to be built within a period of ten years. However, the oil crisis of the 1970s and an associated temporary reduction in State transport subsidies led to a postponement of the foreseen transport projects (Gallez et al. 2013). Besides that, the municipal elections taking place in 1983 were another reason to defer

319

It was also under the pressure of the mayor that the Urban Community of Strasbourg (CUS) was founded in 1966. In order to counterbalance the growth of the Paris metropolitan area, the State favoured the creation of intercommunal structures that are able to deal with urban development in large agglomerations and created an urban community in Strasbourg as well as in Lille, Lyon and Bordeaux. (Maksim et al. 2007)

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the start of the construction works for the tramway, which had been initially scheduled for the beginning of the same year (Demongeot 2011, p. 194). 5.2.2.3

The battle of systems in Strasbourg

In 1983, Marcel Rudloff, a member of the Centrist Party like Pierre Pfimlin, was elected as the new Mayor of Strasbourg. Unlike his predecessor, he had a favourable attitude to the car traffic and sought to protect it from the restrictions that the realisation of the tram project would expose it to. He was supported by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the retailers associations who argued that customers were used to shopping by car and opposed to eliminating the traffic from the centre (Aparicio 2004). Consequently, a modification of the original plan for a street-level network was initiated to incorporate an extended underground section in the city centre which eventually led to the idea of a comprehensive segregated metro network, which would not interfere with the automobile flow. The light automatic metro VAL, which was commissioned in Lille in 1983, presented an example of how to achieve the desired objectives and furthermore evoked among local decision-makers a high-tech “future-oriented” image (Muller 1994, p.151). The looming preference of the urban community council in Strasbourg for a VAL over the tram was reinforced after two study trips in 1985. The elected representatives visited besides Lille also Nantes, where the new mayor of the city, a declared opponent of the tramway, advised them not to follow the example of Nantes in choosing a tram (Muller 1994, p.151). Hence, a VAL network comprising two diametric lines got an approval from CUS and a contract with Matra for the construction works was signed so that the preliminary scheme was ready for a public inquiry in 1988 (Demongeot 2011, p. 195; Muller 1994, pp.151f). The approaching municipal elections meant once more the postponement of implementing the public transport project and a contestation of the technological choice. In the debates preceding the vote of 1989, the opposition leader Catherine Trautmann from the Socialist Party brought the tramway option back on the agenda and so initiated a discursive battle of the systems. Two main arguments were put forward to strengthen the case of the tram – the financial discrepancy between the two technologies and the necessity to change the public space and reduce the car traffic in the centre. The construction costs for a VAL system were estimated to nearly double the cost of a comparable tramway, so that with the same budget, a denser network could be built instead of an isolated metro line. The financial and technical possibility to build more tram stops than metro stations would allow for a higher city coverage and better accessibility of the public transport system. Furthermore, it would be easier to expand a streetlevel tramway in accordance with the urban development plans. At the same

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

time, the planning and construction of surface lines would give the opportunity to redesign the street space and reallocate it for the benefit of urban activities and soft mobility modes. This meant in particular a pedestrianisation in the city centre to a much larger extent than it had been envisaged by the underground VAL scheme. (Muller 1994, pp.152f.; Demongeot 2011, p. 497) In March 1989, Catherine Trautmann was elected as the Mayor of Strasbourg, and just three months later, the decision to build a VAL system was revised in favour of a tramway, without that a cost-benefit analysis was considered necessary (Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, p. 85). Although the reinstallation of the plans for the street-level transport mode was an integral part of Trautmann’s election program, she relativised the importance of the battle of the systems for her victory320. Nonetheless, within less than a year after she came into power, the new mayor of Strasbourg had become renowned as the leading tramway promotor in France (Muller 1995). The first line, using almost the same right-ofway that had been defined in the early 1980s (Muller 1994, pp. 153f.), was commissioned shortly after the announcement of the candidature of Catherine Trautmann for a second legislation period. In late 1994, all the big national media reported extensively about the launch of the modern tramway in Strasbourg, which was presented as a technology of the future and expression of modernity, and the echo was much stronger than in all the other cases before (Demongeot 2011, p. 497). A few months later, in June 1995, Catherine Trautmann was re-elected as a Mayor of Strasbourg already in the first round, with a much higher result than in 1989, and once more her success was mainly associated with the tram (Aparicio 2004; Demongeot 2011, p. 497f.). Thereafter, in France, tramway inaugurations were explicitly considered as a promise for municipal electoral victories, as opposed to the uncertainties before the local elections in the previous two decades (Demongeot 2011, pp. 497f.). 5.2.3 5.2.3.1

The establishment of a large technical system The local appropriation of tramway technology

Catherine Trautmann came into power in 1989 in a context that had questioned the position of Strasbourg as a site of the European Parliament 321. In order to enhance the status and the image of Strasbourg, Trautmann and her team 320

In fact, the Socialist Party won the local elections also in the other big cities in Région Alsace, Mulhouse and Sélestat, without that transport issues had been decisive (Demongeot 2011, p. 497). 321 The dispersed location of the European Parliament, split between Strasbourg, Brussels and Luxembourg, has caused some controversy, because of the financial, environmental and practical difficulties resulting from the arrangement. As Brussels has been usually considered the main site of the institution, since the mid-1980s, there have been plans to give up the Strasbourg location.

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presented a political programme for the overall development of the Urban Community. Taking up the principle lines of the “dossier d’agglomeration” from 1975, the new mayor’s office reactivated reflections on the integration of the policies on transport and urban development, which largely anticipated the national legislation in form of the Solidarity and Urban Renewal Act passed almost a decade later (Maksim et al. 2007). The programme of Catherine Trautmann brought to the fore the values of urbanity and solidarity, in addition to the economic attraction of the urban area (Gallez et al. 2013). The idea of urbanity was represented by the envisaged revitalisation of public spaces and shared use of city streets, while the improvement of public transport by introducing a tramway was intended to reinforce the solidarity within the Strasbourg agglomeration and stimulate its economy (Gallez et al. 2013; Aparicio 2004; F3). Furthermore, the political programme aimed also at responding to the globally circulating, growing concerns about “sustainability” and the environment by pursuing the reorganisation of traffic and parking in favour of the environmentally friendly travel modes walking, cycling and public transport (Aparicio 2004). The so defined priorities in the field of transport policy and urban planning, accentuating urbanity and solidarity while encouraging sustainable development, were included also in the PDUs of 2000 and 2010 and have therefore exposed a certain continuity since the early 1990s (F3). A central policy tool for the realisation of the programme objectives of Catherine Trautmann was the establishment of a modern tramway system in Strasbourg. It was supposed to bring together transport and urbanism and that way serve to “rethink the city”, as Aparicio (2004) summarised the discursive shaping of the tram project, articulated in the official municipal review – the “Strasbourg Magazine” – in the period between 1989 and 1994322. On this platform, the local appropriation of the tramway took place within the common “discursive framework” presented in Chapter 3.2 and maintained a new way of thinking and talking about the transport technology which became characteristic for the tramway renaissance in France, but also elsewhere. The tramway coming into existence in Strasbourg was said to be “beyond a mere transport means”, as it was aimed to not only allow for a modal shift and time savings on the side of the passengers, but also to “better the life conditions in neighbourhoods”, “free the public space” and condition a new urban dynamism (Aparicio 2004). In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Strasbourg, like many other cities, suffered from the

322

See Aparicio (2005) for a deeper analysis of the contributions in the “Strasbourg Magazine” as a tool of communication during the construction of the first tram line in Strasbourg.

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growing car traffic323 and the associated nuisances. The “Strasbourg Magazine” highlighted the adverse impacts, which had manifested in the loss of attractiveness for the city, the atmospheric and noise pollution, the lack of road safety, the inefficiency of public and private transport due to congestion as well as the segregation of neighbourhoods and social exclusion (Aparicio 2004). Especially the historical city centre, which has belonged to the UNESCO world heritage, was unable to accommodate the continuous traffic increase, and the traffic was discouraging many inhabitants and visitors away from it. Unlike the automobile, the tramway was presented as compatible with the identity of the city and able to put an end to the degradation of the historical heritage caused by traffic. It was to give back to the centre its original symbolic function as a place of public encounter, combining both tradition and modernity as was expected from a capital of Europe. As an environmentally friendly means of transport, the tramway also promised to reduce pollution and provide the city with new green and healthier spaces in the frame of its realisation. Furthermore, the introduction of the tram was associated also with economic benefits for the urban area resulting from the accessibility enhancement and generated employment. Globally, the tramway scheme meant “the improvement of the quality of life in the city” by recovering public space from the automobile (Aparicio 2004). For this purpose, the introduction of the Strasbourg tramway was to be accompanied by a reorganisation of the urban transport including a modification of the parking policy in the centre, an extension of the pedestrian areas and the bicycle network as well as an embellishment of squares and streets along the tram route. The building of the large technical system was apparently conceived as a window of opportunity to reconfigure the mobility patterns in the inner city and positively affect the direct urban environment. In February 1992, during the construction of the first tram line, a new traffic plan was implemented which aimed at suppressing the automobile through traffic in the city centre while preserving its accessibility. In this frame, a wide pedestrian area was established in the historic city centre which was to be shared with trams and bicycles, but was not to be crossed by buses and cars anymore. Before that, Strasbourg’s city centre had been traversed by two main artery roads built in the “toute automobile” era, which separated three small pedestrian islands. In 1991, these roads carried nearly 45,000 vehicles per day, almost half of which drove through (Aparicio 2004). With the new plan, the transit traffic was rerouted to bypasses, while cars entering the centre had to be left in newly installed underground parking facilities, located in many cases under the pedestrianised 323

Due to the concentration of employment and civic services in Strasbourg, there were about 240,000 vehicles per day in the city, where just about 250,000 people were living at the time (Aparicio 2004).

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public spaces. Furthermore, the overall number of parking places in the centre was reduced significantly in order to encourage a shift to the more environmentally friendly travel modes (Hass-Klau and Crampton 2002, p. 48). Nonetheless, numerous compensatory park-and-ride facilities324 were created at tram stops at the periphery of the inner city as well as at the line terminuses in outer districts. There, car drivers from suburban and remote city areas, which were not to be served by the tramway, could make a modal transfer and continue their trip to the city centre by tram325. Therefore, the extensive pedestrianisation in combination with the launch of a tramway line allowed limiting the car presence in Strasbourg’s centre without impairing its accessibility. (Muller 2000, pp. 56ff.; Muller 1995) The construction of the tramway was associated with rearrangements of the traffic space also outside the historic city centre. The provision of an own rightof-way for the new public transport mode reduced the carriageway width on several sections of the main road network and included the installation of signal priority at junctions. New pavements for pedestrians and bicycle lanes paralleled the tracks. As a result, the traffic flow and speed could be limited along the tram route which allowed for the establishment of safe pedestrian crossings near the stops. Districts, previously separated by high-speed urban roads, could be thus linked together making the street-level tram stops important connecting points in the city. One single stop on the first line, and eventually in the whole network, had to be built underground, in the 1,400-metres long tunnel crossing the track field of Strasbourg’s main railway station. Its construction provided though the opportunity to completely redesign the main square Place de la Gare, underneath which the stop is located, so that traffic calming was achieved and large surface areas were reshaped in favour of pedestrians. (Rennesson and Meneteau 2005; Muller 1994, p. 156) The functional rearrangement of the streets and squares along the emerging tram line was carried out concurrently with measures on the urban fabric renewal. This was a political wish aiming to make the city “a desired object for everybody” (Trautmann 1994). The mayor Catherine Trautmann pointed out that “on the occasion of the tramway realisation, Strasbourg had wanted to offer to everybody the urban and architectural richness of the city. A city, which is being looked at, where one fits in, and not a city, which one drives through without 324

There were three park-and-ride stations along the route of the first line. With the growth of the tram network, additional facilities were built, so that at the end of 2015, there were 9 park-and-ride stations with more than 4,000 places in total (F3). 325 A fare policy, providing for unlimited parking and a return tram ticket for each car occupant at a low total price, has offered an additional incentive for multi-modal trips (F3).

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

seeing.”326 Respectively, more than one third of the total sum spent on the construction of the first line was invested on the embellishment of the streetscape through which the tram would run (Muller 1994, p. 154). The main target areas for reconstruction were the civic centre around Place Kléber and the Place de la Gare. The tram stop Homme de Fer – the hub of the future network, located nearby Place Kléber – was furnished with a large circular overhead cover of metal and glass327 that created an emblematic centrality point (Kaminagai 2014) and became an important meeting place in the city (Figure 28). Furthermore, the street furniture was upgraded and many building fronts were refurbished. In the city centre, almost half of the building stock around the tram line underwent a transformation, but also in the southern section of the alignment, about a third of the building facades were modified (Hasiak and Richer 2012, p. 80). The use of grass strips and the planting of 1,700 trees along the route complemented the efforts to create an aesthetic urban environment. The integral urbanistic approach of appropriating the tramway became a characteristic feature of the style of French systems.

326

“A l’occasion de la réalisation du tramway, Strasbourg a voulu offrir à tous, la richesse urbaine et architecturale de la ville. Une ville où l’on regarde, où l’on glisse, pas une ville que l’on traverse dans la voiture sans la voir.“ (Trautmann 1994, quoted in Wolff 2012) 327 Similar constructions were erected later at the central tram stops in Valenciennes (Hôtel de Ville and Espace Villars) and Montpellier (Odysseum and Occitanie). (Kaminagai 2014)

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Figure 28: The central tram stop Homme de Fer

The streetscape improvements were reinforced by means of a highly visible, futuristic rolling stock (Kaminagai 2014). Instead of choosing the standard French tramway vehicles, commissioned in the previously opened systems, Strasbourg decided to introduce a tramcar developed on its own initiative and tailored to its particular needs. The local officials set stringent standards on the ergonomics and aesthetics of the rolling stock. They wanted an entirely low-floor vehicle with wide doors to facilitate transfers and accessibility for all passengers and to allow for the integration of the tramway in the urban environment 328. In response, the Italian manufacturer Socimi, in cooperation with the multinational corporation ABB, developed the Eurotram – a novel tramcar with a low floor along its entire length featuring large glassed surfaces which offered transparency and a panoramic view of the city (Figure 29). When in the mid2000s additional rolling stock was ordered to operate on the growing network, the French producer Alstom, which had been chosen to deliver the new vehicles, had to restyle them to look like the original Eurotram. The latter was called the “moving walkway” (trottoir roulant) (Laisney 2014), as it provided the feeling to 328

See Muller (1994, pp. 178-193) for more information on the rolling stock and its development.

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the passengers that they are part of the life in the streets. Silent and emissionsfree, it fit both in the pedestrian precinct and the tree-lined sections outside the centre and gave the impression of an environmental enhancement (F3). The individually designed, elegant vehicle has been a prominent element of the technical core of the system and an emblematic expression of its style.

The tramway system of Strasbourg

Figure 29: The first and second generation tramway vehicles of Strasbourg

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The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

The wider effects of the first tramline

The first modern tramway line in Strasbourg, called line A, entered into service in November 1994. With a length of nearly 10 km, stretching from the northwest to the south of the city, it was an extended reconstitution of the old line 6/16, which had been taken out of service some 35 years ago 329. Like the old route, line A connected the southern fringe of Strasbourg with Place Kléber in the centre, from where it was prolonged via the tunnel under the railway station to Hautepierre-Maillon, a residential estate with a large share of social housing built in the 1970s. Designed to serve the main trip attractors and generators in the city, the line had stops at the main hospital, the major sports stadium, a large school complex and a major shopping centre in the south, as well as in areas with high residential and employment density. To increase the coverage of the tramway and to avoid paralleling its route, various bus lines were remodelled around the tram to provide feeder services from more remote locations. (Muller 1994, pp. 155-157) The section, commissioned in 1994, run only on the territory of the city of Strasbourg, as it needed time for Catherine Trautmann to gain political support for route extensions in the self-governing municipalities forming part of CUS. The Mayor of Illkirch-Graffenstaden, the municipality adjacent to the southern terminus of line A, had been an outspoken opponent of the tramway and blocked its prolongation until he lost his office at the elections in 1995 (Muller 2000, p. 26; Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, p. 86). Other municipalities along the projected new alignments were worried that they would lose trade due to the expected limitations for the car traffic associated with the tram arrival (HassKlau et al. 2004, p. 113). As Hughes (1987) points out, in the establishing phase, a system emerges under the influence of various socio-political factors and has to cope with uncertainty and opposition. Similar fears to those in the neighbouring municipalities had been expressed also in the city centre of Strasbourg, where during the construction works retail traders had indeed losses in their turnover of up to 30% (Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, p. 88; Hass-Klau et al 2004, p. 110). However, the pedestrianisation of the city centre and the enhancement of the urban environment attracted a large number of people to the inner city330, which combined with the accessibility provided by the tram encouraged the commercial 329 330

See Muller (1994, pp. 119ff.). Between 1988 and 1997 shopping trips to the city centre by all modes increased by 13%, while the number of pedestrians counted there almost doubled on weekends (Hass-Klauet al. 2004, pp. 111112).

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development and activities there (ADEUS 2000, 2004; Hass-Klau et al 2004, pp. 111ff.). After line A had opened, the retailing turnover increased significantly and exceeded the previously achieved values which entailed a growth in the property prices and rents (Hass-Klau et al 2004, pp. 112-113). The latter was attributed, however, not exclusively to the tram introduction, but to the overall city centre revitalisation that reduced also the population migration out of the city (F3; ADEUS, 2000). There were still some shops and offices that relocated from the centre to the outskirts of the city because of the limited expansion possibilities and the need of better car accessibility, but even in some of these cases, they chose a location in the proximity of a tram stop (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, pp. 112-113). Therefore, as theoretically suggested 331, a short distance to a tramway stop became an important location criterion and had a positive impact on the office as well as dwelling rent levels (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 113; Hasiak and Richer 2012, p. 84). Not only the economic impacts but also the passenger numbers delivered arguments in favour of the tramway. Thanks to the own right-of-way and the modern vehicles, the tram offered faster, more comfortable and more reliable services than the bus lines which it had replaced, and it could soon increase the public transport customer basis. Already during the first eleven months of operation, the daily ridership on line A exceeded the predicted value of 54,000, and in 1997, there were more than 92,000 daily users on average (Muller 2000, p. 23). The increased use of the new technology favoured the familiarisation with it and hence also its acceptance. Despite the initial opposition, the rapid ridership growth advanced plans to expand the tramway network and offer a more frequent service along the busiest sections of the first line. The change of office in Illkirch-Graffenstaden had permitted the prolongation of line A to the south, so that in July 1998, a section of 2.8 kilometres was added to its route. The inauguration of the new section took place in an official ceremony attended by the State Minister of Transport and Catherine Trautmann, who had meanwhile become the Minister of Culture, as well as the new mayors of Strasbourg and Illkirch-Grafenstaden (Muller 2000, p. 26). The presence of prominent politicians from the national and the local level can be interpreted as a confirmation of the tramway as a consensual transport mode in the agglomeration and beyond. Just a month after the prolongation of the tram alignment, another service line, labelled D, was launched in order to enable higher frequencies in the inner city by doubling the highly patronised part of line A (Muller 2000, p. 29). In parallel, 331

See Chapter 3.2.1.

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the construction of a second line set had started, which was to be completed by the end of 2000, before the next municipal elections (Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, p. 89). To serve the growing network, the number of tramcars in Strasbourg had to be doubled and, from 2000 on, the fleet included also new longer vehicles as the first Eurotrams were often used to their capacity limit (Hass-Klau and Crampton 1998, p. 87). The tramway system had entered into a phase of expansion. 5.2.4 5.2.4.1

The patterns of system expansion Expansion of the tramway system

In September 2000, twelve kilometres of new track were opened and two additional lines, labelled B and C, entered service on them. The lines shared a common route between the social housing district Elsau in the south-west of Strasbourg and the city centre, where they intersected the first line at Homme de Fer. From the central stop, line B continued to the northern municipality of Hoenheim, while line C branched to the east to serve the central university campus (Muller 2000, pp. 60-66). The tramway system was clearly gathering momentum, but it faced a challenge in the first months after the municipal elections of March 2001. The elections, marked by a countrywide setback of the left, brought into power the centre-right candidate Fabienne Keller whose team conceived of a modified transport policy in Strasbourg. They questioned the preference of the tramway over the car traffic and pursued a “new modal equilibrium” in the street network (Burmeister 2010a, p. 164). For this purpose, the signal priority for tramways was abandoned at three heavily frequented junctions. However, this measure was quickly given up because of the associated service disturbances and the following massive protests by the affected public transport users (F1; Burmeister 2010a). Having realised the significance of an efficient tramway system and the public approval of the latter, the new mayor’s office overcame the initial hesitation and undertook the further network expansion. The system had apparently gathered momentum, which made it difficult to stall or redirect it. For several years, the infrastructural core of the tramway remained basically unchanged, but at the end of the legislation period of Fabienne Keller, the construction works on several new track sections could be completed. Between August 2007 and May 2008, the network length was extended by altogether 13 kilometres and more than forty new vehicles entered service, nearly doubling the available rolling stock. New sections were built to connect with the centre the southern municipalities of Ostwald and Lingolsheim, the district of Neuhof in the south-east of Strasbourg, which had previously had a poor public transport

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service, as well as the European Parliament and the surrounding institutional buildings in the north-east of the city. In the frame of these extensions, a tangential line E was created, which has served the eastern part of Strasbourg without entering the centre in order to reduce the volume of transfer passengers at the central stop Homme de Fer. Thus, the hitherto cross-shaped network was coarsely meshed, that way resembling the structure of the old tramway which had been abolished in 1960332. (CUS 2010, pp. 8ff.) During the legislation period of the next mayor, the network continued growing but on a smaller scale. In late 2010, a new service line, labelled F, was opened to reinforce the timetable frequency in the centre, and two short track sections with an aggregate length of 1.5 kilometres were added to the physical network. One of the sections was a street-level link to the main railway station and was built in anticipation of a future tram-train service (CUS 2010, p. 10), for which there had been proposals since 1997333. The realisation of these proposals required the expensive upgrade of an old postal tunnel under the railway station in order to connect the tramway infrastructure with the main railroad, so that it had been postponed several times. With the network extension of 2010, the plans for a tram-train became more concrete (CUS 2010, p. 76), but less than three years later, in June 2013, they were eventually given up due to the prohibitive costs for the necessary technical works on the tunnel. Instead, Strasbourg had decided to improve the transfer conditions at the main railway station and pursue especially the further enhancement and expansion of the urban public transport system (F3). 5.2.4.2

Limitations to the system’s growth

The Master Plan of Public Transport 2025 has provided for the creation of an interconnected network with an own right-of-way which would allow for enhancing not only the capacity but also the efficiency of public transport in the urban area. The latter had started to suffer in particular from an overload on the tramway sections in Strasbourg’s inner city as the ridership figures had significantly exceeded the initial expectations (F3). In the busy period during weekdays, the two network segments in the city centre served by three lines have been passed by up to 30 trams per hour in each direction, and the hub and main transfer stop Homme de Fer, where 5 of the six tram lines intersect at street level, has been crossed by all together 108 vehicles per hour (F3). This constellation of 332 333

See Muller (1994, pp. 119ff.). Inspired by the system of Karlsruhe, a survey of 1997 highlighted the potential for a tram-train line connecting the centre of Strasbourg with the airport and several towns located up to 30 kilometres in the south of the city. See for more details Muller (2000, pp. 91-93).

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the hub infrastructure capacity saturation has clearly represented a “reverse salient” that has threatened the service reliability and in addition has created large flows of passengers and pedestrians that are difficult to manage in the confined space (CERTU 2009a). Therefore, the design of alternative routes avoiding the central nodes, in particular Homme de Fer, and the associated establishment of a meshed network were envisaged. This had started with the creation of tram line E, which was not part of the original network plans, but was created for the purpose of an interlinked network (CUS 2010, pp. 6, 10). For economic reasons, the transport technology eligible for operating on the future links was not limited to the tramway. Up to the year 2010, more than 940 million euros had been spent building the tramway system334, and another 200 million were earmarked for line extensions in the next five years335. The relatively high average investment costs of around 25 million euros per network kilometre, resulting to a significant part from the urban renewal efforts accompanying the construction works, were mainly financed by the local transport tax, set at the maximum rate of 2% 336, but were also subsidised by the State with up to 20% (CUS 2010, pp. 46- 48, 59; Burmeister 2010b). Given the lack of certainty about government grants within the institutional framework of Grenelle, alternative technologies requiring lower investment sums and operational costs337 were considered for serving portions of the envisaged meshed network (CUS 2010, p. 59). In particular, buses with a high level of service (BHLS) were chosen as a viable technological option which could be integrated into the tramway system, as had been demonstrated in Rouen with the development of TEOR in the 2000s338 (CUS 2010, p. 68). The network extensions of 2013 mirrored the new concept for public transport lines with an own right-of-way which were not the exclusive domain of the tram 334

The first set of lines, A and D, required an investment of approximately 296 million euros, at 1990 value, including a government grant of 50 million (Muller 1994, p. 154; Burmeister 2010b). The investment for lines B and C was about 248 million euros, a fifth of which was funded by the State. The extensions in 2007 and 2008 were completed at a total cost of nearly 400 million euros and benefited from a state subsidy of 25 million. (Burmeister 2010b) 335 See GART (2014, p. 26). 336 See GART (2014, p. 16). 337 After 1997, the operational cost grew much faster than the ridership numbers, largely due to the network extensions but also due to the increasing salary mass. In addition, the renewal costs for the aging infrastructure became more important over time and were estimated at 5 million euros per year in 2010. Therefore, the funds from local sources and the transport tax for covering the annual expenses on urban public transport, including operations and investments, quadrupled from 30 million euros in 1995 to 120 million in 2009, reaching 140 million in 2015. (CUS 2010, pp. 46ff.) 338 See for the case of Rouen Chapter 5.3.3.

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anymore. In late November 2013, two kilometres of new tram sections were inaugurated on the same day, when the first BHLS line in Strasbourg came into service. The latter has connected the Central Station and a high-tech park in the north-west of the city, replacing a previously envisaged prolongation of tram line D in that area. The BHLS line was accompanied by a complete requalification of the urban space including the establishment of paths for “soft” travel modes along the corridor339, which had been characteristic until then only for the tramway routes in Strasbourg (Figure 30). In addition, the line was labelled G, contrary to the numerated conventional buses, thus stating its integration into the tram network. Respectively, the service frequency was set equal to that of the tram lines and the BHLS stops were designed to the same standard as the tram stops. Line G runs on 80% of its 5-km long route on dedicated lanes with an own right-of-way and has priority at traffic lights, except on one crossing with the tramway (F3). All these measures aimed at assuring a positive public image of the BHLS and prevent it from being perceived as a “substandard tram” (“tramway au rabais”). A passenger survey showed a positive acceptance of the BHLS in Strasbourg and encouraged plans for more lines in the urban area (F3). In particular, an earlier drafted extension of tramline C in the south of the city was cancelled in favour of a tangential BHLS service, that is to be commissioned by 2020 as a foreshadow of a 12-km long loop line with an own right-of-way. Hence, the tramway system in Strasbourg was reconfigured to incorporate a new technology which had appeared as a response to the financial constraints on the system expansion. Although, the new and the incumbent technology have operated in a complementary relationship, they represent competing options for the design of the technical core.

339

For this reason, the project has profited from subsidies within the Grenelle framework – the State provided 4 million euros, and the Bas-Rhin department added 1 million euros. The total cost of the project was 29.3 million euros. See Arcadis (2012).

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Figure 30: The BHLS corridor in the north-west of Strasbourg

5.2.4.3

The tramway as an object of desire

Despite the establishment of alternatives to the tramway with an equivalent service level, the latter remains an “object of desire” in parts of Strasbourg which are not served by the tram (F3). The existing tram lines, operating in the city and six municipalities of the agglomeration, have been routed through the areas with the highest densities in terms of inhabitants and working places, but have not yet reached the densely populated districts in the south-west of Strasbourg. The residents and elected representatives in that part of the city have long demanded the same quality of public transport service as in other districts 340 and have insisted on a direct tram connection to the city centre (F3). Proposals for an alternative service by a Translohr line were strongly and persistently opposed to over several years until finally, the Mayor of Strasbourg Roland Ries officially included the construction of a 4-km long tramway alignment in the West of the 340

In this context, Frenay (2005) generally spoke of a network of two speeds – very good service levels along the tram routes, and rather average or mediocre in the other parts. In Strasbourg, the commercial speed and the reliability of the bus services have been continuously below that of the tram See (CUS 2010, pp. 24-25).

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city in his electoral programme for the vote of 2014. However, despite the victory of Ries, the realisation of the extension project, initially scheduled for 2017, has been deferred indefinitely (Gérard 2015). Within tight budgetary constraints, priority has been given to a tramline prolongation by 2 kilometres in the municipality of Illkirch-Graffenstaden and especially to the cross-border extension of tramline D (F3; Gérard 2015). In February 2014, shortly before the municipal elections, the site of the eastern extension of line D to the neighbouring German city of Kehl was launched. This project, which had been drafted already in the early 2000s (Beyer 2011), has been a joint initiative of the Urban Community of Strasbourg and the city of Kehl and is meant to serve as a symbol of the Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau (F3). With the construction of a new bridge over the border river Rhine as part of the project, the tram is supposed to create a new “emblematic link” and strengthen the Franco-German territorial cooperation (F3). However, in addition to its symbolic significance, the tramline is also meant to be a “motor of urbanisation” in the East of Strasbourg and that way help to requalify the wasteland in the port area (F3). Therefore, unlike the previous tramlines which were built in the densest agglomeration parts, tramline D is the first one in Strasbourg, and among very few in France, effectively endorsing the idea of urbanisation conditioned by public transport infrastructure (F3). In order to improve the accessibility of Eastern Strasbourg, three stops were opened on the French part of the new section which terminates in front of the town hall of Kehl. The total cost of about 120 million euros (Gérard 2015) for the 2.7-km tramline extension were substantially funded by the French government and the State of Baden-Württemberg but also by EU sources (F3). The spread of the technical system also on German territory can be seen as a materialisation of the relevance of the tramway renaissance in Strasbourg for the efforts to enhance public transport in Europe. 5.2.4.4

Current mobility policy

After 20 years of service, the modern tram has become the backbone of public transport in the Urban Community of Strasbourg carrying more than 315,000 passengers per day, or three-quarters of the total ridership 341 (CTS 2014). The gradual expansion of the track infrastructure not only made the tramway the most important public transport mode in the urban area, but also provided for a higher use of public transport, the modal share of which grew from 7% to 13% between 1988 and 2009 (CUS 2010, p. 23; F3). On arterial roads along the tram 341

In 2013, buses and trams carried on average 420,000 passengers daily, or 117.6 million per year (CTS 2014).

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routes, the public transport modal share has reached 33% and equals the share of the private car, which has declined appreciably (CUS 2010, p. 62; F3). Still, the car traffic in the agglomeration as a whole has not changed significantly, as the modal share of the automobile decreased merely from 50% to 46% between 1988 and 2009 (CUS 2010, p. 23; F3). In order to reduce further the use of the car, the expansion of the public transport system and the creation of an interconnected network will be accompanied by several actions in favour of walking and cycling (F3). The bicycle infrastructure in the urban area of Strasbourg has been traditionally one of the largest of its kind in France342, but the aim of the municipality is to double the modal share of cycling to 16% by 2025 (F3). For this purpose, the cycle network will be meshed, express lanes will be set up and the number of bicycle parking places at important tram and bus stops will be increased (F3). The active travel modes will be promoted not only as feeders to public transport, but also as alternatives to it, especially for short trips, so that the overcrowding in the tramway vehicles can be partly alleviated (F3). Nonetheless, an ambitious growth objective has been set also for the future modal share of public transport, which is supposed to reach 25% by 2025 (F3). An affordable fare structure has been considered an important tool to achieve this objective (F3). The ticket prices in Strasbourg have been generally low, compared particularly to English and German cities (Burmeister 2010b), and in addition, since 2010 a so-called Tarification Solidaire has been offered, which ensures discounted seasonal tickets for all members of a household according to its overall financial situation (F3). This measure has significantly contributed to the increase of the number of subscribers, which is generally expected to continue growing (F3). The global mobility policy of Strasbourg, concerning especially the evolution of its public transport system, has attracted a lot of attention nationally and internationally over the years (F3). Several times, Strasbourg was included in the mobility prize list of the French transport magazine “Ville, Rail et Transports”, and in 2013, it was among the three cities which received the “Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan Award” of the European Commission 343. These rewards reinforce the self-perception of the city as an innovative metropolis (F3) with “a pioneering spirit for cutting-edge transport” (CUS 2011), and strengthen its position in the competition with other French and European cities (F3). 342

Already in 1974, a Green Plan for Strasbourg was created, which introduced among others a bike policy, and this was very innovative in France at the time (Gallez et al. 2013). In 2011, there were 560 km of bike lanes which made Strasbourg the first French city with such an extensive network (CUS n.d.). 343 See ELTIS (2015).

The systems of Métrobus and TEOR in Rouen

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213

Summary

At the time of its establishment, the tramway system of Strasbourg presented an extreme case of the implementation of a tram line as a large-scale urban project. Accompanying the tram introduction by an overall refurbishment and modification of the streetscape along the line, the system builders in Strasbourg set high urbanistic standards and introduced the trend of ‘personalized’ vehicles for a positive image and identity of the city. In addition to the rehabilitation of the existing urban fabric, the system was designed to support the development of the urban area as a whole. The comprehensive urban rearrangements in the frame of the system building and the public transport ridership gains after the start of the tramway services demonstrated the versatile potential of the transport mode and made Strasbourg itself quasi an argument in favour of the tramway344. Accordingly, the establishment of the Strasbourg system provided momentum to the tramway renaissance in France and served as a paradigmatic example for the following systems in the country. In the course of its evolution, characterised by a substantial growth and a continuously increasing ridership, the system of Strasbourg exhibited though also the limits of the modern French tramway. Having turned into an object of desire in the whole urban area, the tram system was expected to keep expanding but was constrained by the significant costs of its high quality standards. This necessitated the introduction of a more economic technological subsystem which is a complement but also a competitor to the tramway. In this respect, Strasbourg presents a critical case in which the tram can become a “victim” of its own success. 5.3 5.3.1

The systems of Métrobus and TEOR in Rouen City profile

Rouen, the administrative capital of the Région Normandie, is located on the River Seine in the north-west of France, about 120 km away from Paris. The city itself is relatively small with slightly more than 111,000 inhabitants, but it is the main centre of an agglomeration including 71 municipalities and a population of nearly 500,000 people345. Rouen was one of the largest and 344

This view was expressed by Demongeot (2011, p. 723). Priemus and Koning (2001), Groneck (2007, p. 40) and Groneck (2009) advance a very similar opinion. 345 The agglomeration of Rouen ran through several administrative changes during the past 40 years. In 1973, the first association of 33 municipalities, with Rouen at its core, was created and obtained the competence in issues of urban passenger transportation, rescue services and waste management. Between 1995 and 2000, the competence field of the association was enlarged and

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most prosperous cities of medieval Europe and a capital of the AngloNorman dynasties, so that it has a historic and densely developed urban core. Relatively tightly bounded topographically, the city has had one of the highest residential densities in Western France, and with 81,000 working places and the concentration of important commercial, administrative and civic services, it also attracts numerous daily commuters and visitors from the agglomeration and beyond (Rouen 2016). 5.3.2 5.3.2.1

The evolution of Metro de Rouen The old tramway

Already in the nineteenth century, the growing economic prosperity of Rouen, based on the traditional trade of textiles and faience as well as the new-age chemical and papermaking industries, made it the centre of an expanding urban area (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 60). The increasing population in the city and the hinterland called for the establishment of an effective means of transport serving both Rouen and the surrounding municipalities, so that in 1877, a tramway entered service. The operations were initially horse-drawn, and later steampowered, until in 1896, the tramway was electrified, just in time for the Colonial Exposition of 1896, which took place in Rouen. The network spread quickly in all directions and on both banks of the Seine to connect the residential and industrial areas around Rouen. It continued growing until mid-1915, when the last new line was opened. At that time, it covered more than 70 kilometres of track route, being one of the longest electric networks in France. (Bertin 1994, pp. 184-188) During the First World War and after that, the network expansion came to a hold, but in the 1920s the ridership increased and reached its absolute maximum of 28 million annual trips in 1928 (Bertin 1994, p. 189). However, the emergence of the motorbus and trolleybus technology as competitors gradually led to the decline of the tramway system. Bus operations in Rouen were launched in 1930, and in the same year, a first tramline was closed in favour of a cheaper motorbus service. In 1937, also the trolleybus appeared in the city streets and became an integral part of the public transport network. Over the next sixteen years, its name was modified twice. By 2007, twelve more municipalities had joined as members of the agglomeration of Rouen, which counted about 410,000 inhabitants at the time. In January 2010, finally, the agglomeration merged with three other intermunicipal associations to form the Communauté d'agglomération Rouen-Elbeuf-Austreberthe (CREA) as one of the twelve biggest agglomerations in France (Insee 2015). CREA is especially responsible for the organisation of public services, the economic and ecological development, the spatial management and the social policy at the intercommunal level. (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017a)

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motorbus and trolleybus vehicles progressively replaced the obsolete tramway rolling stock, which had suffered a serious damage during the Second World War. The last tramline was closed in February 1953, and in 1970 also the trolleybus operations were abandoned, which left the motorbus as the only public transport mode in the agglomeration. (Bertin 1994, pp. 50-53; pp. 188-197) 5.3.2.2

The renaissance of the tramway as a light rail system

The overall trend of transport development in the post-war era became evident also in Rouen, where private automobile ownership grew significantly over the years and combined with ample city centre parking possibilities, additionally encouraging the use of the car, entailed increasing congestions in the city streets. Furthermore, because of the difficult topographical conditions in Rouen, which is bisected by the River Seine and surrounded by several elevated plateaus, the city has had no major bypass road and the through traffic has run along the river bank close to the historic centre (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 60). These traffic conditions adversely impacted the accessibility and the overall quality of life in the city and prompted considerations on strengthening the role of public transport in order to better answer to the mobility needs of the inhabitants. (Hue 2004) In the first transport study in Rouen, conducted in 1975, the development of a new public transport system was discussed which had to allow for the improvement of the quality and cost-effectiveness of the services. A wide set of technological options including the futuristic Aramis, Poma 2000 and VAL as well as a high capacity bi-articulated “Megabus” was considered but no decision was made in favour of any of them (Demongeot 2011, pp. 209-210). Meanwhile, the “concours Cavaillé” brought out two additional options – the modern tramway and the guided trolleybus of the type GLT – which appeared more appropriate for the city in terms of capital cost, capacity and the possibility to be integrated into the existing transport facilities (CERTU 2000, p. 92). The hesitations on the technological choice lasted until the mid-1980s, when in the course of developing the PDU for the agglomeration, the local authority, underpinned by an implementation analysis from the Technical Study Centre CETE Normandie, decided to build a tramway with an own right-of-way (CERTU 2009b; CERTU 2000, p. 92). In addition to the transport capacity advantages of a tram, the choice was mainly influenced by the example of the contemporary scheme in Grenoble which demonstrated the potential of a modern tramway to revitalise the city centre (Hue 2004). The reference case of Grenoble

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provided legitimacy and guided the action by making the merits of a particular technology observable and tangible for the local planners and decision makers 346. Initially, the development of a cross-shaped network spanning on both river banks was envisaged, but in 1988, detailed feasibility studies assessing the frequency, operational costs and revenues of the project suggested to reduce its size by omitting the branch on the right side of the Seine (CERTU 2000, p. 93). Hence, only a north-south tramway link was to be constructed which had to follow the routes of and replace the two most heavily used bus lines. These were serving the areas with the highest population density and industrial workforce 347 (Hue 2004). Accordingly, the tram had to be the major public transport axis connecting the urban core on the right river bank and the city districts and other municipalities on the left side, while the existing bus network had to be reconfigured around the new alignment in order to assure the accessibility to the improved transport services across the agglomeration (CERTU 2000, p. 93). Despite the approval of the plans, no steps towards their implementation were undertaken before the municipal elections of 1989. The elections brought indeed a change in the political environment, which resulted into a more favourable attitude towards public transport in the agglomeration administration. Until then, it had been the centrist mayor of Rouen Jean Lecanuet who promoted the idea of a tramway system for the agglomeration (Demongeot 2011, p. 209). Although his aspirations were supported by the Communist mayors of the neighbouring municipalities, the scepticism of the socialist counterparts had essentially prevented the system building. However, after the election of the socialist Laurent Fabius as the new chairman of the agglomeration authority in 1989, the plans to build a tramway serving Rouen and a few adjacent municipalities were reinforced (Demongeot 2011, pp. 209-210). In effect, the change of the political constellation provided a window of opportunity for the establishment of a tram system in the agglomeration. The building of the technical core started in late 1991, after a concession contract on the construction works and the later tram operations had been signed (CERTU 2000, p. 93). Through the cooperation with the engineering consultancy enterprise SEMALY from Lyon and the award of an operational concession to the multinational company Veolia348 (Hue 2004; CERTU 2000, pp. 100ff.), the transport authority in the agglomeration of Rouen could benefit from the 346

See Chapter 2.1.5.1 for a discussion of the potential of successful reference cases. 0 When the tramway was built, there were 150,000 people living within 500 metres from a stop and 65,000 working places in the same coverage area (CERTU 2005, p. 157). 348 After the merger of Veolia Transport and Transdev, the concession has belonged to a subsidiary of the new Transdev group. 347

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growing French expertise in the field of tramway systems and that way compensate its limited capacity. SEMALY was involved in the design of basically all new French tramway systems from the 1980s and the 1990s 349 and played thus an important role in the process of circulation of technology and know-how among the different cities. The consultancy provided the experience and technical expertise needed to establish a large technical system and shape it “to suit the place” (Hughes 1983, p. 405). In Rouen, the tramway concept was appropriated differently from the other French venues. In particular, the technical core of the system included a considerable underground section of 1.7 kilometres under the historic city centre and that way resembled rather the German light rail systems built in the previous decades. The physical constraints in the centre did not allow for the establishment of a street-level route with an own right-of-way350, but on the remainder of the network, the tramway could use an on-ground reserved track and benefit from signalling priority over the general traffic at all road junctions351 (F2). The combination of underground and street-level alignments in Rouen remained the only one in the French tramway renaissance, as it quickly reached the budgetary constraints on the infrasystem’s growth which also the German light rail systems were facing. The necessary tunnelling works in Rouen added significantly to the overall investment costs, which reached 400 million euros352 at the end and so exceeded the initial estimations by almost 50% 353. The greater part of the sum was financed by the local transport tax, which had been set at the maximum rate of 1.75%, and subsidies from the national government and the Région Haute-Normandie. Nonetheless, about 40%354 of the costs had to be covered by a banking loan, which imposed a heavy burden on the budget of the agglomeration (Aubin 1996). For the local authority, the large investments were justified as they were used to upgrade the public transport and that way reinforce “the dynamic and modern image” of the agglomeration (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2012; F2). In this regard, the underground section was an especially appreciated technical element as it gave reason to the authority to name the new system “métro de Rouen”. 349

The company designed also the tramways in Nantes, Grenoble, Strasbourg, Montpellier and Lyon (Demongeot 2011, p. 706). 350 See Hue (2004). 351 Still, three grade-separated intersections were built in order to avoid conflicts between the trams and the motor traffic (Hue 2004). 352 The total cost amounted to 2.6 billion French Francs at 1990 value. See Buck Consultants (2000, p. 81). 353 See Aubin (1996). 354 The loan amounted to 1 billion Francs. See Buck Consultants (2000, p. 81).

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Although the rail tracks were embedded for the most part of the routes in the urban road space and the deployed rolling stock of the type TFS was identical in its technical characteristics to the tramway vehicles of Grenoble and Île de France, the term “métro” was introduced in Rouen instead of “tramway”. An opinion survey had revealed that some of the citizens in the agglomeration still associated the “tramway” with the obsolete vehicles from the 1950s, and the transfer of such a poor image was to be averted, especially in view of the approaching local elections of June 1995 (Demongeot 2011, p. 209). A “métro”, in contrast, offered a higher prestige to the city (Demongeot 2011, p. 209), and that was to be reflected also in the design of the underground stations, where artistic works were integrated into the interior like in the networks of the big metropolises (Kaminagai 2014). Hence, the tramway in Rouen was appropriated under the name “métro” as a symbol of modernity and an enhanced city image. At the same time, the whole public transport system was renamed “Métrobus” in order to stress the interconnection between bus and “métro”, which included an enhanced timetable coordination and integrated ticketing. Furthermore, the emergence of the large technical system went along with the development of a new traffic circulation plan for the centre of Rouen where more favourable conditions were offered to public transport and the soft modes (CERTU 2000, pp. 94ff.). Beyond its primary transport role, the tramway was meant to serve also as a tool to revitalise and redevelop various urban public spaces. In the centre of Rouen, the construction of the two stations underneath the main street Jeanne d’Arc was accompanied by a refurbishment of the squares and the surrounding buildings above ground. Furthermore, like in Strasbourg, the system building provided the opportunity to reassign the space around the street-level alignments. Several urban road sections previously dedicated to automobiles were redesigned to accommodate the tramway infrastructure as well as adjacent footpaths and wider pedestrian crossings (Hue 2004). Therefore, a more pedestrian friendly environment came into being along the tram lines which was further enhanced by landscaping and “greening” the reclaimed street space with tree rows and grass tracks (Figure 31). Furthermore, various buildings around the tram stops in the large housing estates outside Rouen were rehabilitated and the surrounding areas were embellished (F2).

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Figure 31: Integration of the Rouen tramway into the streetscape

5.3.2.3

The materiality and wider effects of the system evolution

The “métro de Rouen” was officially opened in December 1994, and just a few months later, the works on an extension into two southern municipalities began. The tramway network was completed in September 1997, when the new section was put into service together with an additional underground station in the historic centre. With a total length of 15 kilometres, the network served the city of Rouen and four other municipalities located on the left river bank. Following the planning principles of the French tramway renaissance 355, the tram lines connected several districts on the left bank, some of which with large shares of collective social housing, to the main trip attractors in the agglomeration, including the administrative area of Rouen, important social infrastructure like hospitals and educational institutions as well as several commercial centres. The enhanced connectivity benefited especially the city centre of Rouen, where the frequentation grew noticebly after the commissioning of the tramway so that CERTU concluded that the street Jeanne d’Arc was “urbanised” with the inauguration of the underground stations there (CERTU 2005, p. 170). The increased attractiveness of the central part was reflected by a significant growth of real estate values, too (CERTU 2005, pp. 153ff.; F2). At the same time, also the centre of Saint-Sever – a municipality on the left river bank – experienced an overall renewal and exhibited a growing attractiveness for commercial activities 355

See Chapter 5.1.4.

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as a counter-pole to the hyper-centre on the right bank of the Seine. As a whole, the improved connectivity between the two river sides was found to strengthen the commercial cores356 of the municipalities directly served by the tramway and to have a contribution to the economic and urban development of the areas around the tram stops357. New residential buildings and offices were erected in the vicinity of many stops south of the Seine (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, pp. 109f.). A major redevelopment took place most notably at the southern terminus Technopôle, where a change of use from industrial premises and warehouses to offices resulted from the enhanced accessibility of the area with the tramway prolongation in 1997 (F2). Summing up, some of the discursively circulating urban development and economic benefits 358 expected from a tramway introduction materialised indeed when the system in Rouen was built. The growing mass of the tramway system was an important prerequisite for the wider effects of the transport investment. In fact, owing to the own right-of-way, the tramway allowed for reliable and fast services with a high frequency of up to 20 vehicles per hour and direction on the tunnel section. In combination with the comfort provided by the modern rolling stock, this improved the image of public transport359 and attracted a larger number of passengers already in the first years of tramway operations. In 1995, the year after the service launch, there were more than 10 million tramway users, which increased the total public transport ridership by nearly 28%. With the network extension, the annual number of tramway users grew to 14 million in 1998, which meant 38% more passengers in the agglomeration as compared to 1993360. The tramway ridership continued growing and in 2010, there were more than 15 million passengers annually, or more than 67,000 daily361, so that the capacity limits of the tram system were reached (F2). During peak hours, the tramcars were often overcrowded, by which the system growth was stalled. This was a critical problem for the tramway system development, but it could be solved in a conservative manner by the public transport authority which enhanced the system capacity by upgrading the tram vehicle fleet. In late 2010, twenty-seven Alstom Citadis tramcars were ordered to replace the original rolling stock consisting of 28 TFS vehicles (F2). 356

For details about the impact of the metro on the commercial activities, see Bérénice (2000). See CERTU (2000, p. 104) and CERTU (2005, pp. 153ff.). 358 See Chapter 3.2.1. 359 Almost all the passengers acknowledged an improvement of the image of public transport, in particular, and of the agglomeration, in general, after the “métro” was put in operation (CERTU 2000, p. 104; F2). 360 At the same time, between 1993 and 1998, the annual bus ridership decreased by 3 million passengers, or around 12%. Hence, the new public transport users were attracted by the tram. See CERTU (2000, p. 105). 361 See CERTU (2014, p. 507) and GART (2014, p. 24). 357

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When all the new tramcars (Figure 32) entered service in early 2013, the tramway capacity grew by about 60%362, and this solved the overcrowding problem in rush hours (F2).

Figure 32: The new tramcars of the system in Rouen

The rolling stock upgrade was an incremental improvement which allowed for the future growth of the stagnating tramway system but this system was not able to provide for enhanced public transport services across the agglomeration as a whole. As from the initial plans to build a cross-shaped tramway network, only a north-south tram link was deemed economically justified and was eventually realised, the east-west axis of the agglomeration, stretching on the northern bank of the Seine, was lacking public transport connections of an equivalent service level. Therefore, the “Métrobus” system featured a “reverse salient” which had to be corrected in order to provide for a more even pattern of development. 362

With a length of 44 metres, the new cars are about fifteen meters longer than the TFS and offer space for 280 passengers instead of 178 as until then (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2012). Furthermore, unlike the TFS rolling stock, the Citadis has an integral low floor body and allows thus for a full accessibility at all doors and faster boarding (F2).

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5.3.3 5.3.3.1

The emergence of the modern French tramway as a socio-technical novelty

The emergence of a second technological system The rationale for choosing a new technology

In the run-up of the municipal elections of June 1995, the socialist candidate for the mayor’s office in Rouen Yvon Robert addressed the “reverse salient” by critically pointing at the lack of links between the heavily populated eastern and western parts of Rouen and especially at the isolation from the city centre of the peripheral district Les Hauts de Rouen, where 30,000 people were living. For Robert, who had been the project manager of the tramway scheme, the missing east-west public transport connection between the plateaus of Rouen was a critical problem which needed to be solved in order to overcome the geographical and social barriers in the city (Banzet 1995). Accordingly, after his electoral victory, Yvon Robert was the main proponent of the realisation of a new major transport link with an own right-of-way comparable in its importance to the existing tramway. A few months after the elections, a call for turnkey proposals for the construction of an alignment along the east-west axis was issued without pre-specifying the technology to be implemented (CERTU 2009b). It was required, however, that the transport capacity should be sufficient to serve a populous university campus, a regional hospital, and some 90,000 inhabitants, while matching a more unevenly distributed demand than on the existing tramway axis (F2; CERTU 2009b; Hue 2004). Furthermore, the technology had to be able to navigate steep gradients of up to 8% in order to reach plateaus at an elevation of 150 m where some socially disadvantaged districts were located (Hue 2004; CERTU 2009b). Finally, the new route had to be financially feasible given the budgetary constraints imposed by the loan repayment for the “metro de Rouen” (Hue 2004). All these requirements suggested that the “reverse salient” could not be corrected in the framework of the existing tramway system, as the tramway technology featured prohibitive investment costs relative to the actual transport needs363. At the same time, the capacity and performance of a regular bus service were considered insufficient, so that the development of a new intermediate system was pursued. The bus line Trans-Val-de-Marne in the Paris region, which had been running almost exclusively on an own-right-way since 1993, had demonstrated a concept with the potential to solve the critical problem of the transport system in Rouen (F1). Therefore, in 1997, the transport authority decided to implement a busbased system with dedicated lanes which would offer operational speeds, 363

See Hue (2004) and CERTU (2009b).

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frequency and comfort equivalent to a tramway but would be considerably cheaper and faster to launch (F2). Neighbourhood revitalisation and urban design features were also integrated into the system development objectives. In particular, as part of the PDU of 2000, which called for a higher modal share of public transport and stronger coherence of transport and urbanism, the future bus service was supposed to contribute to the redesign of the route corridor and provide an impetus for the urban development in general (CERTU 2009b). Therefore, the new technology BHLS was to be appropriated in the same way as a modern tramway in France. 5.3.3.2

The local appropriation of a bus-based technology

The new system was called Transport Est-Ouest Rouennais (TEOR), according to its envisioned function of an east-west complement of the “métro de Rouen”, and had to comprise three lines covering districts and municipalities with altogether about 90,000 people living within 400 metres from a stop (CERTU 2009b). Their routes had to replace several conventional bus services but also create new public transport connections to the university campus in the municipality of Mont-Saint-Aignan and the city district Les Hauts de Rouen, both on the hitherto isolated western side (CERTU 2009b). The three lines had to converge toward the centre of Rouen, which they would cross on a common segregated section with stops serving the main public facilities in the city, including the prefecture and regional council, the university hospital, as well as the business district (Hue 2004; F2). Hence, the routing principles of the French tramway renaissance were appropriated in the design of the TEOR system. In developing the infrastructure for the 25-kilometre long network of TEOR, the transport authority used different road layouts (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017b). In the city centre of Rouen, where congestion mitigation and urban redevelopment were the main objectives, two-way lanes reserved exclusively for the buses with a high level of service were established (Figure 33). On the rest of the network, and particularly at the ends of the lines, where there is no congestion and the public transport demand is lower, the TEOR buses run in mixed traffic (F2). However, more than 40% of the TEOR routes were protected from the general traffic, which in combination with a signal priority at all but three intersections364 has allowed for high average speeds365 and regular passage less prone to interference.

364

The TEOR buses have no traffic light priority at the three junctions where the lines merge or diverge (F2).

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Figure 33: Integration of the TEOR system into the city centre landscape of Rouen

The station infrastructure was also designed with the purpose of achieving a service standard equivalent to that of the tramway. On all stops of the TEOR network a kerb with a height of 27 centimetres was installed to provide for levelboarding on the low-floor buses of the system. In addition, the vehicles had to be equipped with an optical guidance in order to be able to berth as close to the stop platform as possible and that way offer a barrier-free access to all passengers366. This technological innovation added around 10% to the overall cost of the system (CERTU 2010, p. 94) and had to allow not only for an enhanced physical accessibility but also for the faster entry and exit of users and hence the handling of flux magnitudes typical for tramway lines (F2; Hue 2004). The emulation of a tram system was not limited to the functional aspects of TEOR. To additionally provide for a strong image of the bus system, the deployed vehicles, built by the French manufacturer Irisbus, had to feature a tram-like interior and exterior appearance, which evolved over time and is especially pronounced in the new model commissioned in 2012 (Figure 34). The stylish modern vehicles had to contribute to the awareness among the public transport users that TEOR is not a 365

The average speed of the TEOR lines has been 17.5 km/h and has exceeded the value of 16.9 km/h on the conventional bus network (F2; Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017b). However, the service speed of the tram has been the highest with 18.3 km/h on average (see GART 2014, p. 24). 366 The optical guidance is based on the scanning and recognition of a double dotted line painted on the roadway by an on-board camera and the simultaneous steering of a computer-aided servo-drive (CERTU 2010, p. 94). This technology brings the vehicles into a stop position in which the horizontal and vertical gaps to the edge of the platform are less than 5 centimetres (F1; Hue 2004).

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conventional bus system (F2). The technical core of the new system mirrored therefore the salient material aspects of the French tramway renaissance and attracted a lot of international attention and expert delegations to the city.

Figure 34: The tram-like appearance of the TEOR bus vehicle

Under the leadership of the mayor of Rouen, Yvon Robert, the realisation of the TEOR became the main infrastructure undertaking in the agglomeration, as was previously the tramway. The implementation works started in mid-1999 and their first phase was completed within one and a half years so that the service on the western route section could be commissioned in February 2001, a month before the municipal elections. Although Rouen saw a change of power in the mayor’s office, the completion of the entire bus system was not questioned owing to the high acceptance of the TEOR scheme across the political parties (CERTU 2009b). During the mandate of the new right-wing mayor, the bus alignment was extended into the city centre, passing in walking distance from the pedestrianised shopping streets and the historic tourist sites (CERTU 2009b). The routing of the TEOR on an own right-of-way through the heart of the city provided an opportunity to redistribute public space in favour of the soft mobility modes, just

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like in the frame of a modern tramway scheme (F2; F1). Despite some opposition from retailers against the imposed car traffic reorganisation, the resulting revitalisation of the reclaimed streets in the centre stimulated the frequentation also of the local shops, so that the establishment of the new system was as a whole unobstructed (CERTU 2009b). The implementation of the network plans could be completed two months before the municipal elections of 2007, when TEOR was extended beyond the centre of Rouen to reach the eastern plateaus of the urban area and connect altogether eight municipalities of the agglomeration. To cater for the demand in the served populous areas, short operational intervals were established from the beginning and were consistently reduced in response to the growing ridership (F2). Fifteen years after the launch of the system, a peak hour service frequency of one and a half minutes had to be provided along the common central section of the TEOR system in order to transport the 56,000 daily users (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017b). The transport significance of the new system had therefore reached the level of the tramway. 5.3.3.3

The wider effects of the new system

In addition to its transport functionality, TEOR served, mainly in the establishing phase, also as a catalyst for several urban development projects and private investments (CERTU 2009b; F2). Some renewal of public places along the bus routes accompanied the transport scheme, even though not in the integral “façade-to-façade” manner characteristic for the French tramway renaissance. The public transport authority funded the basic enhancement works, while the individual municipalities financed additional improvement measures from their own resources367 (CERTU 2010, p. 63). In this frame, rows of trees and greenery were planted along the routes, the surface of the roadways was renewed and the street furniture at the stops was refurbished and standardised 368 (F2). The most comprehensive measures were carried out in the centre of Rouen, but significant regeneration of the streetscape took place also in the adjacent municipalities of Mont-Saint-Aignan and Déville-lès-Rouen, both located in the north-west of the city (F2; CERTU 2009b).

367

For financing the total expenses of 165 million euros, the agglomeration of Rouen received 82 million euros of grants, which were provided almost completely from the State as well the Région and the Département authorities (F2). 368 The TEOR stop “Cathédrale” in the centre of Rouen has a different design from the other stops, as it evokes the architecture of the Rouen Cathedral, the symbol of the city. The inauguration of this station with high-level architectural features in December 2008 marked the end of the public transport infrastructure works in Rouen. (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017b)

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Besides the rearrangement of public space, a change of the housing stock along some route sections accompanied the establishment of TEOR, too. The experience that rent and house prices tend to increase along the tram line had encouraged several investors to buy houses along the TEOR lines at the planning stage (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 109). This was particularly the case along the main road of the municipality of Déville-lès-Rouen, where various residential buildings near the new bus stops were restored and modernised (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 109). The largest new investment in Rouen was at the TEOR stop Louis Pasteur at the eastern end of the city centre, where the eco-district Luciline-Rives de Seine was created (CERTU 2009b). By the opening of the stop in 2002, the old housing area had been rebuilt or demolished and replaced with luxury flats, an art gallery, a university building and office premises (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, pp. 109f.). Furthermore, the belief is that rent and house prices have risen along the TEOR routes, so that the economic impact generated by the bus system was judged to be significant even though not as strong as that of the tram (F2). The growth of the BHLS network and its ridership, together with the appreciated impacts on the built environment, provided a substantial momentum to the TEOR system development such that it has expanded beyond the scope of the original plans. Already in 2008, one bus line was prolonged from the University Hospital to the northern tram terminus and so replaced an earlier considered extension of the tramway on this route (F2). Therefore, a “battle” of the two systems resulted for the service provision on some new public transport links. Although the BHLS and the tramway system co-exist in a complementary relationship to form the “backbone of public transport” in the agglomeration of Rouen (F2), they also compete with each other as two alternative technologies for the future extensions of the network with a high level of service. In this frame, the local authority has aimed at appropriating the bus as a more economic but otherwise equivalent technology to the tram and aspires to explore its potential as a tool for urban development to a larger extent in the future. In the plans for a north-south TEOR axis369, the requalification of public space from “façade to façade”, the promotion of urbanity in the served areas and the redistribution of road space in favour of soft travel modes and activities have been explicitly stated as the main objectives370. Beyond its transport role as an additional connection with a high level of service between the two river banks, the fourth TEOR line is supposed to enhance the quality of life and the attractiveness of the streets and boulevards it will run on. These characteristics 369

The realisation of the 8.5-km long alignment is planned to be completed by mid-2019 at a total cost of 88 million euros (Metropole Rouen Normandie 2017c, 2019). 370 See Metropole Rouen Normandie (2017c).

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are the same as for any recent French tramway project and underline the local conceptualisation of the bus system as a fully-fledged equivalent. Accordingly, the fourth TEOR line obliterated earlier plans for a tramway prolongation to the south-west of Rouen, where an eco-district is emerging (F2). With the abolishment of these plans, no extensions of the tramway are foreseen in the short term so that the system will remain in a consolidation phase. Nonetheless, an announced change in the tram system’s environment is expected to provide an opportunity for a relaunch of its expansion. In 2025, a high-speed railway station will be built on the left bank of the Seine and this new transport node of the agglomeration will need a high-capacity public transport connection to the city centre of Rouen (F2). Therefore, a new tram route is being considered to respond to the public transport demand generated by the infrastructure project (F2). Furthermore, the opening of the future railway station is expected to trigger the expansion of the TEOR system, too, which will serve the station by a new, fifth, line running from east to west on the left river bank (F2). 5.3.4

Summary

The evolution of the modern public transport system in Rouen is an extreme case of the French tram renaissance, as the introduced tramway was early confronted with critical problems and this led to the emergence of a new bus based (sub)system. As a single case in France, the tramway of Rouen is comparable with the German “Stadtbahn” systems and features a trunk tunnel section in the city centre and a widely segregated right-of-way. Due to the high cost of the established technological core, the budgetary limits to the system growth were quickly reached which together with the difficult topographical conditions in the urban area entailed the development of a new system. A bus with a high level of service was introduced as a cheaper technological option to complement the incumbent system, but over time, it became a viable alternative to projected tram route extensions. While the tramway stagnated in Rouen, the bus-based system expanded significantly and asserted a public transport technology concept which has meanwhile spread across France. Despite the material peculiarities of the tramway renaissance in Rouen, it corresponded to the countrywide practice by employing both technologies not only as a transport tool but also as an instrument for urban development.

6

The uneven path of tramway development in England

This chapter is dedicated to the tramway renaissance in Engalnd. First, the development of the national policy towards the reintroduction of tramway transport is analysed and the characteristics of the few realised systems are presented (Chapter 6.1). Subsequently, the cases of the Manchester light rail system (Chapter 6.2) and the Sheffield Supertram system (Chapter 6.3) are explored. 6.1 6.1.1

The English tramway renaissance The demise of the old tramways in England

In Britain371, like in Continental Europe, tramways were the main urban transport mode until the early 1930s. The first tramcars in Britain were imported from the USA and operated from 1860 onwards in Birkenhead, a town close to Liverpool. Within a short period of time after that, tramway lines were built in almost all big British cities and several smaller towns. In 1885, the first electric tram powered by a third rail started running in Blackpool, and six years later in Leeds, streetcars collecting current from catenary wires were put in service, which also became the standard configuration (Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992, p. 73). With the electrification of the operations, a wave of rapid line constructions set on, which expanded the existing systems and produced dozens of new ones throughout the British islands372. The British tramway networks as a whole reached their zenith in 1927 with a total length of 4110 kilometres on which more than 14,480 cars were in service (Smith 1998). Already in the late 1920s, however, a Royal Commission on Transport recommended the abolition of the tramways in Britain. The commission was appointed to examine and report on measures for the regulation and control of transport and to promote the coordination and development of the latter “to the greatest public advantage” (Souter 2001). After several meetings and public 371

In Britain, apart from the re-introduction of one tram line in the Scottish capital Edinburgh, the building of new tramway or light rail systems took place only in England. Therefore, the focus of this work has been on the development in England, but some remarks about relevant issues in Scotland were made, too. Within Great Britain, following an Act of 2001, Scotland has its own Parliament, with significant powers, and enacted different transport policies from those in England (Harman et al. 2007). 372 See for a list and description of the old British tramways Turner (2007) and Turner (2009).

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_6

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inquiries, which took place in 1928 and 1929, the Royal Commission concluded that tramways ‘if not an obsolete form of transport, are at all events in a state of obsolescence and cause much unnecessary congestion and considerable danger to the public’373. They therefore recommended that no additional tramways should be built and the existing tramways should gradually disappear and give place to other forms of transport374. Although transport experts disagreed 375 with the suggestions of the commission, most of the private and also many publicly owned middle-sized tram systems were scrapped already in the 1930s376. The Second World War postponed the end of the other networks, but eventually, by the yearly 1960s, all but one British tramway lines were abolished. Figure 35 presents a map of the tram systems which were in service in the early 1920s; four decades later, only the tramway in Blackpool was still operational.

373

Quoted from Paragraph 372 of the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Transport, published in 1931 374 See also Paragraph 372 of the Final Report. 375 See e.g. Watson (1933), who claimed that the recommended abandoning of the tram presented a danger for the public interests and even for the traffic flow. 376 See Turner (2007) and Turner (2009).

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Figure 35: English cities and towns with tram systems in 1920; all systems except for the one in Blackpool were scrapped by 1961 Source: own illustration based on data from Turner (2007) and Turner (2009); map layer by ESRI ArcGIS Pro

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The reasons for the abandonments were not only the growing individual auto motorisation and the obstruction to the traffic flow caused by the trams, but also the bad state of the infrastructure of many systems and the ill preparation to respond to changes in their operating environment (Souter 2001). Already in the 1920s, an asset renewal was due for many lines, but under the conditions of postwar inflation and material shortages, it could not be carried out effectively (Souter 2001). The economic depression that followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929 accelerated then the closure of many systems that operated at marginal profitability such as small town tramways and most inter-urban lines (Butcher 2012). Furthermore, the viability of the tram systems was undermined by the significant changes in land use resulting from an emergency programme of house building on greenfield sites which was initiated by the government soon after the First World War (Souter 2001). In particular, during the 1920s and 1930s, the socalled “Garden City” suburbs emerged. As a consequence, the English cities rapidly spread in their hinterland at much lower densities than before 377 which did not allow for efficient tramway services in the long run. The low density housing development was an important reason for ceasing the network expansion in many places and the subsequent plans for abandoning the tram systems altogether in favour of alternative transport modes (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 18f.). With the increasing availability of continually improving roads and motor vehicle technology, the cost-effective option for many of the tramway operators was to convert to motorbus or trolleybus services (Souter 2001). The modal conversion was implied also by the raising costs of road maintenance which were chargeable on tram tracks. Although most of the tramway operators were publicly owned, so that a local authority incurred the road maintenance costs anyway, in balance sheet terms bus transport was cheaper than tram services (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 21). Therefore, after the financially weaker, smaller operators, which gave up their trams in the late 1920s and the 1930s, also the larger systems that had survived due to asset renewals in the 1920s were abolished, when the renovated equipment reached the end of its life (Souter 2001). The completion of the abandonment process was delayed by the outbreak of the Second World War, during which the preserved tramways experienced a 377

A combination of factors, including the poor environmental conditions in the old industrial cities, the growing economic prosperity and associated living standards, the importance of the Garden City movement, affordable land and low building costs, as well as the new transportation technologies in the form of the electric train and the motor bus allowed to large parts of the urban population in England to settle down in single-family houses outside the cities. This development pattern was peculiar to England, while Scottish cities followed the continental model and remained compact. Lower living standards and a tenement tradition are a supposed explanation for this phenomenon. (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 18)

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substantial increase in traffic378. However, while they suffered little damage from direct attacks, the shortage of labour, raw material and finance did not allow for adequate maintenance and equipment renewals (Souter 2001). In addition, wartime inflation and the inflexible fare structures, which had been determined by parliamentary acts379, significantly limited the potential of operators to invest in the modernisation of rolling stock and infrastructure after 1945. Therefore, after the end of the war, most local authorities decided to scrap their tramways and replace them with buses, which town planning departments and city councillors considered to be modern and especially more flexible and compatible with the rising car traffic380. In 1946, a report by a Departmental Committee set up by the Minister of War Transport welcomed the tendency to replace trams by more flexible vehicles, particularly in city centres 381. It admitted the potential importance of trams for some cities, but within a few years after the publication, the abandonment of virtually all of the fifteen systems existing at the time was decided. Therefore, the tram had disappeared from the streets of all British major conurbations by the early 1960s382. In some of them, such as Sheffield, Liverpool and Glasgow, the systems enjoyed a short post-war revival, with fleets of new trams and reserved-track extensions, but it was not enough to prevent their ultimate abolishment (Butcher 2012). The loss of credibility in tramways by the national government and the attachment of a negative image to the tramcar, from which it could not recover, were decisive for the forceful scrapping process all over Britain (Souter 2001). Glasgow was the last big city to close its tramway in 1962, leaving the seaside resort of Blackpool as the only place in Britain where trams remained in service, using a seafront route with reserved tracks 383 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 9; Butcher 2012). Despite the closure of tramways, electric public transport was preserved in many places by operating trolleybuses, which could be more easily integrated in the urban car traffic. The use of this mode in Britain was at its peak in the 1930s and 1940s and was regarded as a replacement for the city tram (DfT 2011, p. 13). At the time, trolleybuses offered superior reliability and performance to the 378

See Souter (2001). See Souter (2001). 380 See Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, p. 21). 381 See Departmental Committee (1946). 382 Manchester scrapped its network in 1949, Newcastle in 1950, London in 1952, Birmingham in 1953, Liverpool in 1957, and Sheffield in 1960. See Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, p. 20). 383 In operation since 1885, the Blackpool tramway was, and still is, a heritage tourist system as much as a means of public transport, and has therefore employed historic vehicles to add to the touristattraction nature of riding the tram. The system has involved street running sections in Blackpool and Fleetwood, while using reserved track with stops further apart between the two towns, similar to more modern interurban tramlines. (DfT 2011, p. 13) 379

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contemporary motorbus and enabled the public transport operators to retain and utilise their power supply equipment installed for tramway operations (Souter 2001). However, the nationalisation of the municipal electrical supply in 1947 entailed a loss of interest and incentives at the local level to promote the electric traction use in urban public transport384. Therefore, like trams, trolleybuses started to decline in the 1950s and were eventually replaced by motor buses, which were considered to be more flexible and cheaper. The last British trolleybus operated in Bradford and closed down in March 1972 (DfT 2011, p. 13). 6.1.2 6.1.2.1

Policy measures towards the revival of the urban rail transport Mono-modality of the transport policy in the first post-war decades

The decades after the Second World War were generally difficult for public transport in Britain. Although several regional plans published shortly after 1945 demanded the extensive reconstruction of public transport systems, no funds were made available for that (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 24). Instead, the transport policy and planning at the local and central level emphasised the role of the automobile as the dominant transport mode, for which a basic inter-urban road network was to be established 385. Broad transportation studies, conducted in many cases by American consultants, catered for the provision of higher road capacities to accommodate the rapidly growing number of private cars and recommended the establishment of urban motorway networks for all major British areas386 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 24f.). During the 1950s and early 1960s, the building of urban roads was thus regarded as the principal task of transport policy within towns and cities, and extensive road, particularly motorway, construction schemes were promoted by the central government (Vigar 2001). In addition to the prioritisation of the car traffic, after 1945 there was a further expansion of low density housing which had even less consideration for public transport access than had been the case between the wars (Souter 2001). The British planners aimed at limiting the extension of the urban cores in the large conurbations and the redirection of further growth to new smaller towns (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 21). In effect, the population of the 384

Furthermore, the Treasury – the UK government's economic and finance ministry – advised to export home-produced coal in the open market and purchase oil from ‘sterling area’ sources instead of encouraging electric traction use. Contrary, in the 1930s, the government covertly supported trolleybuses rather than motor buses as tram replacements as the first needed electricity, the production of which would stimulate the domestic coal industry. (Souter 2001) 385 By the early 1960s, 1600 km of roads had emerged. The construction of the first major inter-urban motorway section, between Watford and Rugby, started in 1959 – about 25 years later than in Germany, for example (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 24). 386 See also Starkie (1982).

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major British cities stagnated already in the early 1950s, and the creation of new towns and expanding suburban areas dispersed homes and jobs away from the traditional urban areas and meant an increasing daily commuting (Hall and HassKlau 1985, p. 21; Beatty and Haywood 1997). Together with the improved road infrastructure and the increased popularity and falling cost of motoring, this entailed a considerable growth of car traffic, particularly for journeys to work, and a significant decline in the use of public transport (Beatty and Haywood 1997). The falling number of passengers, especially on buses, led to lower service frequencies and higher prices which further reduced the attractiveness of public transport (Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992, p. 77). In parallel to the downward spiral development of the local bus transport, the suburban rail services in many areas were also slashed throughout the 1960s following the recommendations of a report on the reshaping of British Railways 387 (Vigar 2001; Beatty and Haywood 1997). The future for public transport in British urban areas looked therefore grim in the first half of the 1960s (Beatty and Haywood 1997). 6.1.2.2

The shift in the transport planning policy

A major shift of the transportation planning policies occurred in Britain, like in other Western European countries, during the late 1960s and the 1970s – a shift away from the exclusive planning for the free use of the automobile. The government report “Traffic in Towns”, published by Colin Buchanan in November 1963, underlined the rising rate of private car ownership and asked for a balance between the urban road development and traffic calming in favour of higher environmental standards388. At this time, although urban congestion was getting increasingly problematic, many local authorities were sceptical of measures restraining the car use and interpreted the report as a call for largescale programmes of urban motorway construction and their accommodation by the comprehensive restructuring of the cityscape (Vigar 2001; Beatty and Haywood 1997; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 24). However, the Labour Government, which was in office between 1964 and 1970, rejected the plans and policies concerned with the re-shaping of cities to the projected demands for car travel (Vigar 2001). Already in the 1960s, many British cities were subject to blight and depopulation, and the growing motor traffic and associated congestions were further contributing to the degradation of the urban 387

This report, known as Beeching Report after the chairman of British Railways Richard Beeching, was published in 1963 and recommended the closure of various local branch rail lines and the concentration of investment funds on few intercity railway sections. See British Railways Board (1963). 388 See Gunn (2011) for more on the Buchanan Report.

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environment to live and work in (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 2; Beatty and Haywood 1997). Contrary, public transport was generally considered to be less polluting, noisy and space-consuming, and was also recognised to be essential for social reasons, as it provided for the mobility of those who did not own a car. Accordingly, the government, acting on the recommendations of the Buchanan Report, encouraged local authorities to invest in public transport and promote its use within towns and cities (Vigar 2001). This policy position was institutionalised through the Transport Act from 1968 – a piece of legislation, which aimed at creating integrated public transport services and allowed for significant government subsidies toward investments in local public transport. The Transport Act provided for the development of plans for coordinated and unified public transport by local authorities and created a funding mechanism for investments in major public transport infrastructure projects389. Until 1968, the central government funded completely the building of the British inter-city road network, including sometimes also urban sections, and granted 75% of the construction cost for approved local authority roads (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 31). With the Transport Act from 1968, an equivalent support of up to 75% was introduced also for approved capital investments in public transport 390, which was to be financed through the movement of resources away from the intra-urban road construction (Vigar 2001). A pre-condition for receiving a grant from the central government was the economic effectiveness of the transport investment demonstrated by a positive result of a cost-benefit analysis391. The most important benefits of a public transport project were assumed to be the saving of time because of faster travels and the generation of new trips along new or improved routes. The investments were further expected to provide wider economic and non-economic benefits, which mainly justified the allocation of national funding. Section 56 of the Transport Act permitted the government to pay for the forecast relief of road congestion, the accident reductions, the environmental improvements and the job creation, associated with the public transport scheme (Mackett and Edwards 1998). Furthermore, the desirability of subsidising the use of public transport for social justice reasons was also recognised and was institutionalised through the respective powers given to local authorities and the right of the Treasury to make grants available for bus

389

See DfT (2011, p. 13). The capital grant was to cover largely the cost of creating the infrastructure and purchasing the rolling stock. See Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, p. 31). 391 See Tyson (1990, pp. 61ff.). 390

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services392. In this context, also the creation of Passenger Transport Authorities took place (Vigar 2001). The Passenger Transport Authorities were a new form of public agency introduced by the Transport Act of 1968 and were to be set up in the major conurbations outside London to take over the responsibility for the strategic planning, development and operation of public transport 393. The authorities were created as political bodies, made up of elected representatives of the district councils within a conurbation, and had to assess the public transport needs in their area and define the service provision policy (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 25). They further had to provide finance for their executive arms featuring a permanent staff of experts – the Passenger Transport Executives (Harman et al. 2007). The latter were responsible for securing and promoting the public transport system in a conurbation, including the specification and operation of local services, the determination of their fares as well as the infrastructure provision (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 25). Within two years after the Act had been passed, the first Public Transport Authorities were created in the West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Tyne and Wear. In 1974, they were joined by two other authorities set up for South and West Yorkshire 394 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 29f.). Soon after their establishment, the authorities commissioned major studies on land use and transportation in their respective areas, and recognised that significant improvements to public transport were necessary (DfT 2011, pp. 13f.). The finding was shared also by a parliamentary committee report from 1973 which further recommended discouraging the use of private cars in the urban areas395. In response to the above mentioned studies and reports, the 1970s saw the provision of traffic management measures in favour of public transport while decisions were made to abandon costly and intrusive urban road schemes (Beatty and Haywood 1997). The latter was well received by the central government, which aimed at reducing a perceived bias toward roads spending (Vigar 2001). This attitude of the government was attributed by Dudley and Richardson (1998) to a degree of public disquiet about the negative impacts of increasing car traffic and an associated change in the public opinion396, as well as the need to cut 392

See Simpson (1987, p. 76). In 1969, the authority for London transport was transferred to the Greater London Council (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 29). 394 Meanwhile, parallel legislation in Scotland appointed the Strathclyde Regional Council as responsible for the Greater Glasgow Passenger Transport Authority, which had been created in 1972 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 30). 395 See Vigar (2001). 396 Based on Starkie (1982), Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, p. 24) spoke of an “environmental backlash”. 393

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public expenditure due to national economic difficulties. Even though the biggest part of public spending on transport in the 1970s continued to be allocated to the road construction and maintenance397, a growth of interest in alternative investments in new or improved public transport systems resulted and was reflected in the transportation studies of the major urban areas 398. Originally, the construction of new or the re-opening of closed local rail lines were considered in some conurbations (DfT 2011, p. 14). Accordingly, during the late 1970s, central government grants were allocated to the investment in few heavy rail and metro lines in Merseyside (Liverpool), Glasgow and Tyneside (Newcastle)399 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p.2, p.8). The Tyne and Wear Metro was the only newly established system from this period and opened in stages between 1980 and 1984. Based on the plans of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority from 1973, 42 kilometres of under-utilised local rail routes were rehabilitated and linked by 13 kilometres of new infrastructure comprising underground sections and stations in the city centre of Newcastle and Gateshead400. As the first system built after the end of the Second World War in Britain, the Tyne and Wear Metro used modern light rail rolling stock but was heavily engineered and operated fully segregated, with large stations inherited from the old rail lines and no street running. Having lost experience with tramway operations, the engineers and scheme developers in Britain tended towards heavy rail concepts which they were familiar with (APPLRG 2010; Souter 2001; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 1). Although such concepts presented a more attractive alternative to the private car than buses, they were generally found to be prohibitively expensive and disruptive (DfT 2011, p. 14; Edwards and Mackett 1996). Therefore, with the introduction of a tighter public expenditure control after the election of a Conservative Party government under Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the emphasis had to be put on cheaper plans for light rail or tramway. These could use different forms of right-of-way and would be integrated more easily into the urban fabric (Butcher 2012; DfT 2011, p. 14). 6.1.2.3

The emergence of plans for light rail systems

In light of the restrictions on public transport expenditure during the early 1980s, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which was opened in 1987 as the second new urban rail system in Britain, was chosen as the affordable alternative to a new underground line in London. The provision of a public transport connection 397

See Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, p. 31). See Hall and Hass-Klau (1985, pp. 24f.). In addition, in Central London, for the first time after sixty years two new underground lines were opened – Victoria Line in 1971 and Jubilee Line in 1979. 400 Later, the metro network was extended to Newcastle Airport and Sunderland. 398 399

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with sufficient capacity was considered essential for the regeneration of the mostly derelict London Docklands, so that a rail-based link had to be built between the redevelopment area and the rest of the city 401. The re-use of available but abandoned railway alignments in combination with some new viaduct construction allowed for establishing a 13-km long network at a relatively moderate cost of 77 million pounds 402. Like the Tyne and Wear Metro, the DLR system appropriated elements of heavy and light rail technology. Even though it was automated, powered by a third rail, and fully segregated from the road traffic, DLR deployed light rail vehicles which were derived from a German “Stadtbahn” design and were built in West Germany403 (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 1). Thanks to the suitability of the German rolling stock to run on a mixture of different rights-of-way, it could easily navigate the tight curves and steep gradients along the DLR routes which would have been unmanageable for conventional heavy rail vehicles. Furthermore, the close stop spacing on the network, which increased the accessibility of the served area, was also made possible by the higher braking and acceleration capacity of the light rail vehicles. Hence, the opening of DLR demonstrated the virtues of light rail and focused the attention on the new technology (TRL 1991, p. 1). Light rail had actually found renewed popularity with urban transport planners already in the early 1980s, when besides the schemes in Tyne and Wear and East London404, also other conurbations such as Manchester and Sheffield405 had established plans to build their own systems. However, the Conservative government changed the transport policy environment in the 1980s, which made the development of new public transport systems in the cities more difficult for the Passenger Transport Executives. 6.1.3

The deregulation of public transport in England

The government under Margaret Thatcher, which stayed in power until 1990, considered car usage as an essential personal freedom and the motor industry as being of great national economic importance (Beatty and Haywood 1997). Their policy was therefore oriented towards the enhancement of road transport by a 401

See Church (1990) for an analysis of the role of transport in the urban regeneration in London Docklands. 402 This sum included also the purchase of the rolling stock. See Church (1990, p. 294). 403 When the fleet was withdrawn from service in the mid-1990s, it was sold to the public transport company of Essen. As the vehicles were driverless, they needed to be extensively rebuilt, before they could be put in operation on the light rail network in Germany. See Railway Technology (n. d.) 404 The UK Government National Audit Office refers to the Docklands Light Railway and the Tyne and Wear Metro as light rail systems (NAO 2004). However, both are fully segregated and fully signalled systems, so that they are to be seen as metros. (Hodgson and Potter 2010) 405 See for the systems in Manchester and Sheffield Chapter 6.2 and Chapter 6.3, respectively.

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greater scale of road construction and included a significant programme for the expansion of the trunk network406 (Harman et al. 2007; Vigar 2001). In contrast, for the Conservative government, public transport was an unwanted political liability using up public finances, which needed to be exposed to free market forces through competition and privatisation (Beatty and Haywood 1997; Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 23). The municipal operators, which were seen as being dominated by Labour councils and trade union interests, had to transfer thus the ownership and management of most public transport networks into private hands (Beatty and Haywood 1997; Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 23; Harman et al. 2007). Concerns about the rapidly growing subsidy level for local bus operations was instrumental in the privatisation and deregulation of bus services in areas outside London407 under the Transport Act of 1985 (Edwards and Mackett 1996). The government’s belief was that the introduction of competition would entail lower costs and a higher quality of transport services. Furthermore, private sector innovations were expected to result408 and halt the ongoing decline in bus ridership (Whitehead 1995; Edwards and Mackett 1996). Indeed, the growth in road congestion caused by the increasing car traffic had affected the speed and reliability of bus services and together with the poor image of the bus had led to the decline in its use. The new transport policy did not change this development, however. Even more, the competition law prevented the coordination of timetables and a joint ticketing, so that the local bus lines were run on a fragmented basis rather than as a cohesive network (Harman et al. 2007; E2; E3). As a result, the overall passenger numbers continued to fall, and, in cities where strongly subsidised fares policies had operated previously, the bus use decline was drastic (Vigar 2001). Despite these outcomes, the privatisation and deregulation of bus services under Margaret Thatcher was followed by a rail privatisation under her successor John Major (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 23). In the new institutional framework, the powers and influence of the Passenger Transport Authorities and Executives suffered, and various constraints were imposed on them in the planning and provision of public transport services. The deregulation of the bus industry left the local authorities unable to define the fares, frequency or capacity of the services except on socially necessary routes

406

See in particular the strategy document called “Roads to Prosperity” published in 1989. In the capital, London Transport retained the responsibility for planning and provision of public transport. 408 See Hodgson and Potter (2010) for a discussion of the actual innovation potential of the deregulated bus market. 407

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that no private company is willing to operate 409 (Beatty and Haywood 1997; Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 25). Moreover, the authorities could not force the interchange and integration with other public transport modes and had to rely in this respect on the voluntary cooperation of the private operators. With the Transport Act of 1985, the main responsibility of the authorities remained for the provision of the bus service infrastructure, including besides stops and transfer stations also some road priority measures (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 25; Harman et al. 2007). For metropolitan rail-based systems, the local authorities retained more planning powers than for local buses and were free to specify the projected routes and the service frequencies through franchise agreements with the operating companies (Mackett and Edwards 1998). Accordingly, the authorities could determine the potential role of light rail in meeting the transport needs in their areas (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 28). However, the loss of public control over the local bus transport after 1985 implied an intermodal competition rather than integration between rail and bus. That caused serious uncertainties about the feasibility of the conceived light rail and tram schemes in the 1980s and delayed the plans for their realisation410. The development of rail systems was further impeded when new appraisal guidelines were introduced by the government in 1989 411 to take account of the place of light rail and tramways within a privatised public transport market (Hill 1995). In this context, passengers were expected to fund as much as possible of the investment in new rail infrastructure, so that their benefits had to be fully reflected in the fare levels. Therefore, the new systems had to be planned to generate enough revenue to cover the operational cost and potentially also a portion of the capital cost. Others who benefit from the transport investment, such as private property owners and developers in the vicinity of stops, were also expected to make a contribution to its funding. Accordingly, a government grant of up to 50% of the capital cost was to be provided only where this cost could not be financed by users and direct beneficiaries, whereas the maximum sum available was limited by the monetised value of the non-user benefits such as alleviation of traffic congestion and traffic savings, environmental improvement, economic development and urban regeneration412. In order to be eligible for national funding under Section 56 of the Transport Act from 1968, local promoters had to demonstrate, hence, that the estimated non-user benefits of 409

In fact, the main financial activity of the Passenger Transport Executives after 1986 was the funding of concessionary fares for particular user groups, especially the elderly, and the purchase of non-profitable but socially necessary services (Beatty and Haywood 1997). 410 See for the particular cases of Manchester and Sheffield Chapter 6.2 and Chapter 6.3, respectively. 411 See Department of Transport (1989). 412 See Tyson (1992).

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building the system would exceed any grant, that no operating subsidy would be necessary, and that the private sector would be involved in financing the investment. The new rules meant that the approval of new rail infrastructure became considerably difficult. 6.1.4 6.1.4.1

Attempts for a tramway renaissance Circulation of the tramway concept

The tighter economic appraisal principles were introduced at a time of strong interest in light rail and tramway schemes in Great Britain. Already in 1987, the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology had produced a report on innovations in surface transport, in which it had reflected on the emerging trend of building new light systems in Europe (Butcher 2012). The Committee found that West Germany, France and the Netherlands all gave public transport a higher priority than did Britain and praised the commitment of these countries to light rail, in particular in terms of promotion and funding. Therefore, they urged the Government to look at light rail options “as a means of enhancing an urban public transport network” and a tool for “the regeneration of inner cities”, and required “better arrangements” for such systems in Great Britain (Science and Technology Committee 1987, para 6.58). Two years after the publication of the House of Lords Committee report, a House of Commons Transport Select Committee was appointed to investigate the role of public transport in urban areas, focusing particularly on light rail (Souter 2001). The Committee was favourably impressed (Souter 2001), acknowledging in its report from April 1991 that “the movement behind the light rail renaissance is a powerful one” and that “light rail systems attract much support from local politicians and planners” (Transport Committee 1991, para 9). They therefore strongly suggested the government support for light rail schemes pointing at their main advantages, including congestion reduction, positive environmental impacts, high quality and improved accessibility of the services as well as contributions to urban regeneration and a ‘prestige value’ for a host city413. In parallel to the Transport Committee publication, a report by the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) appeared which looked at new light rail systems in other countries and found that they had made the technology an attractive option for British public transport414 (Butcher 2012). The example of the new systems in Nantes and Grenoble, alongside with the opening of the

413 414

See Transport Committee (1991, paras 10-18). See TRL (1991, p. 1).

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DLR, had stimulated the surge of interest in light rail and posited lessons that British cities could learn from the foreign experience 415 (Butcher 2012). In this context of the early 1990s, there were nearly 50 towns and cities throughout Britain with light rail schemes under consideration. In response to the number of potential systems, the Transport Committee proposed improved evaluation and approval procedures as well as an increased funding allocation for the mode (Knowles and White 2003). The then Government, however, made it clear that irrespective of the merits of individual projects, there was a finite budget limiting the realisation of new systems to maximum a dozen within ten years (Butcher 2012). Effectively, by the end of 1994, the opening of the systems in Manchester and Sheffield took place, while several other projected starts and extensions were delayed because of the cuts in government expenditures that had occurred with John Major’s election in 1992 (Knowles and White 2003). 6.1.4.2

Transport policy changes in the 1990s

The British economic downturn of the early 1990s reduced the public funds available not only for light rail projects but also for transport investments in general. Accordingly, the spending on road construction was significantly curtailed in the mid-1990s, with the Treasury having large influence on that decision (Vigar 2000). The fiscal policy constraints were not the only reason for the government to refrain from new road-building, however. Growing concerns about transport problems, expressed by environmental groups and the wider public too, and particularly the environmental, economic and social cost of the continually increasing car use gradually led to changes in the transport policy approach that had dominated until then (Harman et al. 2007; Vigar 2001; Pemberton 2000). In the post-war decades, the transport planning and policy practice had been based on the principle of “predict and provide”, which catered for forecast travel demand increases by supplying additional infrastructure capacity, generally by building more roads416. This approach had encouraged a continuous growth of the motor traffic and was causing raising levels of congestion and an impaired accessibility. Especially in urban areas, this development had entailed a poor quality of life for many people (Harman et al. 2007; Mackett and Edwards 1998). The desire to solve these problems required a shift from the provision of more road infrastructure to a package of policy 415

During the 1980s, it was the West German experience with light rail that was exemplary for British city transportation planners and local politicians (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 10f.). Already in 1980, the London Times had reported that “Germany offers some successful examples” of such systems (Schmucki 2010). 416 See Vigar (2001).

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measures, including improvements to public transport in order to make it a more attractive alternative to the private car (Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution 1994). In the frame of the policy package introduced by the Conservative government in the mid-1990s, travel demand management was another important measure which was to be carried out in conjunction with the development of new public transport systems, in particular light rail (Edwards and Mackett 1996; Pemberton 2000). Furthermore, the government accepted a common framework for appraisal and funding of alternative transport solutions which had to provide the basis for a more balanced development of car and public transport projects417. The change of political power in 1997 did not challenge the adopted measures but continued and rather reinforced the transport policy trends. The Labour Government elected in 1997 carried forward the rhetorical emphasis on travel demand management and introduced a new set of practices, promulgated in part by a Transport White Paper418 from July 1998 called “A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone” (Vigar 2001). It set out as key policy objectives the integration within and between different modes of transport, with close links to spatial planning as well as social and economic policies, and it explicitly suggested improvements to public transport so that it could play a greater role in travel 419. For the implementation of these objectives, the Transport Act of 2000 instituted Local Transport Plans (LTP) as the main transport policy tool and gave the local authorities powers to prepare and carry them out in their areas. The LTP presents a policy programme for a period of five years covering all local transport services and facilities, including highways and public transport, and has to address the government’s key transport themes420. The local authorities got the right to include the building of a tram or light rail system in their Local Transport Plans, but due to the limited amount of own financial resources they relied for the realisation of the projects, and of the programmes in general, on a funding approved annually by the government. The provision of government grants continued to be subject to a rigorous economic assessment, even though the appraisal procedure was modified. In 1998, the Labour government introduced a “New Approach to Appraisal” (NATA), which explicitly included the assessment of environmental effects of transport

417

See Last (2002). A White Paper is a type of government-issued document presenting policy preferences before the introduction of correspondent legislation. 419 See Harman et al. (2007) and Hasiak and Richer (2012, pp. 70f.). 420 See Harman et al. (2007). 418

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projects421 and relaxed the restrictions on benefit calculations related to nonusers in the cost-benefit analysis of public transport schemes 422. The applied appraisal criteria, which were assessed by quantitative means where possible, referred to improvements to the environment, safety, economy, accessibility and integration, and aimed at the evaluation of all transport projects on an equal footing (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 29). In particular, NATA was conceived to provide a stricter assessment of road projects and to promote “sustainable” transport, especially through public transport enhancements 423. For the envisaged improvement of urban public transport, the Labour Government gave priority to the development of bus instead of light rail systems. Even though the deregulation of bus services was retained, the government saw Bus Quality Partnerships between local authorities and private operators as the main way to make public transport more attractive and induce a modal shift away from the car. The Transport Act of 2000 allowed that under such a Partnership, a local transport authority can invest in improved facilities at specific locations along bus routes and only operators prepared to provide services to the standards specified by the authority are permitted to use the facilities424. The preference of bus schemes over light rail was based on economic efficiency considerations, as the former were argued to deliver improvements to a larger number of people more quickly and at lower cost 425. The White Paper from 1998 therefore stated that “funding for new major light rail schemes will not be a priority” and expected local authorities to use congestion charging or workplace parking levies as a source of financing for light rail schemes426 (DETR 1998, para 3.38). However, this position changed two years later, when the government announced a significant funding package for transport projects over a period of 10 years. 6.1.4.3

The 10 Year Plan

In May 2000, the House of Commons Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs (ETRA) Committee published the results of a parliamentary scrutiny of 421

This change within the new approach related to the application of a European directive about the appraisal of “effects of central plans and programs on the environment”. See Hasiak and Richer (2012, pp. 72f.). 422 See Hass-Klau et al. (2004, p. 47). 423 This approach was called “pragmatic multimodalism”. However, in reality, the spending on road construction was not at all discouraged. See Walton and Shaw (2003). 424 See DfT (2000, section 114). 425 See DETR (1998, para 3.38) and ETRA Committee (2000, paras 1-2). 426 Accordingly, the 2000 Transport Act created powers and processes for bringing in road pricing and workplace charging schemes through the local authorities. See Part III in the Act.

246

The uneven path of tramway development in England

light rail’s potential in Britain (ETRA Committee 2000). The committee reported with a positive endorsement of the transport mode and called for a resolution of the planning and funding constraints inhabiting the development of new light rail systems (Souter 2001). In particular, they recommended the investment in complete systems rather than isolated lines, including the integration of bus and light rail services and track sharing between heavy and light rail where feasible. The systems were to be planned in coordination with urban development efforts and had to be accompanied by traffic restraint measures in order to reinforce the modal shift away from motor cars. In view of the transport policy since the election of the Labour Party in 1997, the report stated that the government support for light rail had ‘fluctuated’ over the years even though government and private sector finance was being spent on building and extending the systems in Tyne and Wear, East London, Manchester and Nottingham427 (Butcher 2012). Following the recommendations of the ETRA Committee, the government took a more positive stance on light rail in its strategy for investment and action in the transport sector “Transport 2010 – The 10 Year Plan”, which was published in July 2000 (Butcher 2012; Souter 2001). The plan defined the intended funding for transport over a period of ten years and envisaged a total investment of 180 billion pounds for the achievement of the 1998 White Paper objectives (Harman et al. 2007; Butcher 2012). In order to reduce congestion, encourage a higher use of public transport, support the economic growth and improve the environment, the government stated the intention to “fund a substantial increase in the role of light rail in our larger cities and conurbations over the next ten years, backing schemes that offer good value for money as part of integrated transport strategies” (DETR 2000, p. 59). Accordingly, the strategy plan included a target to more than double the light rail passengers by 2010 and a consideration to support up to 25 new light rail lines assuming about 2.6 billion pounds of public sector and private investment (Knowles 2007; Souter 2001). The private capital expenditure was to be encouraged through Public Private Partnerships (Butcher 2012; Harman et al. 2007). The action plan and underlying policies received widespread support, but there remained some concern about their realisability as they were associated with certain restrictions of car use (Harman et al. 2007; Pemberton 2000). 6.1.5

The scrapping of plans for an extensive tramway renaissance

The view of some motoring and business interests that the policies would constrain the freedom to travel and could have negative economic impacts was widely reported in the media (Harman et al. 2007). This perspective eventually 427

See ETRA Committee (2000, paras 1-2).

The English tramway renaissance

247

gained dominance after a campaign against fuel price rises in autumn 2001, which led the government to abandon its plans for gradual petrol tax increases as a financing source for its transport strategy 428. In successive policies, the promises of new infrastructure declined, especially in the provision of light rail. Already in the summer of 2002, the targets to double light rail ridership were scrapped when the government decided it would afford to fund partly only a few of the aspired 25 new schemes (Knowles 2007). The willingness for central support to light rail investments weakened further in October 2003 following a period of rapid cost increases for light and heavy rail schemes (Knowles 2007; Harman et al. 2007). “The Times” newspaper reported that “‘the great tram revival’ was meant to rescue that country’s city centres from gridlock by tempting motorist out of their cars. (...) But the experiment appears to have failed and ministers are withdrawing support from a series of tram projects.”429 This was caused by the loss of the private sector confidence after the bankruptcy of the private owner of the national rail infrastructure 430, the insufficient financial performance of some rail franchises and the contractor losses on building the Nottingham tramway (Knowles 2007). The publication of a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) in 2004, which evaluated the English light rail systems and made mixed conclusions about the future of the transport mode in Britain, reinforced the scepticism of the government about light rail projects (Knowles 2007). 6.1.5.1

The NAO report from 2004

In April 2004, NAO examined in their report the government’s work in funding the construction of light rail systems to improve the public transport in England (NAO 2004, p. 1). At the time, seven new systems had been built 431 at a total

428

See Harman et al. (2007). See Webster (2003). 430 A group of private companies, called Railtrack, became the owner of the national rail infrastructure in 1994 when British Rail was privatised. In 2002, after experiencing major financial difficulties, the government declared Railtrack bankrupt and their operations were transferred to the newly established non-profit company Network Rail which has been controlled by the State. See Harman et al. (2007). 431 Besides the two metro systems from the eighties and the light rail systems in Manchester and Sheffield, which had opened by the mid-1990s, three new systems were commissioned between 1999 and March 2004. Midland Metro was put in service in May 1999 to link Wolverhampton and Birmingham. The single line consisting largely of a former rail alignment and a short section of street running has been served by light rail vehicles. In May 2000, the tram system Tramlink began operations in Croydon and surrounding areas in South London. The three-line network involved street running route sections, new segregated alignments and the replacement of commuter services on heavy rail tracks. The most recent scheme was Nottingham Express Transit, which was completed and opened in March 2004. The modern tramway linked the area north of Nottingham 429

248

The uneven path of tramway development in England

cost of 2.3 billion pounds, the largest share of which – amounting to more than 1 billion – had been funded by the government (NAO 2004, p. 1). The report found that the expenditure had been kept within budget in all but one of the schemes 432 that had been built, and bemoaned that the evaluation of the existing systems had been incomplete so that the government did not have a sufficiently informed basis for the consideration of future projects (NAO 2004, pp. 2, 19f.). Against this background, NAO pointed out that light rail in England had improved the quality and choice of public transport, achieved a modal shift away from cars and enhanced the image of the host cities433. They further highlighted that the new transport systems had contributed to the regeneration of some rundown areas and to improved access for socially disadvantaged people, in particular in Manchester and Croydon434. However, the report conceded that anticipated benefits had been over-estimated and were not being fully exploited. Despite the modal shift, there had not been significant easing of road congestion or a reduction in pollution or road accidents435 (NAO 2004, pp. 5, 24). NAO also found that actual passenger numbers had been lower than the levels forecast by the light rail promoters. With the exception of Manchester Metrolink, the new systems had attracted fewer passengers than predicted, with the tramway in Sheffield having the largest negative difference equalling 45% (NAO 2004, p. 21). The shortfalls in ridership were attributed to various factors including overoptimistic forecasting, early operational problems affecting services, physical limitations on the chosen routes and competition from deregulated buses (NAO 2004, p. 26). In this context, several systems had lower revenues than predicted and had been running at a loss without any right to obtain operational subsidies from the government (NAO 2004, pp. 6, 25). The evaluation results and the operational environment of the English light rail systems were critically compared to the experience in France and Germany. In the frame of producing the report, officials from NAO visited the tramway with the city centre using a mixture of former railway alignments and extensive on-street running. (DfT 2011b) 432 In the case of the Sheffield tramway, the government had incurred additional costs after the system launch. See Chapter 6.3.4.1 for more information on that. 433 See NAO (2004, pp. 3, 20-22). 434 See NAO (2004, pp. 20, 24f.). Also the House of Commons Transport Committee, following their inquiry into light rail in 2004, reported that some light rail systems, such as those in Manchester and London’s Docklands, had had significant regeneration benefits (Transport Committee 2005a, para 18, p. 11). 435 This was due to the phenomenon that the vacated road space had been often taken by new motorists (NAO 2004, p. 5). Also Lee and Senior (2013), using English Census data for the period between 1991 and 2001, found only weak evidence that some, but certainly not all, of the English light rail schemes restrain or reduce car ownership. The ridership gains on the light rail lines had mainly been at the expense of bus trips.

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systems in Lyon and Grenoble in France, and Freiburg and Karlsruhe in Germany, and identified several key differences in the design of continental systems compared with their English counterparts (NAO 2004, p. 6). In particular, NAO noticed that in the two countries, tram lines are usually segregated from and given priority over other forms of traffic, and trams are embedded in a fully integrated public transport network. The report also favourably mentioned that in France the improvement of the streetscape is an integral part of any new system. NAO argued that these aspects helped to improve the delivery of benefits to passengers and local communities in France and Germany. The report also found that fares on the continent are heavily subsidised and are hence lower, while population densities in the served urban areas, and therefore the traffic potential, are higher. These circumstances entailed higher ridership levels than on similar English systems (NAO 2004, p. 7). Eventually, the modest number of light rail and tram systems in England, as compared to France, and especially to Germany, was also critically cited436. The NAO report identified the major barriers hindering the wider spread of light rail in England. Cost was stated to be the most significant factor discouraging the further development of light rail, especially when compared with buses (NAO 2004, p. 8). The particularly high cost levels of English schemes were attributed to the lack of standardisation in systems’ design and the application of heavy rail specifications and safety standards (NAO 2004, pp. 31f.). Furthermore, unlike in other European countries, the utility diversion from the projected route had to be paid for almost exclusively by the light rail developer437. The slow planning and funding approval process in England, usually taking several years 438, had further 436

See NAO (2004, p. 9). Utilities, such as gas, water or sewerage pipes, are usually dug up and moved when a light rail line is built in order to be more easily accessible in future, and this can be a significant capital cost. After 2000, the promoter of a light rail scheme In England had to cover a share of 92.5% of the cost for any utility diversion works, compared to only 82% for a highway or major bridge scheme. Prior to 2000, the 82%-share was the same for all works. In Germany, the percentage of costs borne by the tram or light rail promoter was between 60 and 80 per cent, while in France, no contribution is made to the cost of utility diversion (NAO 2004, p. 32). The configurations for sharing the costs inherent to displacements can vary however from city to city within the same country (UITP 2001). 438 Before 1992, light rail promoting authorities in England had to obtain legal powers through a Parliamentary Bill bypassing the need for explicit planning permission, but passing the Bill proved a lengthy and costly procedure. To minimise the parliamentary committee work required by the increasing volume of private bills, the Transport and Works Act of 1992 replaced the previous authorisation procedure by Ministerial Orders, giving the promoters broad powers including the compulsory purchase of land. It was expected that the new legislation would bring time savings for uncontroversial proposals and make planning easier. Where there was opposition to a project, a public inquiry had to be held, which was eventually the case for all major light rail systems and lines in England. Although none had been rejected following a public inquiry, the new procedure 437

250

The uneven path of tramway development in England

added to inflationary cost increases and uncertainty, which undermined the viability of projects. As the main funder of transport infrastructure, the government played an important role in the development of light rail through its process of project appraisal. Between 1988 and 2004, however, there had been five major changes to the governmental appraisal process, making it difficult for a promoter to prepare a grant application meeting the exact funding requirements439 (NAO 2004, p. 35). The poor financial performance of existing systems in England was another factor which lowered the enthusiasm for light rail and discouraged private sector investments (NAO 2004, pp. 8, 33). At the same time, local authorities experienced difficulties to secure the necessary complementary funding and sometimes lacked the expertise to choose and develop the appropriate transport system (NAO 2004, pp. 8, 33ff.). Against this background, the NAO report recommended a more strategic approach to light rail development, prioritising those lines with the best estimated economic results and the best fit with government transport objectives (NAO 2004, p. 11). Many of the other recommendations were a re-iteration of those made by the ETRA Committee Report in 2000. In particular, the integration of light rail with deregulated bus services, park-and-ride schemes and the provision of priority for rail over road vehicles at key junctions were considered essential for increasing the attractiveness of light rail. Track sharing and heavy rail conversion were proposed as viable options for developing affordable systems. The National Audit Office also suggested that greater standardisation in the design of systems, vehicles and methods of construction, as well as more appropriate safety standards could reduce the cost of new light rail schemes440. Besides cutting the implementation costs, the need to utilise new funding sources, notably congestion charging, was underlined 441. The government interpreted the evidence from the National Audit Office Report as a justification for its reserves toward light rail and responded to the recommendations made by reiterating the availability of the congestion charging option for local authorities to raise extra funds (Knowles 2007). However, proved more time consuming and expensive than the previous process. Insufficient staff resources in the Ministry deciding on the applications for Orders were also responsible for the lengthy authorisation process. See NAO (2004, pp. 35f., paras 3.30-3.33; p. 37). 439 The changes can have a significant impact on the appraisal of a project necessitating much of the preparation work to be re-done. In some cases, a project might become harder to justify under the new appraisal criteria and eventually receive no central funding. Therefore, the changes to the appraisal process had increased the general uncertainty and postponed the realisation of several light rail schemes. See NAO (2004, p. 35) 440 See NAO (2004, pp. 10f). 441 See NAO (2004, p. 34).

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251

despite the enactment of this option through the Transport Act of 2000, until a set of light rail line extensions was proposed in Manchester in 2008, no local authority had tried to take up this opportunity442. Knowles (2007) attributed this hesitation to the deregulation of bus services, which prevented the coordination of public transport supply and prior investment in sufficient capacity to accommodate the new passengers shifting from cars as a reaction to congestion charges. The charges would, therefore, be perceived as an additional tax on car use, which made them politically unpopular due to the fear of vote losses (Knowles 2007; Pemberton 2000). The unwillingness by local politicians to apply traffic restriction measures was also explained by the lack of “grassroots support” for the introduction of such measures 443. At the same time, the implementation of local authority projects as part of their Local Transport Plans was generally held back by government controls, so that urban traffic congestion was still increasing, bus service levels and operations continued to decline outside London, while environmental conditions generally got worse (Harman et al. 2007; Davison and Knowles 2006). In response, the Labour government published in July 2004 a further White Paper called “The Future of Transport: a network for 2030” (DfT 2004), which stressed the increased public funding which was being awarded to the transport sector, and set out new initiatives, aimed at taking forward the principles of “The 10 Year Plan” from 2000 (Harman et al. 2007). 6.1.5.2

A difficult policy environment for light rail systems

The new White Paper touched upon the mixed picture of English light rail systems in terms of successfully attracting passengers (DfT 2004, p. 58) and stated that proposals for new light rail schemes should undergo “rigorous assessment” (DfT 2004, p. 62, para 4.29). The government further required that local authorities “reassure themselves of the realism of forecasts of passenger numbers, and ensure that they are taking appropriate measures to attract people to use the new services” (DfT 2004, p. 62, para 4.29). Just a few weeks after the publication of the White Paper, the Labour government revoked its initial approval of part-funding projects for new or existing light rail systems in Leeds, South Hampshire and Greater Manchester444 because of escalating costs that made necessary a significantly larger public-sector contribution than planned (Transport Committee 2005a, p. 19). The Leeds and South Hampshire tram schemes were eventually cancelled in late 2005, and Leeds was advised to 442

See for the proposal of congestion charging in Manchester Chapter 6.2.3.3. See Pemberton (2000). 444 The scheme in Manchester was later reinstated after intensive lobbying. See Chapter 6.2.3.3 for further information. 443

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

pursue a bus-based system instead, so that the city is currently developing a trolleybus network445. Whereas the schemes in Leeds and South Hampshire were abandoned in relatively early planning stages, Liverpool’s tram project retained the original government funding approval to the point where construction was to commence in 2005. However, an inflationary cost increase and the refusal of the government to provide any additions to the initial amount led to scrapping also this project446. London was the only city, for which the national funding commitment to the planned extensions of DLR and the East London Underground Line as well as the new London CrossRail scheme stayed in place (Knowles 2007). This prompted accusations of a bias at the national level in favour of London’s transport network (Wainwright 2004), which was justified by the Mayor of the English capital Ken Livingstone with London’s 2012 Olympic Bid (Knowles 2007). In a report on light rail from April 2005, The House of Commons Transport Committee criticised the Government for having failed to give a strategic lead in the development of light rail in England (Transport Committee 2005a, p. 3). Therefore, the Committee recommended that the Department for Transport (DfT)447 should increase its expertise on light rail and share it with promoters, and also give clearer guidance to local authorities about the circumstances in which it is prepared to consider light rail schemes. The report further asked the government to provide local authorities with more powers to control the bus services in their area and in the long term to raise their own financial resources to fund local transport infrastructure (Transport Committee 2005a, p. 4). In response, the government published in December 2006 a draft guidance to authorities considering a light rail scheme, stating that it “will not support a proposal for a light rail scheme unless the promoters can clearly demonstrate that they have considered fully other public transport solutions and have taken these options as far as they can”448. Therefore, local transport problems were to be addressed by means of the “most cost-effective solution”, which will be rather bus than light rail (DfT 2006, para 1.4.3). This principle was underlined in the “Guidance for Local Authorities seeking Government funding for major transport schemes” (DfT 2007) requiring that “authorities should consider all rapid transit solutions including whether a bus based solution or an alternative

445

See NGT (n.d.) for more information on the trolleybus project. See for a review of the cancelled tram projects in England Hodgson (2011, pp. 55-66). 447 The DfT is the British equivalent of a Ministry of Transport in other countries. This governmental department is responsible for the English transport network as well as a limited number of transport matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 448 DfT (2006, para 1.4.3) 446

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253

mass rapid transit system would be more appropriate”449. The explicitly suggested bus option was strengthened by the DfT through specific policy and legislative changes designed largely to improve bus services 450. At the same time, a framework or specific policy for light rail as an urban transport solution was missing; and the proponents of this transport mode bemoaned that it had not received an equal treatment by the national government which was the main actor in charge of decision and funding451. These concerns were confirmed in a report of the All Party Parliamentary Light Rail Group (APPLRG) published in February 2010452, which reviewed the progress of light rail development in England after 2005. The Parliamentary Group conceded that there had been an improvement in the prospects for light rail in Britain, as the government had provided some stability and clarity over project timescales and the Local Transport Act from 2008 had given transport authorities more potential powers to integrate modes (APPLRG 2010, p. 12). Furthermore, in 2008 and 2009, government funding had been approved for extensions to the systems in Manchester and Nottingham and for the refurbishment of the heritage tramline in Blackpool, while an extension proposal for Midland Metro was under consideration 453 (APPLRG 2010, p. 7). However, no approvals for entirely new tram or light rail systems in England had been given, so that the English tramway renaissance comprised the introduction of only five new light rail or tram systems. Table 6 provides an overview of the existing systems and the development of their track length over the years.

449

DfT (2007, paras 2.8.2) In particular, Part 3 of the Local Transport Act, passed in 2008, was completely devoted to bus services. 451 See APPLRG (2010, p. 3 and p. 23). 452 See APPLRG (2010). 453 In addition, the Scottish Parliament approved the re-introduction of a tram line in Edinburgh (APPLRG 2010, p. 7), which was completed in 2014 after six years of construction works. 450

254 System

1

The uneven path of tramway development in England Opening Year

Network Length (km)

Opening Year

2001

2006

2011

2016

Difference since opening

Blackpool Tramway

1885

-

18

18

18

18

-

Manchester Metrolink

1992

31

39

39

39

96

+65 1

Sheffield Supertram

1994

29

29

29

29

29

-1

Midland Metro

1999

20

20

20

20

20

-1

Croydon Tramlink

2000

28

28

28

28

28

-

Nottingham Express Transit

20004

14

-

14

14

32

+18

By 2020, extensions to these systems will be built454.

Table 6: Length development of the English light rail and tram networks Source: DfT (2016a)

Notwithstanding the few funding approvals for system extensions, the Parliamentary Group found that no strategy for light rail and no specific definition of its role in urban transport had been elaborated in England (APPLRG 2010, p. 11). Despite the lack of a strategic framework specifically related to light rail, the government still played a significant, restrictive role in decision-making processes on the implementation of the technology and so displayed a tendency to “micro-manage from the centre” (APPLRG 2010, p. 11). The report criticised that trams and light rail had experienced differential treatment in the levels of required local contribution to funding and the cost of utilities diversion, and were disadvantaged by the current appraisal system compared to other modes455. In particular, the appraisal processes were seen not 454

For more details about the extension projects for Manchster Metrolink and Sheffield Supertram, see Chapter 6.2.3.4 and Chapter 6.3.4.3, respectively. 455 See APPLRG (2010, p. 21)

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255

to take into account the full range of benefits light rail had to offer, including carbon reduction, regeneration impacts, health benefits and the stimulation of a modal shift. However, in order to explore the potential of light rail and modern trams to transform urban transport systems as well as the wider urban realm, a clearer lead from the government, less bias in the appraisal processes, devolution of decision-making powers on funding, and the establishment of accepted design standards for the sake of cost reductions were suggested 456. 6.1.6

Policy and institutional changes after 2010

In spite of the APPLRG report published shortly before the General Elections of May 2010, there was no mention of a light rail policy in the manifestos of either the Conservative or the Liberal Democratic Party, which formed a coalition government after the vote457. The Coalition Agreement didn’t involve any policy intentions related to light rail either 458, but a White Paper on local transport, published in January 2011, stated that “light rail, trams and other rapid transit systems can play a significant part in improving the attractiveness and quality of public transport in major conurbations”459. The new government found that: “Not only is this mode of transport good for passengers but also for local economies and in the right circumstances can be an effective and efficient means of moving a large number of people directly into the heart of a city or town” 460. Accordingly, the coalition funded during its five-year term of office several proposed extensions to the systems in Manchester, Birmingham and Nottingham as well as the refurbishment of the Tyne and Wear Metro (DfT 2011b, pp. 50f.). However, in view of the significant financial resources required to build tram and light rail lines, the study of ways for reducing the costs of main schemes and the application of a “standardised approach to developing light rail systems” in England were considered essential tasks (DfT 2011a, p. 64, para 6.37). In September 2011, the coalition government published a new guidance aimed at encouraging the development of light rail in England under the title “Green light for light rail” (DfT 2011b). The press release accompanying the report quoted Transport Minister Norman Baker that “light rail has a future in this country if capital costs can be reduced”461, which gave reason to the newspaper Guardian to proclaim “A light rail renaissance” in the United Kingdom462. However, the 456

See APPLRG (2010, pp. 23-24). See Butcher (2012). 458 See Butcher (2012). 459 DfT (2011a, p. 64, para 6.35) 460 DfT (2011a, p. 64, para 6.35) 461 DfT (2011c) 462 See Appleyard (2011). 457

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

ministerial paper stressed that action was needed in several areas in order to enable greater investment in light rail. The recommendations made were mainly directed at UKTram – the umbrella body bringing together scheme promoters, the private sector and the government, which had been founded to address the issues raised in the NAO report from 2004 following a yearlong consultation 463. The 2011 report suggested making more use of the existing global pool of technology and the internationally circulating knowledge on tram and light rail systems. In particular, it called on UKTram to “work with industry and European partners to share best practice and identify further initiatives for cost reduction”464 465, and to implement a standard and more uniform core design for light rail systems, which would condition future public funding466. A cooperation with the Association of German Transport Undertakings VDV was encouraged which would provide access to internationally recognised technical standards and therefore allow for higher safety and cost savings 467. The government also recommended looking at the low-cost tram project in the French city of Besançon468, and asked for the establishment of a “centre of procurement excellence” within UKTram to advice local authorities and ensure “that each new scheme learns from its predecessors through following best practice” 469. The recommendations in the report were backed by institutional changes which the coalition government had carried out in support of light rail. In particular, in 2010 they had removed the requirement for light rail schemes to have a higher share of local contribution compared to other transport modes 470. In addition, the project appraisal methodology had been modified with a tendency to improve the benefit-cost ratios of schemes that reduce carbon emissions, such as trams and light rail, as opposed to those that entail higher emission volumes 471 (DfT 2011b, p. 51, para 7.6). The government had also committed to the devolution of funding for investments in local transport infrastructure and a transfer of decision-making powers to the local authorities 472, as had been suggested by the APPLRG report from 2010. These reform steps were meant to reduce “the 463

See UKTram (2012) for more information on the organisation. Dft (2011b, p. 53, para 7.10) 465 Heeding this advice, the public transport authorities of Manchester and Sheffield made joint rolling stock orders together with the authorities in Cologne and Karlsruhe respectively (E2). 466 See DfT (2011b, p. 53, paras 7.12-7.14). 467 See DfT (2011b, p. 34, para 5.14). 468 See DfT (2011b, pp. 34f., 53; paras 5.15-5.18, 7.13). 469 DfT (2011b, p. 53, para 7.15) 470 Before that, the promoters of a light rail project had to provide 25% of the total capital cost as compared to 10% required for other modes (DfT 2011b, p. 51, para 7.5; APPLRG 2010, p. 21). 471 This action followed also from the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Act 2008 which had committed the Government to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050. See DfT (2011b, p. 23). 472 See (DfT 2011b, pp.5, 52). 464

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257

current over-reliance of promoters on central Government” to fund light rail or other local transport schemes while giving “freedom to local areas to put together packages of funding and make decisions on scheme prioritisation” (DfT 2011b, p. 6, para 5). To achieve this, the government launched a programme of City Deals in late 2011, which was based on agreements with English municipal councils to transfer them the charge and responsibility for promoting economic growth plans and public spending (Cabinet Office 2015). The agreements involve funding devolution arrangements which give powers to a city to administer financial resources which were previously held by central government and to borrow against the predicted growth in locally raised business rates, known as Tax Increment Funding473 (Cabinet Office 2012). The devolved budgets should therefore allow local authorities to make strategic transport investments that stimulate economic growth and regeneration (Cabinet Office 2015; Cabinet Office 2012, p. 3). The eight largest cities outside London, among which Manchester and Sheffield474, were part of a first wave of City Deals agreed by mid-2012, while 20 other cities were invited to negotiate their own deals from 2013 onwards (Cabinet Office 2015). Greater Manchester was the first conurbation to make use of its devolution deal providing “earn back” funding475 for the construction of a 5.5 km-long light rail line extension, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020 (HM Treasury 2014; E2). Also in Birmingham, a new light rail section is to be built by 2021 using financial resources stemming to nearly 90% from the Local Growth Fund476. However, the few light rail schemes that were implemented after 2004 477, when the last new system in England was inaugurated, were still funded mainly by the government. 6.1.7

The materiality of the English light rail systems

The important role of the central government in the process of light rail development in England, both in terms of shaping the institutional framework and decision-making, especially on funding approval, has been reflected in the material layout of the systems built. Promoted as the modern successor of the

473

See DfT (2011b, paras 5.26, 7.8) for more information on the proposal for Tax Increment Financing. 474 The other six cities are Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Nottingham. See Cabinet Office (2012). 475 Manchester’s Deal allowed the conurbation to ‘earn back’ a share of the national tax arising from projected economic growth on a payment-by-results basis and to reinvest the ‘earned back’ funds into further infrastructure projects (Cabinet Office 2012, p. 8). 476 See Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP (2014). 477 Besides a DLR line, these schemes are the recently completed extensions to the systems in Manchester and Nottingham, the line prolongation in Birmingham across the city centre, as well as the modernisation of the systems in Blackpool and Tyne and Wear. See DfT (2011b, pp. 60-61).

258

The uneven path of tramway development in England

electric street tramways from the first half of the twentieth century 478, the English light rail lines were in the most cases planned to perform the function of “speedy, high-quality public transport”479, most likely to satisfy the economic appraisal criteria for receiving a government grant. As travel time savings have been considered a main benefit of investments in transport infrastructure, which in the case of light rail were also supposed to generate new ridership and incite a modal shift away from cars, the new systems have attempted to offer fast services along an own right-of-way with widely spaced stations. Therefore, the first new lines in all conurbations included large portions of existing rail alignments, which allowed for segregated running operations at relatively high speeds. The use of abandoned rail tracks or the conversion of underutilised conventional railways offered also the possibility to reduce the capital costs and minimise the disruption to public life as compared to in-street construction480. Furthermore, the use of former railway corridors was in line with the heavy rail design expertise, which has been dominating the development of light rail systems in England against the background of lacking local experience with modern tramways. This practice also matched the preference of the involved private sector funders for projects with low risk 481. Hence, there has been relatively little tram-like on-street operation in England, with the major exception of the South Yorkshire Supertram, which runs on more than half of its route through Sheffield in the street space 482. Still, the most recent extensions to the networks in Manchester and Nottingham (Figure 36) as well as the line construction in the city centre of Birmingham include new alignments with a changing right-of-way featuring larger portions of tracks embedded in the street483. One could therefore say that the newest lines mirror to a certain extent the experience and development trends in Continental Europe.

478

See NAO (2004, p. 13). See ETRA Committee (2000, para 56). 480 The capital costs for English light rail schemes varied from a construction cost per mile (in 201011 prices) of between 10 million pounds for the Sunderland extension of the Tyne and Wear Metro in 2002 to more than 41 million pounds for the new in-street lines in Manchester from 2000 (DfT 2011b, p. 26). 481 See NAO (2004, p. 32) and APPLRG (2010, pp. 8f.), which both highlighted the perceived overreliance on expertise and procedures from the heavy rail industry within the light rail development in England. 482 See Chapter 6.3.3.3. 483 See Chapter 6.2.3.3 for the case of Manchester. 479

The English tramway renaissance

259

Figure 36: On-street tram service in the city centre of Nottingham

The routing of the new light rail lines in England was based also on the spatial structure of the served conurbations, where the biggest parts of the population reside in low-density suburban areas. In accordance with the path-dependent outcome of the land use policy from the early 20 th century in England, the new services were to provide direct connections from the suburbs into “the heart of a city or town” (DfT 2011a, para 6.35), where work, shopping and leisure opportunities have been concentrated. This required moving passengers over relatively long distances at high speeds in order to be competitive to the private car and bus services. In fact, the English light rails improved the links between suburb and city centre, which has been reflected by ridership growths over the years (Figure 37). However, they have mostly not been planned in conjunction with urban development objectives, as improvements to the city realm, such as regeneration or image enhancement, have not been included in the main criteria

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of economic assessment for public transport schemes and tended to be funded separately484. Croydon Tramlink Nottingham Express Transit Midland Metro Sheffield Supertram Manchester Metrolink Blackpool Tramway

40

35

30

25

20

15

10

5

0 1993 1995

2000

2005

2010

2016

Figure 37: Passenger journeys (in millions) on English light rail and tramways by system Source: DfT (2016b) 484

However, the issue of urban regeneration and place making was a significant factor in the more locally determined decision making process on the latest extensions in Manchester, where a Transport Fund prioritised schemes according to their job creation potential rather than mainly the costs (APPLRG 2010, p. 18).

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In general, transport has played a minimal role in the inner city programmes concerned with the promotion of urbanity and urban density, intended to revive urban areas and attract people back into towns and cities (Chan 2009; Dabinett et al. 1999; Lawless and Gore 1999). Therefore, the English light rail schemes have been mostly planned as transport projects, not as means of strategically guiding land use or stimulating the embellishment of the urban environment. Accordingly, not only former railway corridors were used, but also the insertion of the new lines in city streets tended to be based on purely functional considerations without aesthetic aspirations485. Nonetheless, like in other countries, the lines and extensions constructed in the 2000s featured sections of grass tracks and aimed at limiting the visual intrusion caused by the light rail infrastructure (Figure 38). Therefore, a certain evolution of the style of English systems under the influence of circulating models and concepts can be assumed.

Figure 38: A grass track section on the Manchester Metrolink line to Eccles

485

This is particularly exemplified by the city centre portions of the Manchester light rail lines. See Chapter 6.2.3.1.

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6.2 6.2.1

The uneven path of tramway development in England

The Manchester Metrolink system City profile

Manchester is a major provincial city located in north-western England, 290 km in the north of London. With a population of about 520,000 inhabitants, it is the commercial, financial, educational and cultural centre of a conurbation which covers 1,286 square kilometres and is home to 2.7 million people. The Greater Manchester conurbation contains a mix of high density urban areas, suburbs, semi-rural and rural locations, but the spatial pattern is predominantly urban (E1). Despite the presence of a strong core, formed by Manchester and the adjoining parts of the city of Salford and the borough of Trafford, it is also a polycentric conurbation with seven other local authorities, each of which has a major town centre486. Greater Manchester is the economic centre of the North of England and the second largest economic region outside London, but it is not a homogenous area, as it contains also several deprived neighbourhoods (E1; TfGM 2015, p. 8). In the last three decades of the 20 th century, the local economy experienced deep structural changes leading to increased unemployment in the traditional sector of manufacturing but also in Manchester’s city centre office sector (Haywood 1998). These changes were associated with a considerable population decline in the city of Manchester, which lost more than one quarter of its population between 1971 and 2001 (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, p. 83). However, since the late 1990s there have been more buoyant economic conditions which allowed Manchester to recover from the consequences of the industrial restructuring. In effect, the conurbation witnessed a population increase of 6.6% from 2001 to 2011, with the city of Manchester having registered 19% more inhabitants in this period, which made it the fastest growing of England’s major cities (TfGM 2015, p. 8). The local public transport supply, and in particular the light rail system, have been considered a significant factor for the urban regeneration in the conurbation (E1; E2); and also historically, tramways, alongside with the local railways, played an important role in Greater Manchester’s development. 6.2.2

The old tramway and the plans for an urban rail system

Tram transport in Manchester began in the early 1870s, initially with horsedrawn vehicles, which were soon replaced by steam trams which were considered cleaner and more economical. Like elsewhere, both technologies 486

Besides Manchester, Salford and Trafford, the local authorities in the conurbation are Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside and Wigan.

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were short lived, and the tramway lines operating in the city and neighbouring communities were electrified at the turn of the century (Smith 1998). By the outbreak of the First World War, there had been a continuous expansion of the tramway services in the Manchester conurbation, so that the total network length exceeded 400 kilometres. Also in the years after the war, the tramway remained the major means of urban transport with more than 300 million passengers at its peak in 1926 (Pooley and Turnbull 2000, p. 369). At this time, the Manchester system was one of the densest and largest in England, but it soon began to shrink as from 1929 on, the municipal public transport operator started replacing trams with buses. Indeed, many tramway alignments, which had been opened some thirty years ago, were in need of a renewal of their infrastructure. Furthermore, trams were increasingly blamed to be a major cause of urban traffic congestion, unlike buses which were seen to be faster, flexible and compatible with car traffic. Motor buses had also the advantage to offer a cheaper option for connecting the newly developed suburban areas. This gave momentum to campaigns for the complete substitution of trams by motor and trolley buses, with the consequence that in the 1930s, about one third of the tramway network was converted to bus operations. Accordingly, the share of public transport passengers using the tram in Manchester dropped from 84 to 24 per cent between 1931 and 1941 (Pooley and Turnbull 2000, p. 370). Tramway transport was eventually given up in 1949, and in the following decades motor buses provided the main public transport service in the city and the surrounding municipalities (Smith 1998). However, the growing car use from the 1950s onwards significantly reduced the number of people travelling by bus in the conurbation, so that already in the 1960s, studies on new and more attractive forms of public transport were launched. The first steps towards the enhancement of the public transport services in the conurbation were made with the creation of a Passenger Transport Authority in 1969 (Pooley and Turnbull 2000). This authority provided for improved accessibility to the local rail network, which was the largest in Britain outside London, and established several bus-rail interchanges in the suburbs as well as a new major bus station in central Manchester (Beatty and Haywood 1997). However, the effectiveness and the use of the public transport system in the conurbation had been mainly limited by the peripheral location of the main railway stations Victoria and Piccadilly (Smith 1998; Joyce 1982, pp. 59-60). Built by competing private companies, these stations were situated on opposite edges of Manchester city centre and had lacked a direct connection since their

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erection in the early 1840s487 (Tyson 2004). Therefore, the northern and southern parts of the local railway network were largely separated. Furthermore, each of the stations lied at least 1 kilometre apart from most passenger destinations, so that a large area in central Manchester was not conveniently served by rail transport and a change of mode was necessary to complete the journey for most passengers (Tyson 2004). The public transport system of the conurbation featured hence a reverse salient, which had limited the use of its full potential. Plans to provide a better rail access to the city centre by linking Victoria and Piccadilly had existed since the early railway age but none of them had materialised, mostly on financial grounds488. First the growing interest of the central government in public transport enhancements in the early 1970s made a solution for the critical problem of the Manchester system appear realistic. In 1971, a transport study for Greater Manchester was prepared which argued for the establishment of an integrated public transport system comprising coordinated local train and bus services489. The centrepiece of this system had to be a four kilometre long tunnel between the two railway termini with three underground stations in central Manchester (Odgen and Senior 1992, p. 22). This “Picc-Vic” link was to serve as a trunk route for a future electrified local railway network following the example of the emerging rapid transit systems (S-Bahn) in West Germany, and would therefore improve the accessibility of the urban core for the whole conurbation (Wainwright 2012; Astragal 2012). In light of the expected benefits of the proposal, the eligibility for central government funding within the frame of the Transport Act of 1968 was confirmed so that parliamentary powers to build the tunnel were obtained in 1972 (Leatherbarrow 1984; Wainwright 2012). Nonetheless, the infrastructure grant application was abruptly turned down in 1973 when the transport minister John Peyton announced significant reductions in public expenditure implying that “there is no room for a project as costly as Picc-Vic before 1975 at the earliest” (Wainwright 2012). With calculated costs of 56 million pounds 490, the proposed rail tunnel

487

Piccadilly train station was officially opened in 1842, and Victoria two years later. Both were built on the fringes of the city centre, where land was cheaper than within it. (Tyson 2004) 488 The first proposal, made as early as 1839, included a tunnel connection, the second, from 1866, envisaged a viaduct (Smith 1998; Odgen and Senior 1992, p.4; Joyce 1982, pp. 97-99). Further schemes were suggested in the early 20th century – for a rapid transit link in 1914, and for underground rail lines across the central area in 1928 (Joyce 1982, pp. 97-99; Pooley and Turnbull 2000). In the mid-1960s, plans were developed also for a monorail connection and a conventional rapid transit line, but all of them were rejected (Odgen and Senior 1992, p. 21). 489 See SELNEC (1971). 490 See (Leatherbarrow 1984, p. 279).

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was comparable to similar schemes in Germany during the 1970s491, but in the changed political environment in England, the investment sum turned out to be prohibitively high. After the arrival of a Conservative government committed to public spending cuts in times of an economic crisis in Britain, the plans for a “Picc-Vic” tunnel in Manchester were definitively scrapped in 1977 (Haywood 1998; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 73-75). Therefore, the persisting reverse salient could not be corrected in the framework of the existing heavy rail system, which triggered the emergence of a new technological system in Greater Manchester. 6.2.3 6.2.3.1

The evolution of Manchester Metrolink The establishment of a light rail system

The new system was conceptualised by an expert group formed jointly by the Passenger Transport Executive (PTE) and British Rail in December 1979 (Berry 1992). Based on the examples of Karlsruhe and Cologne, where the transport specialists went on study trips in the early 1980s, they proposed the building of “a cross between a tram and a train system” (E2). The engineers conceived of a street running track through central Manchester as the only affordable option to unify the separated local railway network and provide direct rail access to the city centre (Tyson 2004). Therefore, they strongly advocated the establishment of an over-ground system that could be integrated into the urban fabric and at the same time operate over existing railway alignments without extensive additional engineering cost (Berry 1992; Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, pp. 73f.). In the early 1980s, there were some local rail lines requiring increasing levels of operational subsidy and considerable expenditure for infrastructure renewals, so that their conversion to “lighter” services promised significant cost savings for the PTE. A light rail system, complementing and partly replacing the local heavy rail services, was thus considered by the expert group as the most cost-effective technology for solving the public transport problems in the conurbation (Knowles 1996; Ogden and Senior 1992, pp. 26f.). Furthermore, in line with the global discursive framework of the tramway renaissance, the development of a light rail system was expected to provide an attractive alternative to the car in order to reduce congestion, travel time, accidents and air pollution, and also to help stimulate the economic regeneration of Manchester city centre and the other major town centres492.

491

The tunnel would have cost 16 million pounds per kilometre, while German projects featured costs ranging from 7.5 to 20 million pounds per kilometre. See Scheelhase (1980, p. 205). 492 See Roberts and Fairweather (1990).

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Six radial railway corridors were chosen as being suitable for conversion to light rail. Five of them had existing local passenger services, while the sixth comprised a disused railway alignment (Knowles 1996). The selected routes and their on-street connection in Manchester city centre formed a network with altogether 100 kilometres of length, but the institutional settings in England allowed only for a slow system development. In order to receive funding from the central government, the system had to be built in phases and especially the first one had to be able to stand on its own (Ogden and Senior 1992, pp. 22, 25, 37). Therefore, a scheme for a single light rail line involving only the radial routes to Bury and Altrincham, linked by the street running section in central Manchester, was submitted to the government in 1985 for a capital grant under Section 56 of the 1968 Transport Act (Knowles 1996). As the proposed 31-km long line included the most frequented and least subsidised local rail corridors in Greater Manchester with well-located railway stations serving several residential suburbs493, it had the highest chances to receive government financial support for its realisation (Knowles 1996; Smith 1998). The appropriation of light rail technology in Greater Manchester was paralleled by the establishment of new forms of governance and regulation of public transport in England. These national institutions posed some challenges to the system and protracted its development. In particular, the decision on the application for a government grant was initially delayed by the bus deregulation which was enacted in 1986. The new piece of legislation entailed the end of integrated public transport planning and hence necessitated a resubmission of the application based on the estimated impacts of the future competition between bus and light rail services (Knowles 1996; Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992, p. 82). At the same time in 1986, the Greater Manchester County Council, which had been the main institutional driving force behind the system development, was abolished. That didn’t cause large difficulties, however, because the newly established Passenger Transport Authority reaffirmed the local support for introducing light rail (Coffey and Kuchwalek 1992, p. 82). In order to strengthen the case for the system establishment, a “Project Light Rail” was officially launched in Manchester and in its frame, a demonstration of the transport technology took place in 1987. This showcase event was attended by several thousand visitors, including senior local and national politicians, and proved an important factor to obtain the required parliamentary authority to proceed with the system development (Berry 1992). Nonetheless, a further delay occurred in 1989 when tougher capital funding guidelines were introduced by the 493

The route to Burry was electrified in 1916 and its development was a stimulus to the growth of residential suburbs to the north of Manchester (Smith 1998).

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government. They required that the forecast non-user benefits should exceed any grant given, that no revenue subsidy should be provided and that the private sector should be involved in financing the system 494 (Knowles 1996). Still, even within this environment, the light rail scheme was estimated to operate at a profit, so that a government grant of about 50 million pounds was eventually approved in October 1989 (Knowles 1996; Tyson 2004). A condition of the grant was that the light rail system must be designed, built, operated and maintained (DBOM) by a private sector consortium while the infrastructure and the rolling stock remained publicly owned by the Greater Manchester PTE (Knowles 1996, 1998; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). Therefore, during the development of the first light rail system in Britain, Manchester introduced a new business concept by involving a private operator (Tyson 2004). Moreover, the private sector also made a small contribution of 5 million pounds to the project. However, the total cost of 150 million pounds was funded mainly by borrowings of the PTE, which provided 69 million pounds, and the government grant. Additional 28 million pounds came from sources of the European Union 495. The building of the technical core started in April 1990 and included the adaptation of the power supply for light rail and the modernisation of the signalling equipment. However, the available funding allowed only for minimum upgrades to the infrastructure, so that the old railway stations and the original British Rail track were renewed little and thus did not offer much travel comfort for the future passengers (E2). Nonetheless, the full physical accessibility of the system for all passengers was a strict requirement. In order to comply with it, level-boarding from the existing high-floor platforms was to be assured and these had to be equipped with a ramp, an escalator or a lift (E2). Since the system inherited the old station platforms formerly used by heavy rail (Figure 39), low floor vehicle design was not possible and high platforms had to be installed at the new stops in the city centre (Tyson 2004). The path-dependent adoption of heavy rail standards inhibited an aesthetic integration of the system infrastructure in the urban fabric of central Manchester. The 2.5 km-long on-street section, running for the most part on an own right-of-way, caused a strong visual intrusion to the streetscape through the use of bulky platforms and massive catenary poles (Figure 40). With a focus on functionality and economic efficiency, no considerable attempts were made to use the opportunity of light rail construction for embellishing the adjacent urban environment, either. The design aspects of the system were therefore much criticised by the Royal Fine Arts Commission (E2). 494 495

See Chapter 6.1.3. See Mandri-Perrot and Menzies (2010, p. 213).

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Figure 39: A former British rail station with high platforms on the route to Bury

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Figure 40: The visual intrusion of light rail infrastructure in the city centre of Manchester

After two years of construction and engineering works, the light rail system, meanwhile given the name Metrolink, was officially opened in July 1992 (E2). It rapidly built up a stable user base and reached the forecast maximal annual ridership of 12 million trips already by mid-1994 (Senior 1999). Subsequently, the light rail service continuously surpassed the initially set ridership target in contrast to the overall decline in public transport use in Greater Manchester 496 and despite the British economic recession with high unemployment levels and lower transport demand (Knowles 1996). The use of Metrolink was especially encouraged by the direct city centre and cross-city service, which provided an improved frequency and cheaper fares compared with the replaced heavy rail lines (Knowles 1996). Not only former British Rail passengers were attracted by the new light rail service but also numerous people who had previously travelled by bus or car (Knowles 1996; Haywood 1998; Senior 1999, 2009). In the “battle of systems” with buses, Metrolink gained a significant share of the public transport trips to the city centre of Manchester and that way contributed to the 496

In 1996, e.g., the 12.7 million passengers carried by Metrolink were more than the 11 million carried on the remainder of the local heavy rail network (Haywood 1998).

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declining share of bus trips in the conurbation 497. Furthermore, it was estimated that the launch of the light rail reduced the number of car journeys by 2.6 million each year, far more than initially forecast, and helped limiting the off-peak motor vehicle traffic entering central Manchester along the Bury and Altrincham corridors (Knowles 1996, 1998; Smith 1998). Globally, the impact of the new system on road congestion was rather minimal, however, as its introduction was not accompanied by complementary measures like coordinated car restraint policies, for example498 (Senior 2009). Still, in terms of ridership and ticket revenues, the first line of Metrolink was considered highly successful by the Passenger Transport Executive, which therefore opted for the further expansion of the system (GMPTE 2003, p. 13). 6.2.3.2

The appropriation of the second line

The transport planners in Greater Manchester wanted to continue with the conversion of under-utilised suburban rail routes, but the public spending cuts following the economic recession of the early 1990s held the immediate network extension after the system establishment. The realisation of a designated eastwest route as a follow-up project had thus to be postponed for several years until in the mid-1990s, Phase 2 of the Metrolink system building could be eventually launched (E2). It was to be a line branch to the waterfront redevelopment district of Salford Quays, where a high density of offices and modern housing was emerging at the head of the Manchester Ship Canal (Figure 41). Unlike the first line, which was a solution to a transport problem and was not seen in relation to land use, the light rail extension was planned alongside the district development and was closely tied to urban regeneration (E2; Tyson 2004). Land development objectives were associated also with the prolongation of the branch to the adjacent town of Eccles (E2).

497 498

See Senior (2009). The incentives for multimodal travelling were also modest, as several park-and-right facilities, originally planned to join the existing ones at heavy rail stations, were omitted to reduce costs (Hass-Klau et al. 2004, pp. 85f.).

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Figure 41: The new urban fabric at the Salford Quays

According to the differing planning rationale of the Metrolink extension, the light rail technology was appropriated differently in material and institutional terms as compared to the first line. In particular, instead of using former heavy rail infrastructure, an entirely new route with large portions of an own right-ofway was established in a 6-km long corridor without previous rail operations. The alignment was built at the street level and meandered through the former docks area of Salford Quays in order to enhance its accessibility (E2). In the competition with comparatively cheaper buses, which used a more direct route to Salford Quays, this routing decision caused the new line to initially struggle to reach its patronage targets499, but it attracted private capital contributions in return for the improved accessibility. The land developers expected an increase of the property values in the vicinity of light rail stops and provided therefore a 499

The line to Eccles carried in 2001/2002 only about half of the expected figure of 6 million passengers per year. However, the combined ridership on the Metrolink network exceeded the forecast value for that operational year and continued doing so subsequently (Lee and Senior 2013). During the 2000s, also the new line consistently increased its passenger numbers, capturing especially former car users, and by the end of the decade, it was beginning to operate at its capacity limits in peak hours (E2; Lee and Senior 2013).

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partial funding for the system expansion. Altogether, the private sector raised nearly two-thirds of the 160 million pounds for the infrastructure development and so significantly exceeded the respective share for the first route (Tyson 2004). While the Metrolink system had to cope with high degrees of uncertainty in its establishing phase, it had meanwhile gathered a solid technological mass and a growing customer basis which implied a lower risk for a private sector involvement. Therefore, a re-tender, combining the operation and maintenance of the first line and a concession to design, build, operate and maintain the extension to Eccles500, generated 95 million pounds501 from the consortium which was appointed to deliver the project. The public sector share of the project cost amounted to 53 million pounds and came from the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) and the European Regional Development Fund, while the British government provided no funding 502. Despite the lack of government support for the development of the second light rail line in Manchester, the Prime Minister Tony Blair from the Labour Party was present at the official opening in July 2000. There, he called Metrolink a “first class public transport system” (BBC 2000) and described it as “exactly the type of scheme needed to solve the transport problems of the metropolitan areas of the country” (GMPTE 2003, p. 13). The statement of the Prime Minister mirrored the more positive stance that the central government had meanwhile taken on light rail and assigned to the Manchester system the role of a promising model for the plans of a wide light rail adoption in England. 6.2.3.3

The large-scale system expansion

The success discourse and the growing ridership figures encouraged the efforts of transport planners and local officials to expand the Metrolink system. Therefore, the key element of the transport strategy for Greater Manchester, produced in line with the Transport Act 2000, was a third phase of system building following the plans from the early 1980s. It consisted of new light rail lines along four major transport corridors in the east-northeast and south of the conurbation, mostly on existing disused railroads (TfGM 2011, p. 80; E2). The Passenger Transport Executive and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA)503 advocated a single Phase 3 scheme worth nearly 500 500

The private sector franchise contracts in Manchester are to be rebid each time a new line or extension is built. This is to provide for a single operator of the entire system that can offer integrated services and receive the revenues from them. (Tyson 2004; E2) 501 See Mandri-Perrot and Menzies (2010, p. 213). 502 See Mandri-Perrot and Menzies (2010, p. 213). 503 AGMA is a non-statutory body comprising elected members from the ten Districts in the conurbation (Allport et al. 2008).

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million pounds which comprised the realisation of four new lines in addition to a new depot and the upgrade of the available network (BBC 2000). In March 2000, the government accepted this large-scale project, rather than a line by line approach, and announced to fund half of the investment sum which would make Metrolink “the envy of Europe”, as the transport minister John Prescott put it (BBC 2000). However, owing to rising project costs, the required government contribution more than doubled within two years and reached 520 million pounds. With predictions of further cost escalations and a growing scepticism in the central government about light rail projects in general, the State withdrew its funding of the proposed Metrolink extension (TfGM 2011, p. 80; GMPTA 2006, p. 122). The government’s refusal of funding for the light rail system expansion prompted serious protests across Greater Manchester. In particular, an unprecedented alliance of local officials, residents and institutions504 started a campaign called ‘Get Metrolink Back on Track’ which aimed at the reinstatement of the agreed funding package (Knowles 2007). The large ridership and operational profitability of Metrolink were presented as main arguments justifying the further extension of the system505 and its importance for the economic regeneration and future competitiveness of Greater Manchester was underlined (Knowles 2007). Furthermore, by mid-2004, there was already sunk cost of 200 million pounds spent or committed on land acquisition, advance engineering works and project development which would be futile unless the Government decision was reversed (Knowles 2007; Tyson 2004). The system had apparently gathered a large technological and institutional mass on its development path which provided it with momentum and made it difficult to stall its expansion. In effect, a ministerial working group was set up to find a way forward, and eventually in December 2004, the Government reinstated the original funding offer (GMPTA 2006, p. 122). It was agreed that the initially proposed extensions had to be split into two stages – Phase 3a, financed mainly by the government, and Phase 3b requiring alternative funding sources (E2). As Phase 3b could not be funded by a direct government subsidy, the PTE and AGMA submitted a bid for a grant from the national Transport Innovation Fund that promised financial support for proposals intended to achieve road traffic

504

This alliance included the business community, district councils, the Passenger Transport Authority and Executive, the local media and Members of Parliament from Greater Manchester (Knowles 2007). 505 This was acknowledged also in the National Audit Office Report (NAO 2004). See for more Chapter 6.1.5.1.

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reductions through some form of road user charging506. Greater Manchester presented a plan for investing 2.8 billion pounds in Metrolink extensions and additional public transport improvements, for which the government was to provide 1.5 billion pounds from the Transport Innovation Fund 507 (E2). The capital not met by the grant would be borrowed by the local authority and later repaid using the revenues from congestion charging and the public transport schemes within the plan (Allport et al. 2008; E1). However, despite the local approval of the light rail system expansion plans, the proposal for a peak-time congestion charging was firmly rejected by the public in Greater Manchester. In a referendum held in December 2008, 79% of the voters opposed the introduction of congestion charging in the conurbation (E1; Sturcke 2008). This result demonstrated that the light rail appropriation in Manchester had not significantly changed the local mobility preferences and practices in favour of the automobile. Nonetheless, the public authorities were decided to continue the Metrolink system expansion which led to the establishment of a Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF) in 2009. This local fund had to provide altogether 1.5 billion pounds for major public transport and road projects in the conurbation (E2; TfGM 2011, p.44). The investment package was to be raised from a levy on the council tax in Greater Manchester, regional allocations from the government, Metrolink net revenues and contributions from third parties, like Manchester Airport (E2; TfGM 2011, p. 173; TfGM 2012b, p. 14). The creation of this funding institution allowed for a more locally determined decisionmaking process which prioritised the transport investments in relation to their job creation and urban development potential rather than purely functional criteria and cost considerations characterising the eligibility for government grants (E2; TfGM 2011, p. 81; APPLRG 2010). The different funding patterns for the projects in Phase 3a and Phase 3b were reflected by the edified technical cores. The main elements of expansion in Phase 3a were the conversion of a 23-km long heavy rail line running north from Manchester to the town of Rochdale via Oldham as well as the reopening of a former railway alignment to the town of Chorlton (TfGM 2012a). Both stretches were funded by a government subsidy in the frame of the budget reinstated in December 2004 and like the first line between Burry and Altrincham, they had the character of suburban transport services without aiming at improvements to the urban realm. In Phase 3b, these 506

The Transport Innovation Fund was announced in the White Paper from 2004 as a new and additional budget available also to local authorities for financing projects aimed at tackling congestion through demand management. By the end of 2007, when the government moved away from plans to introduce national road user charging, Greater Manchester was the only authority to have worked up and submitted a bid for a grant. See Allport et al. (2008) 507 See also Randall (2008a, 2008b).

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lines were prolonged into the town centres of Oldham and Rochdale and in addition, new alignments with an own right-of-way were built to Ashton–under– Lyne and Manchester Airport (TfGM 2011, pp. 82f.). By the use of new street running sections, Phase 3b had to provide for a better light rail penetration of the conurbation and that way improve the connectivity of the local labour market (Figure 42). Furthermore, the regeneration of town centres and communities along the light rail routes was another main objective behind the expansion elements (E2; TfGM 2011, p. 80). Therefore, a more convoluting routing and a better integration into the streetscape, including the use of grass tracks, marked the latest line extensions and enriched the otherwise functionalistic, cost-oriented system style.

Figure 42: On-street routing of the light rail line to Ashton-under-Lyne

6.2.3.4

The consolidation of the system

The third phase of the Metrolink system building was completed in stages between 2009 and 2014 (E2). The massive expansion included the commissioning of 55 kilometres of track and the quadrupling of the rolling stock

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size508, so that the system was quickly confronted with a reverse salient similar to the cases in Karlsruhe and Strasbourg. In particular, the system growth entailed a significant increase in the number of light rail vehicles passing through central Manchester where the limits of the practical capacity of the existing street section were reached and the vulnerability to disruptions rose 509. Therefore, additional system capacity was required to accommodate the new services and increase the operational flexibility and reliability of all Metrolink lines. For the local planners, the most cost effective solution for these goals was the construction of a second light rail route across the city centre of Manchester in combination with signalling control modifications (E2). Accordingly, a Second City Crossing, also known as 2CC, was included in the key infrastructure measures which were to be financially supported by the Greater Manchester Transport Fund. The project was granted approval in October 2013 and the construction works for a route of approximately 1.3 kilometres and two new stops started in the following year. In the style of the English light rail system development, the aspects of operational functionality and cost efficiency dominated the design and materialisation of the Second City Crossing510, but its realisation provided also the chance for the reallocation of public space in favour of the soft mobility modes. In particular, the construction of the light rail alignment was planned to entail a reduction in the general vehicular traffic along the new route and the complete removal of traffic on some sections and adjacent areas. Therefore, the circulating concept of incorporating public space rearrangements in the process of system building was taken up in the frame of the 2CC project, but the extent of its materialisation was rather modest as compared to the practices in France and Germany. With the realisation of the Second City Crossing, the Metrolink system entered into a phase of consolidation. Accordingly, only one line extension, adding 5.5 kilometres of track to the network511, will be built in the near future while proposals for a further system expansion will not be considered for implementation in the short term (E2). At long sight, the local transport authority 508

The number of light rail vehicles grew from 32 in 2008 to 120 in 2016 (E2). The practical capacity of the city centre section lies at around 25 light rail vehicles per hour and is lower than that of segregated parts because of the interaction with signals, other traffic and pedestrians. With the Phase 3 extensions, Metrolink operated above the design capacity during certain peak periods and the growing light rail transport load was expected to exceed the practical capacity of the available city centre crossing in the future (E2). See also TfGM (2012a, p. 43). 510 See for a detailed description and a transport assessment of the scheme TfGM (2012a). 511 A line to Trafford Park will open in 2020. It will provide a link to the largest concentration of work places in the conurbation outside central Manchester and therefore will be funded within the framework of an earn-back package introduced as part of the devolution deal for Greater Manchester (E2). 509

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is developing plans for extending Metrolink using tram-train technology over existing heavy rail routes, which have sufficient passenger potential but cannot be converted to exclusive light rail services (E2). A line to Marple has the most economic viability and is supposed to be the next major Metrolink scheme, but the schedule and funding conditions have not been set so far and will be also subject to a review of the lessons from a tram-train pilot project in Sheffield 512 (E2). Even though the technical core of the light rail system will not expand largely in the near future, the mass of the system is expected to grow significantly in terms of ridership. Two decades after its launch, Metrolink carried more than 31 million passengers, thus almost quadrupling its initial patronage, and the passenger numbers are forecast to continue increasing in the short and medium term (E2). In light of the growing popularity of the light rail system, it was labelled by the local transport planning authority as “an icon of Greater Manchester”513. This implies that Metrolink is considered by the system builders not only as a tool for improving the transport connectivity but also for creating an attractive image of the agglomeration and enhancing civic pride. 6.2.4

Summary

The evolution of the Manchester Metrolink system is an en extreme case of the English tramway renaissance which has demonstrated the importance of making the technology “suit the place” and at the same time relying on a strong local ownership. With respect to its materiality, Metrolink is a typical English light rail system combining commuter railroad with local distribution in the city and town centres. While the first line was conceived as a pure transport project and was therefore based on the conversion of former suburban heavy rail sections, the subsequently built alignments were planned in relation to urban regeneration and land use and featured larger street running portions. The more locally determined decision making was a decisive factor for the realisation of an infrastructure layout which differed from the cost-oriented design entailed by the government funding mechanism and could be more easily aligned with the urban development. With the adaptive technology appropriation, the light rail system of Greater Manchester has significantly expanded since its establishment in the early 1990s, unlike the few other modern systems in England. In the unfavourable national public transport policy context, the Metrolink system growth has been 512 513

See Chapter 6.3.4.3 about the pilot project in Sheffield. See TfGM (2012b, p. 23).

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

exceptional and was largely made possible by the unusually strong local ownership. This ownership resulted from the high transport functionality, mirrored by the continuous ridership gains and the commercial profitability, as well as the wider urban and economic effects of the system. Nonetheless, despite the popularity of the light rail system, it has not been able to mitigate the automobile dominance in Manchester, as the referendum results showed. This aspect suggests Metrolink as a critical case highlighting the inability of an otherwise successful system to fundamentally change the urban mobility patterns. 6.3 6.3.1

The Sheffield Supertram system City profile

Sheffield, the fourth largest city in England with a population of more than 560,000 people (ONS 2015), is located at the southern end of the Yorkshire and Humber region in central England, about 250 kilometres in the north of London. The city had been known for its strong industrial tradition but with the national recession of the late 1970s and the collapse of the regional steel and coal industries, it experienced a dramatic decline (Dabinett et al. 1999; Hill 1995; Townroe 1995). The decline lasted until the late 1990s and necessitated a major change in the local economic base in favour of the service and light manufacturing sectors (Dabinett et al. 1999; Smith 1998). Nonetheless, Sheffield retained a significant and competitive productive sector, which together with the growing commercial sector and the two major universities has contributed to a period of strong economic revival since the 2000s. The city combined the renewal and expansion of the commercial centre with the massive redevelopment of its historical manufacturing quarter in the eastern parts and that way strengthened its role as the core of the loosely-knit conurbation of South Yorkshire514 (SYPTE 2011; E3). Despite its importance as a regional economic centre, Sheffield has been a relatively self-contained city and the labour market relationships with neighbouring towns have been less strong than in other conurbations (NWWF 2009). Accordingly, travel to work has been traditionally concentrated within the city boundaries, which fostered the development of a significant public transport network comprising a tramway and a large number of heavily patronised bus services (Townroe 1995; E3).

514

Besides Sheffield, the South Yorkshire conurbation comprises also the cities or metropolitan boroughs of Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham, and has nearly 1.4 million inhabitants (E3).

The Sheffield Supertram system

6.3.2

279

The old tramway

An extensive network of tramways existed in Sheffield until the early 1960s. The first horse-drawn tramline opened in 1873 and subsequently expanded from the city centre to several residential areas. In the late nineteenth century, the Sheffield City Council took over the privately owned system and gradually electrified all of its routes. In the event, the urban network kept growing and after 1905 reached out of the city to connect also the neighbouring town of Rotherham. Sheffield’s topography favoured the tramway system expansion, as the electric trams were the right transport mode to overcome the steep gradients between the valley, where the city centre and the heavy industry were located, and the majority of suburbs and residential districts on the surrounding hills. The early motor buses could not navigate the gradients and thus served as a shuttle between some tram termini and the outlying towns, while the heavy railways were only able to operate in the valley so that no proper local railway network emerged. Therefore, in the first decades of the twentieth century, the tramway system was clearly the most important public transport service in Sheffield. The tram services were considered to be regular and reliable and were generally popular with the residents in the city. (Fox et al. 1995, pp. 3-7; Smith 1998) The tram system was continuously growing until the 1930s, when the first sections were closed in order to save on the otherwise required renewal cost. Still, the tram services remained highly patronised and carried an additional passenger load during the Second World War when the motor traffic had to be reduced due to the general shortages and road damage. In 1945, 450 doubledecker tramcars served more than 80 kilometres of routes, and the next year 35 new vehicles were ordered to augment and upgrade the fleet (Twidale 1995, p. 9; Smith 1998). However, already in 1948, the major tramline between Sheffield and Rotherham was closed, and three years later, the city council took the decision to substitute the whole tram network by motorbuses. As with all British cities, the tramway had fallen out of favour because of its impact on the motor traffic flow and its higher cost compared to modern buses. Even though the decision to scrap the tram system was not unanimous and provoked strong public protests, it was consistently implemented during the 1950s. The last tram in Sheffield ran in October 1960 and marked the closure of all major systems in England. (Fox et al. 1995, pp. 8-15; Smith 1998) 6.3.3 6.3.3.1

The establishment of a modern tramway system The long path to the tramway revival

With the demise of the tramways, more road space became available for private cars and buses, but at the same time, there were only limited investments on the

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

principal road network of Sheffield (Townroe 1995). In fact, the car ownership levels in the city were amongst the lowest in urban Britain, there were relatively few long distance commuters and no major inter-urban axes crossed the city area, so that transport investments were no political priority in Sheffield (Townroe 1995). However, in the 1970s, a growth in the local car usage became evident, especially in rush hours, and an increased demand for commuting into the city centre was predicted. As a response to this development, proposals were made for several urban road enhancement schemes which had to be complemented by the establishment of a tram or a light rail system (Fox et al. 1995, p. 21; Townroe 1995). Already in the 1960s, the then manager of the city transport department had publicly regretted the abolishment of the tram and had called for the introduction of a modem tramway system. This suggestion was reasserted in the joint land-use transportation study for Sheffield and Rotherham which was carried out between 1972 and 1976515 (Hill 1995). The authors presented a transport strategy based on segregated suburban tram lines, but this option was rejected at the time on the grounds of the necessary capital expenditure and in the light of a local policy of low bus fares. In the late 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, the bus services in South Yorkshire were receiving an above-average rate of revenue subsidy from the local taxes so that the fares had remained at the same level for more than a decade 516 (Smith 1998; Beatty and Haywood 1997; Hill 1995). Owing to this policy, the bus ridership had been consistently high in contrast to the declining usage of buses nationally (Hall and Hass-Klau 1985, p. 79; Hill 1995). In this context, the consultants recommended in 1976 to enhance the capacity and quality of the bus services, and in addition, to safeguard possible routes allowing for the construction of a segregated public transport system like a modern tramway or an alternative new technology (Fox et al. 1995, p. 21; Hill 1995). The experts’ proposal from the land-use transportation study was institutionalised two years later, when the newly established South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE)517 drew up the local Transport Development Plan. Given the overall rise in transport demand, the authority expected the public transport use in central Sheffield to soon reach a level at 515

See MVA (1976). This was a deliberate policy by the local authorities in South Yorkshire, dominated for decades by the Labour Party. They wanted to favour particularly the urban poor, who were perceived to be the bus-travelling public, while the local rail network serving the wealthy suburbs did not receive a similar subsidy (Hill 1995). 517 Founded in 1974, SYPTE was responsible for the provision of local public transport services in the boroughs of Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster and co-ordinated them with the train services by British Rail. SYPTE was controlled by a Passenger Transport Authority (SYPTA) comprising members from each of the four borough councils. (Fox et al. 1995, p. 21) 516

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which the substitution of articulated buses along the most congested and patronised corridors would be economically reasonable (SYPTE 1978, p. 49). Therefore, SYPTE included the realisation of a light rapid transit system with electric traction in its midterm strategy. The set of possible options comprised besides classical technologies also futuristic automated systems, the concept for which had circulated in professional debates since the 1960s. One particular automated system called Minitram was locally scrutinised in the 1970s as Sheffield was suggested by the government as the site of a demonstration project for this technology (Robert Matthew et al. 1974). Minitram featured a fully segregated, elevated alignment served by driverless electronic vehicles for 12 to 30 passengers and promised lower overall cost as compared to a conventional rapid rail system. The futuristic technology was considered particularly suited to the linear form of Sheffield’s shopping area and thus became the subject of a study for its implementation. However, the proposal met with a strong public opposition due to the visual intrusion and the space separation imposed by the infrastructure and caused protests by the trade unions which feared destaffing because of the automation (Townroe 1995; Hill 1995; Fox et al. 1995, p. 21). The local rejection of the technology in combination with its immaturity and the large public expenditure required for the realisation led eventually to the abolishment of the Minitram project and necessitated the consideration of other transportation options. In the early 1980s, an expert group appointed by SYPTE focused on the feasibility of building a light rapid transit system based on an internationally established technology like the articulated trolleybus, the tramway or a segregated metro. Following an economic comparison of the three options, the experts recommended a modern tram system as the most cost effective solution offering a sufficient transport capacity (Fox et al. 1995, p. 21). The professional recommendation was accepted by the decision-makers in Sheffield in 1983 and the city soon engaged in the looming tramway renaissance. Local planners and politicians entered into dialogues with different foreign partners about the development of their modern tramways and paid special attention at the emerging system of Grenoble (Hill 1995). The French approach of a sensitive integration of the transport technology in the city centre was considered by the professionals from Sheffield as a promising model for the local system building. However, their idea to appropriate the example by introducing a street-level route along the major shopping axis was rejected by the Sheffield City Council, which deemed a tramline as not compatible with the recently pedestrianised precinct. At the same time, the German approach of building an underground section in the central part of the city was ruled out on the grounds of fears for personal safety and difficulties for the physical accessibility (Fox et al. 1995, p.

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

22). Therefore, the tramway had to be routed on-ground on the periphery of the pedestrianised area without penetrating the shopping and business centre of Sheffield. Outside the city centre, the envisaged tram route caused no political objections. It followed the corridors with the largest bus ridership, which typically linked the municipal housing areas to the south-east of the city, where car ownership levels were low, and the high density housing areas to the northwest. These same areas also posed difficulties to the bus operations because of steep road gradients and could be better served by a tram. Based on this rationale, a street running tramline across the city was conceived and underwent a preliminary financial appraisal between 1984 and 1985 (Fox et al. 1995, p. 22; Hill 1995). In the event, a public consultation about the proposed alignment took place in the city in order to concretise the merits of the new technical system and facilitate its acceptance. Popularising the tram, transport officials in Sheffield used a video film and pop music, while press photographs showed a preview of the new system which was to be designed after the continental model and “would be unique to the UK”, as the newspaper “The Times” put it (Schmucki 2010). Like in other places, the local tramway project was apparently used to secure a modern image for the city and was presented as a symbol of its progressiveness. The general public opinion was found to be positive, with the old trams being fondly remembered518, and that promised to favour the appropriation of the new technology. 6.3.3.2

The institutional dimension of system building

The establishment of the tramway in Sheffield was paralleled by several changes to the relevant institutions which protracted the realisation of the system. To secure the necessary funding, SYPTE had to demonstrate the eligibility of the tram scheme for a capital grant from the central government under Section 56 of the 1968 Transport Act (Townroe 1995; Dabinett and Lawless 1994). The tramway had been conceived as part of an integrated public transport network with coordinated services and through ticketing, so that the bus deregulation in 1986 necessitated a reappraisal of its economic efficiency. The new legislation did not fundamentally reverse the benefit-cost ratio for the proposed transport system despite the entailed modal competition, but it delayed the grant aid approval which was not given until 1988 (Fox et al. 1995, p. 22). In addition to the impacts of the Transport Act from 1985, the system establishment was postponed also by a change to the originally proposed layout. With the demise of the South Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council in 1986, Sheffield City Council became the crucial local authority with which SYPTE had 518

See Fox et al. (1995, p. 22).

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to cooperate in the frame of the tram promotion (Beatty and Haywood 1997). This institutional rearrangement entailed an extension of the planned infrasystem as the City Council insisted on the routing of the tramway through the Lower Don Valley. The building of an additional tramline was seen as a support to the authority efforts towards economic regeneration of the former industrial core of Sheffield which was marked by unemployment and dereliction after the collapse of the steel industry. The second line had to connect with the originally proposed route to form a network and be capable of a subsequent extension to nearby Rotherham, so that it had the political support also from Rotherham Borough Council. The line was further considered as a key transport link between the venues of the 1991 World Student Games, which were to be built in the city centre of Sheffield and in the Lower Don Valley. Therefore, the construction of the tram system needed to be re-phased with the second line opened first in order to serve the Games. However, by the time a Special Act of Parliament allowing for the building and operation of Line 2 was passed and financial approval was given by the government in late 1990, it was too late to launch the tram operations on time for the start of the sports event. It was mainly the large spending for the national road building programme which caused the central government to delay its grant approval for the tramway system of Sheffield that was the largest local transport investment outside London for nearly 20 years. (Fox et al. 1995, pp. 22-23; Hill 1995; Townroe 1995) The award of the government grant aid occurred under Section 56 of the 1968 Transport Act and in the frame of the new appraisal guidelines introduced in 1989 which required the demonstration of benefits over and above the fare revenues (Hill 1995; Townroe 1995). The new guidelines proved beneficial in evaluating the proposed system, because from its initial conception, it was viewed as having the potential to offer significant non-user advantages (Hill 1995; Lawless and Gore 1999). In particular, the road users were expected to largely benefit from the reduction in congestion levels following the transfer of car drivers and bus riders to the new tram service. In addition, in line with the circulating concepts on the wider benefits of transport investments, the system was envisaged, especially by the City Council, to provide a stimulus to the economic regeneration of Sheffield (Dabinett and Lawless 1994). It was assumed that the tramway would create new flexibility in the local labour market through the improvement of the city-wide accessibility, enhance land and property values, mostly in the vicinity of stops in the Lower Don Valley, and help to attract additional industrial and commercial investment to the city (Lawless and Gore 1999; Hill 1995). Finally, the scheme was argued to bring about positive environmental impacts including noise and air pollution reduction, as well as visual improvements in the city centre streets, where the introduction of the

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

tramway would combine with a redirection of several bus lines and so lower the barrier effect of double-decker bus traffic (Townroe and Dabinett 1995). The monetised value of all these non-user benefits519 was calculated to be sufficiently high to justify the provision of a capital grant from the national government. The grant covered half of the total cost for the tram system, which amounted to 240 million pounds. In addition, the Sheffield Development Corporation – a central government body founded in 1987 to bring about economic regeneration in the Lower Don Valley – contributed to the investment, following an evaluation which suggested that up to 2000 new jobs would be created along a 400 metre corridor of Line 2 on industrial and commercial land held by the Corporation (Townroe and Dabinett 1995; Townroe 1995). At the same time, the involvement of private capital was small, with 5 million pounds provided from the developers of a new regional shopping centre at Meadowhall, which had already been built as part of the regeneration strategy for the area and was to receive a public transport link to the city centre (Hill 1995). The remaining investment sum was secured by credits taken by the local authorities financing SYPTE, but the service of the loan finance was largely supported by the central government which therefore effectively covered about 90% of the total investment (Hodgson 2011; Hill 1995). Two special acts of parliament and the government grant approval from 1990 gave the Passenger Transport Executive the powers and funds to start the construction of the system in 1991 (Townroe 1995). The work proceeded in stages with priority given to the completion of the route through the Lower Don Valley, which was fully segregated over its 7 km length between the city centre and Meadowhall (Fox et al. 1995, p. 22). Use was made of a former heavy railway alignment in a corridor of low residential density so that the construction was largely unobstructed (Fox et al. 1995, p. 22). In contrast, the development of the other, largely street-running, sections met with considerable local opposition due to the disruptions associated with the closure of streets, where the utilities had to be relocated away from the track. Even though any major demolition of property was avoided and the works were carried out in accordance with budget and timetable targets, the disturbance of city life during the construction phase made the general public unsympathetic towards the new transport system even before its inauguration (Smith 1998; Hill 1995; E3). In a path-dependent manner, this handicap persisted over the following years and to some extent inhibited the plans to expand the tramway system (E3).

519

See Mackett and Edwards (1998) for a quantification of the non-user benefits.

The Sheffield Supertram system

6.3.3.3

285

The material dimension of system building

The system was opened in stages in 1994 and 1995, with the route to the regional shopping centre at Meadowhall launched first. Upon completion, it comprised 29 kilometres of track linking 48 stops on three arms stretching north-west, northeast and south-east of the city centre of Sheffield (Smith 1998). Unlike the northeastern arm though the Lower Don Valley, which is serving mostly retail, leisure and sport sites, the other two run predominantly through urban housing areas, with the longer one leading eventually to an outer suburb located about 10 kilometres in the south-east of the city. The tramlines have an own right-of-way for nearly half of their length and run on-street on the other sections, entirely so across the city centre (Dabinett et al. 1999). The tramway was the first modern British system to operate in mixed traffic, but still having a through path thanks to signal priority at junctions (Fox et al. 1995, p. 25; E3). Therefore, the technological style in Sheffield featured a combination of elements characteristic for continental Europe, on the one hand, and for the new English light rail projects on the other. Figure 43 shows examples of the different rights-of-way of Sheffield Supertram.

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

Figure 43: The Sheffield tram running on a reserved track (above) and on-street in mixed traffic (below)

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The tram system of Sheffield was conceived to be accessible for all users, so that a choice was made to use partially low-floor vehicles and low stop platforms designed for level entry (Figure 44). The modest height of the platforms allowed also for an easy and less obtrusive integration into the urban streetscape (Fox et al. 1995, p. 25). The overhead conductor system was likewise designed to minimise visual intrusion, particularly following comments about the Manchester installation (Ware and Jones 1992). Therefore, over 90% of the supports for the overhead wires were anchored onto buildings to minimise the number of traction poles in the city centre streets. Furthermore, the construction of the tramway provided also the opportunity for a partial rearrangement and upgrading of the streetscape in areas which it passed through. In the city centre, a zone was established for pedestrians and trams only, with buses and service vehicles being restricted to certain parts of the street. The pavement in the central area was upgraded to add some colour and life to the public space, while the track was enhanced by the use of colour imprinted concrete to replicate the cobbled streets of the old tramway (Supertram n.d.). As the budget allowed by the government for landscaping measures complementing the engineering works was limited to 2.5 million pounds, the City Council together with the local business community provided some extra funding to expand the streetscape enhancement by redesigning Castle Square and Cathedral Square, both adjacent to central tram stops. The modern rolling stock was also chosen to support the environmental improvement efforts and fit into the dense urban area, where it had to operate quietly and smoothly on-street and navigate the large gradients on the routes (Smith 1998; Townroe 1995; Ware and Jones 1992). A fleet of double-articulated vehicles with motored axes was designed and built by Siemens-Duewag in Düsseldorf in line with these requirements. According to Smith (1998), the “striking appearance of these fine cars” justified the name Supertram, which was given to the new system in Sheffield to distinguish it from the first-generation trams. Unlike in Manchester, there were apparently efforts to appropriate the technological system as an integral part of the urban environment, but the restrictive institutional framework allowed only for a piecemeal realisation of the comprehensive continental approach studied by the system builders beforehand.

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

Figure 44: The tram stop infrastructure of Sheffield Supertram

The Sheffield Supertram system

6.3.4 6.3.4.1

289

The evolution of Sheffield Supertram Unfavourable first years

With the start of the tramway services, the operations and maintenance of the system were awarded to a wholly owned subsidiary of SYPTE with a view to privatising the operations after 7 years when a trading record had been established (Hill 1995). However, Supertram was operated by the Passenger Transport Executive for only three years, during which the development of ridership was far below the expectations520 and the revenues fell significantly short of the running cost (Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). Since the tramway was a new transport system without previously established customers, it was adversely affected by the bus deregulation, which had brought about many competitors for the popular routes (Smith 1998; Beatty and Haywood 1997). Even though the public transport usage in Sheffield declined markedly after 1986, largely in response to the rising fares following the privatisation, the bus traffic had increased and the bus service frequencies on various routes were higher than expected (Smith 1998; Townroe 1995; Hill 1995). As large portions of the tramlines were embedded in the street space, Supertram was not much faster than the competing buses which in some cases even had a more direct routing and offered faster connections to the centre. In addition, the tramcars could initially not make full use of their signal priority so that delays and uncertainty for the customers resulted (Smith 1998). The tram served also fewer stops than buses did521, and some of them were less conveniently located like at the train station, where the tramline and its stop are embedded at the backside of the transport hub and are not directly linked to the central bus interchange facility (Figure 45). As a consequence, the new system featured a lower accessibility than the competitors. Despite such disadvantages, the Supertram fares were set higher than those for bus to reflect a higher riding comfort, and in a city with generally low income levels, the surcharge apparently deterred potential tram users (Vigrass and Smith 2005).

520

The actual ridership in the first year of full operation was just over 5 million passengers instead of the originally expected 12 million, and soon it became clear that the forecast figure of up to 22 million riders per annum after 5 years had to be reduced (Lee and Senior 2013; NAO 2004, p. 21). 521 According to Hill (1995), the distance between tram stops was larger than originally anticipated because in competition with the privatised buses, the main function of the tram was assumed to be in provision of a speedy, limited stop service.

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

Figure 45: The Supertram stop at the backside of the railway station in Sheffield

Furthermore, the size of the potential customer basis of Supertram was negatively impacted by the lack of co-ordination between urban policies and the planning and building of the tram system. In the frame of urban renewal, the city council demolished several high-rise blocks of flats located in the tramway’s catchment area, which were expected to provide substantial ridership in the light of low car ownership rates of their residents. At the same time, the council decided not to go ahead with plans to establish two large areas of social housing adjacent to the tram network; and the low-density residential development along the southern part of the system was not integrated within the public transport project. Also the land redevelopment alongside the route to Meadowhall featured a lower density and a more car-oriented form than had been previously envisaged (Lee and Senior 2013). These land use changes considerably lowered the number of potential tram passengers (Lee and Senior 2013; Vigrass and Smith 2005; Smith 1998). In effect, the ridership did not evolve as predicted and Supertram could not restore its negative local image following the disruptions during the construction period.

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The unfavourable initial period of Supertram services put a heavy financial strain on SYPTE, which was running the system, so that the operating franchise had to be privatised earlier than initially planned 522. Accordingly, in 1997, the Stagecoach Holding gained the concession to operate and maintain Supertram for a period of twenty-seven years and leased the infrastructure assets, which remained public property belonging to SYPTE (E3; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). The sale proceeds from the operating concession were to be used to pay off the local debt incurred to fund the capital cost, but due to the low passenger figures, it only raised 1 million instead of the originally anticipated 80 million pounds. Therefore, the government had to take over the resulting debt service costs and practically financed the whole investment in building the system (NAO 2004, p. 18; Knowles 2007). 6.3.4.2

Incremental improvements

Following the privatisation of Supertram, the new operator introduced a number of measures which improved the convenience and competitiveness of the system. The ticket vending machines, which had been subject to vandalism, were replaced by conductors with the result of a higher fare collection rate and an increased safety perception on board. The conductors also minded the doors which allowed for faster alighting and boarding so that the scheduled speed could be slightly increased (Vigrass and Smith 2005; Smith 1998). The efforts to give higher priority at junctions by optimising the computer-controlled signals also shortened the running times and significantly improved the service reliability already during the first operational years (E3; Denant-Boèmont and Mills 1999). Furthermore, several reduced-fare initiatives were enacted and in the course of time, emphasis was put on the integration between tram and those bus services in Sheffield, which were purchased by Stagecoach in 2005 (E3). In addition to through ticketing allowing bus passengers to ride on the tram using the same ticket, bus feeder lines were established. They connected directly with the tram services at strategic stops and that way expanded the catchment area of the Supertram system (E3; SYPTE 2013a). The system accessibility was improved also by SYPTE which, over the years, installed new park-and-ride sites across the network523 (E3). All these incremental enhancements contributed to a consistent growth of the passenger loading. From less than 8 million passenger journeys in 1996/97, the ridership grew to nearly 11 million by 2000 and reached 522

523

In the first 9 months of 1996, Supertram had an operational loss of 4 million pounds (Hylen and Pharoah 2002, p. 37). Initially, the restrictions on local government spending had allowed for the realisation of only two out of the 13 originally planned park-and-ride sites (Dabinett et al. 1999; Townroe 1995). In the 2000s, four more sites were added (E3).

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The uneven path of tramway development in England

15 million in 2011/12524 (DfT 2015, Table LRT0101). The ridership gains significantly added to the mass of the system and stabilised it as a part of the city environment525. 6.3.4.3

Growth of the system

Despite the increasing passenger load after the privatisation of the operations, the Supertram system could not gather a sufficient momentum allowing for the expansion of the network. However, extensions were considered necessary to create a viable public transport system as an alternative to the private car and for the sustained growth and regeneration of Sheffield and South Yorkshire (Hill 1995; Townroe 1995). Originally, the study from 1976 envisaged altogether seven radial routes (Fox et al. 1995, p. 21), so that plans for additional lines and extensions were developed already before the system establishment in the mid1990s (Townroe 1995). The two built lines covered areas where not more than 20 per cent of the city population live meaning that large parts of Sheffield, including the generally more prosperous southwest sector, were not served by the tram (Lovelace et al. 2011; Smith 1998). Furthermore, major trip generators and attractors like the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the university student housing area had no tram service, either (Smith 1998). Therefore, after the difficulties of the first operational years of Supertram had been overcome and detailed studies confirmed the feasibility of a system expansion, a scheme for a line extension to Rotherham and a short branch to Sheffield University and the Hospital was presented in a funding application to the central government in 2004. The calculated benefits of the scheme doubled the projected cost of 94 million pound and thus formally implied the eligibility of the infrastructure proposals for national funding (SCC 2004, p. 7). However, the scheme failed to receive financial support in the light of the growing scepticism of the central government toward light rail at the time (E3). Instead, SYPTE was instructed by the Department for Transport to investigate bus-based alternatives to the tram extensions, which reinforced the stagnation of the system. Despite the lack of an internal momentum, the Supertram system received the opportunity to expand thanks to the aspirations of the central government to introduce a tram-train pilot project in South Yorkshire. The globally circulating tram-train concept had attracted a growing attention in England since the mid2000s and several groups of politicians and transport professionals, including parties from different PTAs and operators, conducted study tours in Germany 524

In 2014/15, Supertram carried 11.5 million passengers, as engineering works as part of a 5 year rail replacement project meant that trams were replaced by buses in certain areas of the network (E3). 525 See Vincent (2014).

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and particularly to Karlsruhe. The expert surveys of the German systems strengthen the official interest in tram-trains and in 2008, the government announced plans for a British trial of the technology. Under the advisory of engineers and consultants from Karlsruhe, a transfer of the technology was to be carried out on a trial basis in order to test the viability and practicalities of tramtrains in England (APPGLR 2009; TTK 2008). In particular, a through-running service between the city centre of Sheffield and the neighbouring city of Rotherham had to generate lessons about the technical, economic and environmental aspects of the concept, as applied in England, that way helping to determine its potential implementation in other parts of the country (E3; DfT 2011c, pp. 47f.). The tram-train trial was planned to last for a period of two years until 2019 but with a view to subsequent permanent operations (E3). Therefore, the appropriation of the innovative technology in England featured much higher cautiousness and risk-aversion than was the case in Germany and France. In line with this approach, the tram-train pilot project was designed with low cost in mind and included the utilisation of the relatively short freight railroad section between Rotherham and Meadowhall as its main infrastructure element. The total sum committed to the project amounted to approximately 60 million pounds, out of which more than 80 per cent granted by the central government, and this relatively moderate investment covered the capital expenses for all necessary infrastructural works as well as the procurement of seven low-floor dual voltage vehicles (DfT 2012; E3). The new vehicles were purchased at the back of a large rolling stock order from Karlsruhe 526, which allowed for tapping the global pool of technology and simultaneously achieving economies of scale. With the appropriation of tram-trains, the stagnating Supertram system received thus the chance to become part of a global network of innovation adopters and that way modernise its image. At the same time, it could also slightly expand and increase the available peak-time system capacity, the limits of which had been reached in the late 2000s527. However, the pilot project initiated by the central government will remain the only near-term extension to the Supertram system after the initial investment completed in 1995. Therefore, it can be assumed that the tramway system has reached for the present its limits of growth528 and will need to consolidate in the near future.

526 527 528

See APPLRG (2010, p. 19). See SYPTE (2009, p. 17). The future development of a high-speed rail station at Meadowhall reactivated plans for a tram route to the southwest of Sheffield in order to improve the city-wide public transport connection to long-distance trains, but the realisation of these plans is not expected before 2033 (E3).

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6.3.5

The uneven path of tramway development in England

A broader perspective on Sheffield Supertram

During the two decades of Supertram operations, the discourse around the system changed fundamentally. In the first years, it was seen as a failure, especially in comparison to the competing bus services, and in 2001, the professional Transit magazine argued that Supertram’s “principal benefit is in showing other people how not to develop light rail systems in the UK” 529. However, after struggling to build up a ridership basis in the initial phase, the tramway has been operating at full capacity in peak-times for years and has enjoyed an overall popularity in Sheffield 530. Furthermore, along the routes served by the tram, car passenger shares of commuting to the city centre have declined more than in the other corridors in the urban area (Lee and Senior 2013). Therefore, it is regarded by local professionals and the wider public as a “transport success story” (Mourant 2011; Vincent 2014; SYPTE 2011, p. 25) and an integral part of the city (Vincent 2014). Already in the late 1990s, Supertram was identified as modern and efficient and began to figure as a more positive element in the city’s image thereby slightly improving the external perceptions of Sheffield (Lawless and Gore 1999). The Supertram system has been also presented as a key feature in the regeneration of Sheffield and figures in many site brochures as an asset enhancing the accessibility which is supposed to attract investors to the area 531. However, the extensive research work done by Sheffield Hallam University during the 1990s suggested that the overall spatial and economic effects of the tramway, which were an important factor in securing government aid, were rather limited. Despite the location of some business premises close to the Supertram routes, there was no evidence that the tram had impacted positively on land prices, and the effects on development and regeneration were negligible. Road investment, which was carried out at a large scale in South Yorkshire in parallel to the Supertram construction, was a much more significant factor in explaining the spatial patterns of new development (Lawless and Gore 1999; Dabinett et al. 1999; Haywood 1999). In general, however, the regeneration benefits from the provision of transport infrastructure in Sheffield were very small because of the lack of co-ordination and integration between spatial and transport planning in England (Lawless and Gore 1999; Dabinett et al. 1999). The early research on the wider effects of the tramway system in Sheffield remained the only one in England and has not been updated after the 1990s. Despite the weak evidence of positive wider impacts being induced by the tram 529

See Transit magazine (8th June 2001, page 10). See SYPTE (2009, p. 11). 531 See Supertram (n.d.), SYPTE (2009) and E3. 530

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system in South Yorkshire, it is to be considered that such impacts might take many years to become apparent532 (NAO 2004, p. 5). The local authorities in Sheffield have thus maintained that transport infrastructure facilities help to create confidence in the private sector considering development and investment and point at many redevelopment sites proposed near existing Supertram lines that would generate employment and commerce (E3; SYPTE 2009). 6.3.6

Summary

The development of Sheffield Supertram is a critical case of the tramway renaissance which showed that the evolution of a system can take a positive pathway irrespective of the drawbacks and disappointments of the early phases. Supertram was seen for years as a failed system and that way gave reasons for the scepticism about light rail in Britain, but in the course of time, its image changed and it was able to expand. Introduced in the mid-nineties in a narrow “window of opportunity” after two decades of planning, the system was one of the few beneficiaries of the changes in the English public transport policy of the 1980s and attracted exceptionally extensive public funding. Supertram became Britain’s first modern tramway, featuring large portions of street running, which is rather untypical for the new light rail systems on the island. The suitability of this material layout for the English policy environment was viewed critically at the beginning, as the tram was struggling to build up a ridership basis in competition with privatised buses and cars. The lack of coordination between land use and transport planning additionally impeded the commercial success of the system and its overall performance. Still, several incremental improvements over the years allowed for overcoming the initial operational and commercial difficulties, so that the system gained mass and was stabilised. Furthermore, the material layout of Supertram offered the right conditions to pioneer the tram-train technology in England and that way expand the existing system. In effect, the case of Supertram has proven that despite the negative omen during the establishment stage, a system can make up leeway and evolve.

532

See also Chapter 3.2.1.

7

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

This chapter provides a cross-case analysis of the empirical studies presented in the thesis (Chapter 7.1, Chapter 7.2 and Chapter 7.3). Drawing on the contextspecific knowledge obtained from the particular cases, it derives some general lessons considering the evolution of tramway and light rail systems and points out a number of policy implications of the research findings (Chapter 7.4 and Chapter 7.5). Finally, the chapter reflects on potential directions for further research in the realm of socio-technical analysis of tramway and public transport systems (Chapter 7.6). 7.1

Circulation of concepts and technology

Based on the theoretical considerations presented in Chapter 2, the tramway renaissance was conceived in this thesis as a result of the coupling between the large-scale circulation of technology and planning and policy concepts, and their multi-dimensional appropriation in local contexts. While the specific site context basically sets the opportunities for action, the local possibilities are framed by the general trends of a socio-technical environment and the related policies formulated at higher scales. In fact, the case analysis in the previous chapters revealed significant similarities with respect to the ideas and concepts underlying the action in the field of public transport in Germany, France and England. Based on global doctrines and discourses, circulating at an international scale, coherent changes in the attitude towards public transport took place which induced a certain movement in policy and planning from the automobile oriented city to the sustainable city. In the first two decades after the Second World War, the urban planning principles of functional separation, inspired by the Athens Charter of the early 1940s, were dominant and particular importance was attached to the function of travelling. In the associated vision, the image of modernity was attributed to the private motor car, in contrast to the obsolete image of the tramway which was abolished in a large number of cities in the three countries. By the application of engineering methods and models stemming from the USA, car accessibility was to be provided as the first priority of transport policies. However, the increasingly evident adverse impacts of mass car ownership induced a revision of the hitherto dominating planning doctrine in favour of the free use of the automobile. The major concerns were about the growing traffic congestion that prevented access to the city and thus necessitated the development and promotion of travelling © Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2_7

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alternatives in the form of urban public transport. This was supposed to guarantee also an equal level of mobility and access to the city for all residents, a better quality of life in the urban areas and the maintenance of their prosperity. Since the mid-1960s, when the urban and transportation problems were recognised and started to be debated publicly by experts and political officials, the events in the three countries moved virtually in parallel. The policies launched at the national level sought to encourage a modal shift from the private car towards public transport, both rhetorically and through administrative initiatives providing for a new legislation as well as new funding and organisational structures. Such a policy orientation enabled local activities which aimed at the introduction or reintroduction of tram and light rail systems. Thereby, German cities, which had preserved and mostly upgraded their traditional tramway systems, served as references, especially for France and England. The interest in modern tram and light rail systems was markedly increasing during the late 1970s and the 1980s; and this resulted in a comprehensive development of both new and existing systems in the three countries and elsewhere in the world so that the term “renaissance of the tramway” was coined. This development corresponded to the growing concerns about the environment and, more generally, the emergence of the concept of sustainability, which insisted on the simultaneous consideration of environmental, economic and social issues. The discourse on sustainable cities strongly emphasised the problems of non-renewable resources, urban sprawl as well as the associated increase in car traffic, and it suggested new ways of dealing with transport and urban matters. In particular, a change in the carcentred socio-technical arrangement was promoted not only in terms of rebalancing the modal split in favour of public transport and the soft mobility modes, but also in terms of an overall restructuring of the urban space. Therefore, the ideas regarding environmental enhancement and urban regeneration supported the introduction of trams and light rail as means of creating more attractive cities, with a considerable local and regional economic significance. Besides being a transport supply solution between certain points, trams and light rail were envisaged as a tool for a more comprehensive upgrading of urban transport systems in the frame of city renewal. These ideas, circulating in national and international “discursive networks”, were reflected in various transport and environmental policy goals and official statements in the three countries and the case cities considered here. Especially in England and France, where the traditional tramways had been almost completely abandoned, the general, universal discourses and arguments in favour of the modern tramway technology were widely present. Study trips were therefore organised to cities with preserved or new systems which allowed concretising the general

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concepts to the local decision makers and so made the concepts and the knowledge about the practical experience with them travel from context to context, as exemplified by the case analysis. However, the extent of their materialisation and local appropriation differed eventually. 7.2

Appropriation of tramway and light rail technology

As stated in Chapter 2, in the functional area of transportation, appropriation is a process of selection among both, ideas and artefacts, aiming at the improvement of infrasystems. The general cost-benefit analysis of transport investments has been used as a common tool for decision-making support in all the three countries, but it had a different weight in the eventual transport technology choices which were based not merely on formal transport-related criteria. Tramways and light rail were indeed built and extended in the first place when the functional capacity requirements justified their implementation, but also when there were wider ambitions about the promotion of urban development by dint of rail-bound transport. At a first glance, the three countries and the considered urban areas in them reveal coherent changes in the ideas and concepts underlying the discursive movement from the automobile-oriented city towards the city based on sustainable transport and urbanism. Nevertheless, the case analysis highlighted the institutional differences at the national level and the local policy discretion, which in combination with the materiality of the urban context and the restrictions imposed by path dependency have produced large variations in local systems and their style. Table 7 provides a comparative overview of the features of appropriation of trams and light rail and the characteristics of the resulting technological styles in Germany, France and England. The following subchapters (7.2.1, 7.2.2 and 7.2.3) and Chapter 7.3 discuss the contents of this table in more detail.

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Appropriation of trams and light rail in Material dimension

Institutional dimension

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

Germany Predominantly on-street alignments, partly underground Large network lengths and densities high accessibility by foot in urban areas generous federal funding on capital cost coordinated and unified public transport systems integration into urban environment focus on operational and service efficiency focus on traffic functionality professionally but also politically driven system building

France

England

street-running alignments (still) small network densities façade-to-façade street space rearrangement along tram axes customised rolling stock

(mostly) commuter rail lines to lowdensity suburbs heavy rail technical specifications Limited spatial coverage by lines

broad funding base, with large local shares fast system building due to strong local political support coordinated urban and transport planning public transport system integration trams as objects of national and local pride politically and professionally driven system building

limited investment in public transport inconsistent policy framework over time public transport system fragmentation light rail as isolated response to traffic congestion focus on commercial profitability and operational performance professionally initiated and driven system building

Appropriation of tramway and light rail technology

Technological style characteristics

historically grown, mature systems evolutionary functional innovations technological and institutional path dependency

tramway as strategic tool for urban development and modernisation rational and technically advanced systems with high aesthetic aspirations radically innovative systems

301

system building as functional project development, lacking supportive transport and urban policy measures no significant innovations  slow evolution and early stagnation

Table 7: Overview of the features of tram and light rail appropriation and the characteristics of the resulting technological styles in the case countries

7.2.1

The material dimension

The case evidence showed that there are significant differences in the urban geography of Germany and France, on the one side, and England, on the other. The cities and urban areas in the first two countries tend to have high population densities, a compact form and broad streets leading to their centres, which is rather rare for their English counterparts. Therefore, German and French trams and light rails could be established in denser, more urbanised environments along corridors with large transport demand and ridership potential. Accordingly, closely spaced stops, within walking distance from major trip generators and attractors, can be served frequently, as is the case in Karlsruhe, Hannover, Strasbourg and Rouen. In these cities as well as elsewhere in Germany and France, the tramway and light rail lines connect residential districts with educational and cultural institutions, hospitals, commercial and shopping centres, which all generate ridership on a daily basis. In contrast, many of the introduced light rail lines in England follow former railway routes through areas of low residential density, such as suburbs, industrial zones and business districts, often remote from main passenger destinations. Therefore, these lines have had the character of suburban commuter services operating at relatively high speeds with infrequent stops; with the distinction that they provide a better access into the city centre as compared to heavy rail alternatives, as the case of Manchester has demonstrated. The appropriation of the light rail concept in England was not based only on the conversion of old railroad tracks, however, and included also on-street alignments. The city of Sheffield introduced the first modern tramway in Britain featuring large portions of street running, which was untypical for the English systems planned and built in the 1980s and the 1990s. Implemented in a

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Cross-case analysis and conclusion

system environment, which significantly differed in terms of transport policy and organisation from the German and the French context, the extensive street running was yet considered a failure in England and besides the early adopter Sheffield, no other city applied it. Nevertheless, the most recent extensions to existing networks, like in Manchester, include new alignments with larger portions of tracks embedded in the streets and so mirror to a certain extent the experience and development trends in Continental Europe. 7.2.2

The institutional dimension

The differences between the local systems and their operations have derived not only from the physical context and the associated transport needs and demand but very much also from the institutional arrangements and policy environments in the particular cases. The study illustrated the profound differences in the funding structures and procedures for new systems and the organisational framework for their building and operation. Legislation changes in England and the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s provided the basis for the evolution of new urban public transport systems by introducing the possibility to obtain a national co-financing of the capital investment costs. The German change in fiscal practice from 1967 and the British Transport Act of 1968, both permitted large government subsidies to be paid to local authorities to build or enhance their public transport systems. Despite the overall trend of abandoning and cutting back tram networks after the 1930s, many cities in West Germany had kept and improved their old trams as the most economic and efficient public transport technology option. The German planning professionals had regarded rail-bound transport systems as indispensable for the traffic functionality in the cities and advocated the upgrade of the existing tramways to large-scale underground systems. The latter had been financially infeasible until the late 1960s, however. Then generous federal funding became available and provided for the development of almost a dozen systems with tunnel sections and the comprehensive modernisation and extension of classical tram systems. England went more slowly in that direction and with less commitment of financial resources as compared to Germany. The Transport Act from 1968 charged local authorities with the development of plans for coordinated and unified public transport, but the ruling tough-minded economic assessment principles and the limited public investment made possible the introduction of only a small number of new systems. Initially, heavily engineered rail links were preferred, but the economic recession in the last two decades of the twentieth century entailed an even tighter public expenditure control which necessitated putting the emphasis on plans for low-cost tram and light rail systems. In a narrow window of opportunity during this period, only

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five light rail systems could be built, benefiting from the policy rhetoric of encouraging the use of urban public transport. Although a ten-year investment plan published in 2000 raised the prospect of a significant national financial support for up to 25 new light rail systems, the central government soon scrapped the plan due to prohibitively high implementation costs and times of such systems when compared to bus alternatives. This came at a time when also in Germany an increasing scarcity of public funds became apparent, which had entailed the introduction of a formalised and more careful approach to investment in public transport and suggested the choice of cheaper street-level systems instead of underground alignments. The practice of federal and state financing of local public transport infrastructure in Germany has continued anyway, although the forms and levels of this funding were reviewed over the years. Unlike in Germany and England, there was no national institutional framework for encouraging the tram and light rail transport in France before the early 1980s. After an almost complete abandonment of the tramway, the traffic congestion, the pollution and the oil crisis in the 1970s were reasons for the national government to relaunch public transport schemes. The initial investments in metro systems raised the interest in rail-bound urban transport across the country and prepared the ground for the French tramway renaissance. The “concours Cavaillé” from 1975 – a state-sponsored initiative attempting to trigger local tramway projects in a top-down manner – did not lead directly to the tram renaissance but still entailed the development of a standard French tramcar and propelled the idea of reintroducing the tramway. The latter could be subsequently realised, when in the frame of administrative decentralisation, the LOTI Act of 1982 established the municipality as the key player in organising and financing the local public transport. By the introduction of an earmarked payroll tax – versement transport – the local authorities received the possibility to broaden their funding base for capital and operating costs of public transport and develop it autonomously. In addition, successive national governments provided significant subsidies for investments in systems with an own right-ofway and thus further encouraged the development of public transport. In this institutional setting, the largest cities, followed by various middle-sized ones, chose to set up modern tram systems so that nearly thirty new tramways were built in France within three decades. The substantial powers of the local authorities have allowed them to integrate the different public transport modes and coordinate their planning with the overall urban policy in which the tramway introduction provided an opportunity to reorganise the city – both, around the new lines and at a larger scale. Against the background of the strong local

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authorities, the support for the new tramway systems by the urban politics has been very important for their implementation. While the public transport has been controlled by the local authorities in France and Germany, with the role of the national government being mainly limited to setting the formal institutional framework and encouraging authorities to follow the broad national policy goals, the central government in England has determined the local transport policies and their funding. The English public authorities at the local level have been dependent on the central government for the major financing of transport systems, as they have been limited in the amount of funds they can raise through taxes or credits. Moreover, delays caused by lengthy legal procedures and changing eligibility rules for government funding additionally impeded the implementation of projects. Under these circumstances, despite the policy rhetoric of delivering high quality public transport to serve wider economic, environmental and social objectives, the few realised light rail systems in England were mostly planned to minimise the publicly financed construction cost and risks, mainly through converting former railroad routes. Therefore, light rail was not employed as a tool for comprehensive spatial planning and urban development, but was conceived and materialised mainly as an isolated response to transport problems, in particular traffic congestion. In Sheffield, and in the later phases in Manchester, urban regeneration objectives were considered; however, urban development patterns were generally not addressed as comprehensively as in the French tramway renaissance and during the evolution of the German light rail systems. Unlike in Germany and France, there were barely efforts in England to redevelop the land use along the rail alignments and redistribute public spaces in favour of the soft mobility modes and other urban activities in the frame of light rail schemes. However, as the example of the recently established Manchester Transport Fund showed, urban regeneration and place making are gaining significance in the more locally determined decision making which is emerging in the frame of power devolution in England. The emphasis on minimising public resources for the provision of public transport in England has been reflected also in the framework for local public transport administration. The growing subsidy level for local bus operations in the 1980s gave reason to the Conservative government at the time to issue the Transport Act of 1985, which entailed the privatisation and deregulation of bus services in the areas outside London. The deregulation of the bus industry has left the local authorities unable to define the fares, frequency or capacity of most services and has caused a serious fragmentation of the English public transport systems. Thus, light rail systems have been exposed to a “battle” and

Appropriation of tramway and light rail technology

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competition with parallel bus lines and there is no feeder service or fare coordination as in the integrative tramway and light rail systems in Germany and France. Furthermore, unlike in the two continental countries, English light rail systems are required to cover their operating costs without subsidies and to additionally contribute to the capital cost, so that the commercial profitability has been a central goal in the appropriation of the light rail concept. In fact, the poor financial performance of the existing systems in the early 2000s was a main reason for the national government to scrap the plans for a massive expansion of the English light rail transport. Due to the commercial focus, fares tend to be higher in England, which together with the lack of service and fare integration has led to lower ridership levels than on German and French systems. 7.2.3

Local ownership and political leadership

The institutional framework in France and Germany clearly facilitated the tramway renaissance in these countries, as compared to England. This is mirrored by the large number of preserved systems and their expansion in Germany and the opening of a new tramway system in nearly all big French cities, in contrast to England, where the development of new light rail schemes has ceased after the construction of only five systems in the big conurbations. Despite the different institutional settings and national policy environments, however, the local championing of the development projects proved to be a very important factor for the establishment and growth of the systems in all cases analysed. Although the system development paths have been quite different, in each case, there were obstacles and challenges, as assumed also in Chapter 2, and therefore the support and the involvement of system builders and other stakeholders have been essential. The establishment and expansion of the large technical systems necessitated controversial, often unpopular decisions and a clear commitment to their implementation. In Strasbourg, the political will and personal involvement of the mayor were central for the tram to win the battle of the systems against the alternatively proposed VAL technology and to be introduced as an urban policy tool. Despite some initial objections from the public to the necessary rearrangements in the city, the first tramway line could be speedily realised under the leadership of the mayor, who soon rose to prominence as the major tram promoter in France. In Rouen, it was also the mayor who served as the figurehead responsible for delivering the local tramway project irrespective of the significant financial commitment and the later cost escalation. In both case cities, and elsewhere in France, the leadership of the mayor proved essential for the system building, especially given the wider urban development and strategic political goals associated with it. Also in the two case studies from Germany, the local political will and support were decisive for the path direction chosen in the late development stages of the systems, which

306

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

proved highly contested and inherently political. Initially, the system evolution in Karlsruhe and Hannover was more professionally than politically driven, based on the traditional socio-economic rationale, but the most recent controversial decisions were handled primarily by the local political actors and needed the explicit support of the parties in power. The implementation of a tramway tunnel in Karlsruhe at the margins of its socio-economic justification met with strong public opposition but was eventually put through thanks to the persistent promotion by the municipal transport company backed by like-minded politicians at the local and the regional level. At the same time, regardless of the sufficient socio-economic benefit calculated for the proposed tunnel section in Hannover and the relatively low investment volume, the lack of political consensus at the local level prevented its realisation. The contrasting choices about the major infrastructure elements mirrored local differences in the political environments to a much larger extent than transport needs and demand. Therefore, it can be concluded that the system building practices in Germany have been clearly subject to the limitations of the overall political process at the local level and depended on the actions and intentions of the involved actors. In England, the connection of public transport with local politics has been less strong than in France and Germany. The service privatisation and deregulation, the restrictions on local government capital expenditure and the limited availability of national grants reduced the importance of public transport in local authority budgets and on the political agenda. Therefore, the development of the few realised light rail systems were essentially professionally initiated and driven by the Passenger Transport Authorities and Executives, as in the cases of Manchester and Sheffield. Nonetheless, the central government’s refusal to finance the light rail system expansion in Greater Manchester in the mid-2000s gave rise to a major local and national public campaign for the reinstatement of an earlier agreed funding package. A wide alliance, comprising besides the Passenger Transport Authority and Executive, also political officials and the local public, successfully pleaded for the initially promised grants and achieved an unprecedented change of mind in the government within just a few months. In Sheffield, there was no such high-profile campaign for the Supertram system, but the continuous loyalty of the professionals from SYPTE to the idea of building a tramway were essential for overcoming the difficulties concerning the funding eligibility and the route planning throughout the 1980s and the early 1990s. Hence, also the two English cases demonstrated the importance of local championing of the system building, which does not need to fall only to a political leader. Still, with the delegation of powers and responsibilities to the local level and the introduction of directly elected mayor posts in England, a new layer to decision making is being added, which would allow for political

Technological styles

307

championing of public transport infrastructure in the frame of wider strategies for urban development. 7.3

Technological styles

The above presented findings from the empirical cases show that it is possible to identify a distinct combination of geographical characteristics, historical traditions, socio-economic conditions and technological and institutional arrangements which confer a particular style on tramway systems. The patterns of system development also contribute to the emergence of a distinctive style. In Germany, where many tram services were preserved after the Second World War, the development of light rail and tramways has featured mainly evolutionary functional innovations and a comprehensive systemic perspective on public transport. The classical trams evolved gradually but continuously into modern street-level systems, like in Karlsruhe, or partly underground light rails, like in Hannover; and their system building included various elements like public transport integration and prioritisation, traffic management and large scale pedestrianisation as well as public space enhancement and rearrangement. The network densities were increased so that the systems typically cover nearly the whole city area, and in Karlsruhe, a technological innovation in the form of the world-first dual-current tram allowed even for the utilisation of railroad tracks and extended the scope of services far into the regional hinterland. The German system developments have been primarily based on the principle of transport functionality in the frame of the traditional socio-economic rationale. Still, there has been a certain bias towards capital-intensive projects provided by the generous federal and state funding, as was illustrated by the recent infrastructure scheme in Karlsruhe. Furthermore, as practically all of the authorities in Germany which own and operate trams and light rail systems have been the cities in which the networks are located, the political influence on the system development has been significant. In France, the approach to public transport system development has been more explicitly associated with local politics and urban policy and proved more flexible towards radical changes than the German one. The French tramway renaissance began two decades later than that in Germany and initially adopted the German planning principles for light rail systems which primarily emphasised the operational and service efficiency. To favour the acceptance of trams by the local public and politicians, however, the planners and builders of the French systems widened their focus beyond the transport service efficiency to especially incorporate high quality material design and urban integration measures. Whereas these measures were rather used as tactical auxiliaries for the

308

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

establishment of the first modern tramways in France, they became integral elements of the tramway system in Strasbourg which has served since its introduction as a strategic tool for the urban development and modernisation. With the allocation of a large part of the financial resources to street renewals “from façade to façade”, which included besides pedestrianisation and traffic calming, especially the use of aesthetic material and spatial design elements, the system was built to convey a positive image for the host city and to affirm its identity. An extensively customised modern rolling stock has been a central medium of these efforts. In effect, the appropriation of the tramway in Strasbourg provided momentum to the French tram renaissance and constituted a particular style, which was followed by more than twenty other systems in the country and has had an international influence. In analogy to the observation of Hård and Misa (2008) about the Paris Métro, which opened for the 1900 world’s fair, it can be stated that the new tram systems in France have been archetypically modern and characteristically French: rational and technically advanced, with high aesthetic aspirations. The French tramway has become a national and local object of pride that has promised political benefits and allowed for the emergence of a significant export industry. The concentration of political power in the hands of French mayors provided for the fast realisation of tramlines in various cities and conurbations. Nevertheless, most systems have been still of limited spatial scope and their further development relates to the establishment of denser networks for the sake of a comprehensive public transport service. In light of the high costs of tramways, a flexible approach towards the further system development has been chosen in several cities. In particular, buses with a high level of service – a technology requiring lower investment sums and operational costs than trams – has been considered for serving the newest lines, as exemplified for Rouen and Strasbourg. The system characteristics of the French tramway style have been discernible also for the bus-based technology, however. In England, the light rail systems’ development lacked any major innovations or the comprehensive approach of German and French system building which included the integration and prioritisation of public transport and public space rearrangement. The evolution of the English light rail systems has been constrained by rigorous socio-economic calculations and has been dominated by objectives relating to operational performance and commercial success. To minimise the construction and operational costs, many of the light rail services have used segregated alignments between low-density suburbs and city centres, often on abandoned railroads; and due to stringent technical requirements, the systems have adopted heavy rail specifications and safety arrangements. Therefore, the English systems have mostly not been planned and built as

The success of tramway systems and its limits

309

integral parts of the urban environment, and comprising only one or a few lines, they have had a limited coverage of the conurbation areas. As a whole, the light rail lines were rather developed as purely functional public transport projects without supportive policy measures in the domain of overall transport and city planning. Furthermore, the deregulated bus services have operated as a competing separate system instead of being an integral element of the light rail systems with coordinated timetables and tickets. Hence, despite the expectations associated with the introduction of the market-based principle to public transport planning and operations in England, the few built light rail systems featured no significant innovations, evolved slowly and mostly stagnated much earlier than their continental counterparts. Unlike in other countries, the English systems have functioned without operational subsidies, however. The appropriation of the tramway in the three countries has obviously led to the evolution of distinct system constellations with a particular national style. Even though the multi-dimensional nature and complexity of appropriation processes make it difficult to describe these styles by only one or two attributes, the present case analysis assents to the view of Hassiak and Richer (2012) that the systems in Germany, France and England can be characterised as accentuating functionality, urbanistic appeal and cost effectiveness, respectively. Certainly, the examples of Rouen, Sheffield, and the most recent developments in the maturing systems of Hannover and Karlsruhe show that also relatively peculiar system constellations can evolve, which present certain local variations of the national style. Furthermore, with the global circulation and availability of ideas, concepts and technological artefacts, the different national and local styles have had an influence on systems in other countries, and characteristic elements like the appealing design of tram corridors or the dual-mode technology have been appropriated beyond the national borders. Nonetheless, it is still possible to identify and define certain national styles and distinctive patterns of development in the global tramway renaissance. More generally, based on the above presented findings from the case analysis, it can be concluded that the concept of national and local technological styles is highly relevant for understanding the significance of institutional differences and similarities as well as path dependencies of various nature for the development of technological systems. 7.4

The success of tramway systems and its limits

As a whole, in all cases, the system evolution went along with an increase in public transport use on the served routes. Therefore, it was considered successful in terms of meeting a central objective associated with the system building, even if the paths to this success have been quite different. In Karlsruhe and Hannover,

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Cross-case analysis and conclusion

the tramway or light rail usage has been deeply rooted in the local practices, so that the systems had a solid customer basis which was continuously enlarged in the course of network extensions and service enhancements. In Strasbourg and Rouen, and elsewhere in France, the tramway replaced several heavily patronised bus lines and succeeded in further increasing the public transport ridership. In England, the light rail passenger numbers initially fell short of the forecasts, with the major exception of Greater Manchester’s Metrolink which has been successful in meeting and even exceeding the forecast patronage from the very beginning. Sheffield Supertram struggled to build up a ridership basis in the first years after opening, but recently, it has been operating at full capacity in peaktimes. In all cases, the rising passenger numbers provided momentum to the system development and required a capacity enhancement, as in peak hours, the light rail vehicles started to be overcrowded. Therefore, the rolling stocks have been enlarged by including more and longer vehicles. In Karlsruhe, Manchester and Strasbourg, the growth in ridership and the associated traffic through the city centre necessitated also significant capital investments. As the limits of the practical system capacity were reached in the three cities and a “reverse salient” emerged, the construction of additional infrastructure links was considered necessary to provide for the functionality and the future development of the maturing technological systems. Hence, the “success” of all the three systems has come at an additional cost, irrespectively of the distinct local solutions. The performance of the systems in the analysed cases evidences that tramways and light rail have been successful in reaching and even exceeding the target passenger levels. However, none of the systems has been able to significantly decrease the motor traffic levels and herewith achieve a modal shift in favour of public transport over the whole urban area. In the city centres, the modal share of the car has decreased in several cases, but globally, the strong position of the automobile in the socio-technical environment has persisted, as the recent developments from Karlsruhe and Hannover, and the examples from Manchester and Strasbourg showed. Therefore, the tramway renaissance has demonstrated the tension between change and inertia in the frame of urban mobility, in particular, and city development, in general. In order to reach the frequently proclaimed objectives regarding sustainability and overall urban transformations, the dominance of the car will need to be challenged further and opportunities for a broader change in the city transport systems will have to be promoted. Such an accomplishment would be a radical change in scope and would therefore require an unequivocal political support and wide public acceptance in a host city as well as the engagement and mobilisation of actors across scales. Showcases that demonstrate possible new socio-technical configurations will be appreciated both

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as solutions for local needs and as a source of inspiration for other cities, as could be seen in the analysed cases. 7.5

Lessons learned for planning practice and research

The socio-technical analysis of the tramway renaissance in Western Europe has provided an illustration of the complex multi-dimensional nature of the evolution process of large technical systems, from which several lessons can be derived for planning practice and research. These lessons are presented below. 7.5.1

Lessons learned for planning practice

Learning from the international circulation and appropriation of the modern tram and light rail concepts in Germany, France and England is suggested as useful for the conception of development strategies for such systems elsewhere in the world as well as for other transport technologies. Currently, light rail and tramways are being increasingly considered and developed as new or upgraded systems in major and provincial cities across various countries in Europe, North America and Asia. In this context, the findings presented in the thesis can be used to improve the knowledge base for planning and development of such systems. As much depends on the particular case and a sound choice for a particular technology or concept can be made only in relation to a specific local setting, it is not possible to infer clear-cut recipes for planning, design and operation of tram systems. However, the study helps to identify a number of essential aspects concerning the evolution of public transport systems and the associated decisions to be made in the frame of their governance. The case analysis underscored the importance of strong demonstration schemes of how to tackle transport-related and urban problems, as the circulation of ideas and technology is propelled by their prevailing success in certain popular cases and this creates momentum to plans and projects to implement them in the local policy-making elsewhere. At the same time, regardless of the circulation speed, the appropriation process and the associated evolution of large technological systems are rather gradual, protracted and inherently political, subject to multiscale institutions and past decisions as well as to the actions and practices of local system builders and users. Therefore, it is recommended that at the higher scales, a public transport policy is consistently applied which enables, subsidises and nurtures promising projects at the local scale that may redirect urban transport dynamics to a desired development path. In doing so, the responsible actors at higher scales are not supposed to transfer “good” practices to local venues in a top-down manner, but should rather stimulate and facilitate the

312

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creation of peer exchange networks which foster visioning and learning locally. As Healey (2013) points out, planning ideas and practices have a complex intellectual culture and history, so that it is important to critically examine their rationales and functionality within specific contexts before promoting their implementation locally. The linear transfer of technology, ideas or practices from one place to another without probing and time for learning because of an assumed boundary-transcending superiority and universal suitability increases the risk of failures causing more harm than good. Instead, interactive learning within communities that share a common problem and include actors working on similar issues pertinent to the local milieu is recommended. Interaction between professional planners, policy makers, politicians, researchers and users can create dynamic relations in a network and these relations can entail active learning about a technology or idea and their context. By the exchange of hands-on experience as well as codified and tacit knowledge concerning the appropriation process in one or more locales, learning about the societal beliefs, norms and values, the expectations and visions underlying the adoption of a technology or idea is enabled. Thereby, it is essential not to focus only on successful implementations, but to learn also from failures. That way, awareness can be raised about the socio-technical and urban diversity across contexts which would imply the necessity for planning and policy practice to critically engage with circulating technology, concepts and ideas in order to develop socio-technical solutions honed to local aspirations and contingencies. These benefits of peer exchange can be achieved, however, only if dedicated efforts are put into building and maintaining communicative platforms and channels. That’s why, planners and policy makers at all relevant scales should be provided with sufficient time and financial resources to actively participate in networks of likeminded colleagues and researchers. Furthermore, in such a policy environment generating reflexivity on the dynamics of urban transportation systems and the origins of possible concepts and strategies to steer them, a municipality should have sufficient legal authority with respect to the development of a (public) transport system and the opportunity to exercise that authority. In this sense, the creation of funding sources at the local level has proved beneficial for the implementation of context sensitive and adaptive solution approaches and can thus be recommended as an institutional arrangement allowing for the efficient tackling of transport-related and urban problems. For the venues planning to or already building tramway or light rail systems, a relevant finding from this study is the need to provide additional conditions for the success of the system. Such conditions include supportive and integrative land use planning policies, the discouragement of the use of the private car and

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restrictions on the motor traffic, in terms of traffic management, parking policy and possibly road pricing. As laid out in Chapter 3.2, previous research has realised that the coordination of transport options and land-use patterns can significantly contribute to the viability of public transport as an alternative to car travel. In particular, through increasing the densities and concentration of activities at certain locations, preferably in combination with promoting the availability of a mix of functions and facilities needed in everyday life, a public transport oriented development of urban areas can result which enables the effectiveness and efficiency of trams and light rail. This development includes also traffic calming measures, as slower traffic takes up less physical space and the space gain can be provided to public transport and the soft mobility modes as well as the general enhancement of street life quality. In addition to these measures, the number of parking lots locally and at the city level should be restricted, situated as compactly as possible and managed by charges so that the use of private automobiles is discouraged. Abundant and free parking, located adjacently to residential buildings and frequent destinations, favours instead car travels even on short distances and undermines policy efforts aimed at a modal shift towards public transport. Therefore, parking convinience and supply should be tailored to the overall mobility planning objectives tied up with tramway system building. A further measure to enhance public transport relative to travelling by car may be road pricing. This financial instrument refers to a charge for using the road or street infrastructure in a particular area. It can be applied for time-based or location-based traffic management, for example on frequently congested or accident-prone road sections or during periods of high traffic volumes, with the aim of re-distributing and reducing traffic flows. Moreover, the revenues of the tolls levied, or an appropriate portion of them, can be earmarked for improving the public transport provision, which can induce an additional modal shift and strengthen the role of public transport, in general, and tramways, in particular 533. On a daily basis, trams and light rail will also benefit from traffic management measures which speed up the operations and increase their reliability, such as traffic signal control and traffic guidance. These measures provide a solid basis for a good quality of service and should be complemented by a comprehensive approach to multi-modal public transport planning which allows for timetable coordination and integrated ticketing.

533

See the example of London, where the incomes from the city centre congestion charge introduced in 2003 have been used to fund and expand public transport services with the effect of noticeable ridership gains (e.g. Leape 2006, pp. 168-169).

314

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

The intention of all the above suggested policies and sets of measures is to build in mobility options based on tramway and light rail transport into the patterns of urban form and daily activities, which in turn may entail a modal shift away from privately owned motor vehicles. As this provides a challenge to the logic underlying the unrestricted car use, the desired socio-technical effects are likely to require a certain period of time before they can occur. The recommendations made above are not novel or unknown but their implementation could very rarely take place in a straight-forward fashion and needs to be embedded in the overall planning and development practices and structures. Therefore, tramways and light rail should not be regarded independently of their wider environment but as part of the overarching strategies and concepts for urban development. The associated policy and debates should therefore move beyond technical understandings and normative accounts of public transport. This requires the creation of a common, widely accepted vision of the large technical system which is actively promoted by local officials and consistently pursued in the course of system evolution despite possible political changes. Consensus building activities for winning the support of local and other relevant stakeholders are important in this context. As the case studies here have demonstrated, real systems are in flow, related to time and society, and do not simply mirror abstract rationality or foreign practices. Therefore, rational action in the frame of context-sensitive decision making, considering potentially conflicting ideas on the system development, is important for the effective planning, realisation and operation of tram and light rail systems. 7.5.2

Lessons learned for planning research

In addition to the lessons formulated for planning practice, this thesis has made also a contribution to the academic field of science and technology studies, and in particular to the analysis of socio-technical systems. By assuming a sociotechnical research perspective, the scrutiny of the renaissance of tramways in Western Europe was not limited to technological and performative accounts of existing transport infrastructures, but embraced the evolution of complex configurations involving different kinds of technologies and a multiplicity of relations of social, organisational and political nature. Broadly speaking, the thesis has demonstrated how the interplay of technical and social forces and their discursive interpretation have shaped the development path of tramway and light rail systems over the recent decades. In these terms, the evolution of the systems studied here follows largely the traditional theoretical LTS model of Thomas P.

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Hughes534, the key notions of which allowed for a broad understanding of the challenges and possibilities for reconfiguring urban transport arrangements. Hence, the LTS model proved useful for the aimed socio-technical analysis of the tramway renaissance, but as it focuses mainly on the temporal dynamics of development and the function of a system, it needed to be complemented by a spatially more sensitive research perspective. The more explicit account of the role of place, space and scale in socio-technical studies has been recently formulated as a pertinent research need535, and the present thesis relates to this need, especially with the elaboration on the concept of “style”. As a contribution to the spatial perspective on the development of sociotechnical systems, this thesis emphasised the place-specificity and the local embeddedness of an international phenomenon like the tramway renaissance. The empirical chapters have demonstrated that the latter is simultaneously present at multiple locations and scales, and is characterised by the local appropriation but also by the international circulation of technology and relevant transport planning concepts and ideas. The case studies have highlighted the contingencies and particularities of the various contexts where tramway and light rail systems evolve and have illustrated how appropriation and system building processes unfold differentially across space. Furthermore, the thesis uncovered the ways in which the circulation of technology and ideas tied up with these processes plays out in local settings and at the same time is shaped by their place-specific dynamics. System building was found to be caught up in a set of relations and interactions which cut across different scales and involve a multiplicity of actors. The research design has comprised both national-level and city-level case studies which have cumulatively provided an illustration of the multi-scalar processes as well as the various actors and power relations conditioning the evolution of socio-technical systems. Local authorities, municipalities, national governments, local service providers and transnational corporations as well as professional communities and the wider public, all played a role in the geographically spread appropriation of public transport technology and ideas, and enabled their circulation between cities within and across national borders. The extent, to which actors at the different scales – local, national and transnational – shaped a particular system, varied between cities in Western Europe, and as the studied cases from England and Germany have shown, there were differences also within the same country. Therefore, the empirical part of this thesis has underscored the importance of a multi-scalar perspective in the 534 535

See Chapter 2.1.2. See e.g. Hodson and Marvin (2010), Coenen et al. (2012), Hansen and Coenen (2015) and Truffer et al. (2015).

316

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

analysis of the evolution of large technical systems. Moreover, the case studies brought out especially the significance of the city scale with its socio-spatial arrangement for the development of tramway and light rail systems. They have illustrated how the city, in terms of urban fabric as well as socio-economic relations, politics and culture, shapes and at the same time is shaped by the evolution of public transport systems. A paradigmatic example for this interaction has been the French tramway renaissance 536, where the tram has served not just as a transport tool but very much as an instrument for urban redevelopment. Hence, an important lesson from the thesis is that cities are not only important actors and playing fields in the processes of technology appropriation537, but become also the object of wider transformation processes which unfold alongside the transport system building path. A key contribution of the thesis has been the elaboration of the concept of “styles”. Contrary to the presumption of the eventual dominance of a universalised congeneric technological system in the LTS model of Hughes, it was argued here that in different environments quite distinct and even peculiar systems can evolve and unfold thereby a particular style, despite a global circulation and availability of ideas, concepts and technological artefacts. Being part and parcel of locally situated and context specific multi-scalar processes, socio-technical systems develop along a path which is marked by critiques, conflicts, alternatives and failures, and generally mirrors the struggle between stability and change. This development path effectively brings about the style of a system, and by the interplay with other system paths, it can also contribute to the emergence of a style at a higher spatial scale. In the analysis of the tramway renaissance, a distinction was thus made between local and national style patterns which were shown to be interrelated. In essence, the study cases have demonstrated that it is possible to identify a distinct combination of discursive, institutional and material patterns which confer a particular style on tramway systems. Beyond its value for the derivation of the empirical insights related to the tramway renaissance in Western Europe, the concept of “style” generally provides an analytical lens through which to compare different socio-technical configurations. By engaging with complex processes of appropriating technology and ideas as well as with various path-dependent phenomena, the concept has the potential to enrich the study of socio-technical systems across a range of contexts and provide a framework for understanding and promoting socio-technical change.

536 537

See Chapter 5. See Chapter 2.1.5.2.

Directions for future research

7.6

317

Directions for future research

Whilst this study provided some insights into the processes of circulation and appropriation of trams and light rail in three Western European countries, more research with such a focus is needed. There is a growing awareness of the transport-related, urban and environmental benefits of rail-bound public transport systems, so that the conceptual approach presented here can have an important role to play. The socio-technical perspective is relatively new for the field of transport studies, but it proved to be useful for investigating the evolution dynamics of public transport systems and might be a promising framework for analysing the developments in urban transport planning. In addition, it has also the potential to support the future decision-making in cities looking for a balanced mobility development. The empirical assessment in this study focused on Western Europe, yet the analytical framework can be applied to other areas facing different challenges concerning transport planning and urban development, especially the rapidly growing agglomerations in Asia, Africa and Latin America. As there are relatively few tram and light rail systems on those continents, in-depth studies from those parts of the world are rare though they would allow for a greater understanding of the circulation and appropriation of the technology and its potential as a tool for promoting sustainability in various different contexts. In Central and Eastern European countries, there are a large number of historic tramways, which have not experienced a similar renaissance as their counterparts in Western Europe and North America, so that the analytical framework can be applied to investigate the local appropriation of the technology in particular cities and elaborate the possibilities for enhancing the existing systems. Similarly, the framework can also be applied to the trolleybus technology, which is widely spread in Central and Eastern Europe and has been recently promoted by the Regional Development Fund of the European Union “as the cleanest and most economical transport mode for sustainable cities and regions in Central Europe”538. Furthermore, the proposed research setting can be broadened not only empirically in terms of studying more geographical jurisdictions over time, but it can be enriched also conceptually by focusing more on the user side of the appropriation process. The introduction and upgrade of tramways and light rail present a potentially significant change of scope regarding the urban mobility and the role of public transport, but the effectiveness and efficiency of the systems depend on the integration of the transport mode in the practices and routines of residents and requires an adaptation in the user environment. Socio538

See Trolley (2013).

318

Cross-case analysis and conclusion

technical systems are continuously remade through everyday interaction (Shove 2003), so that the user relationship to the system function and breakdown is essential (Trentmann 2009). The expectations and perceptions of normality for a system, the adaptability of habits and the regular customs of use are constitutive elements of the appropriation of technology, so that their exploration can provide important insights about the stability and change of socio-technical systems, in general, and public transport systems, in particular. Therefore, a better understanding of people’s response to and adoption of the technology in different contexts, and the interrelation between the transport mode and the urban culture can be useful for the enhancement of implementation strategies for light rail and tram systems in the future. The conceptual framework proposed in the thesis can be enhanced further by addressing in more detail the messy and tangled processes of circulation of technology and ideas. As Wood (2016) notices, these processes have proven difficult to study especially because the knowledge exchanges taking place between actors and localities rarely lead directly to the uptake of ideas or technology. Nonetheless, a conceptual and methodological approach to tackle this issue has recently been made available. By ‘following’ the people, materials and meetings, it allows for exploring the ordinary practices of actors who circulate ideas and technology as well as the pathways for the travel of knowledge, and so it can reveal the socio-technical dynamics and assamblages of learning539. In effect, the complex processes of circulation can become the object of a systematic empirical analysis, which in turn can increase the value of the conceptual framework outlined in Chapter 2.2. Finally, future research could demonstrate whether the analytical framework of the thesis might be aplicable also for cases other than public transport. By selecting instances comprising more than one infrastructural sector, for example, the need for broadening the conceptual considerations presented here can be examined and corresponding contributions to the field of socio-technical studies can be made.

539

See Wood (2016) for more details.

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List of Interview Partners G1: G2: G3: G4: F1:

F2:

F3:

E1: E2: E3:

Transport Planner at the public transport operator AVG in Karlsruhe; 30.09.2015 Head of the Planning Department of the public transport operator AVG in Karlsruhe; 30.09.2015 Retired Director of the Underground Construction Authority in Hannover (U-Bahn Bauamt); 03.09.2015 Head of the Light Rail Division of the public transport operator Üstra in Hannover; 29.09.2015 Transport Engineer and Researcher at CEREMA (Centre for Studies Expertise on Risks, Environment, Mobility, and Urban and Country Planning) in Lyon; 04.12.2015 Head of the Department „Investments and Civil Works“ in the agency for „Public Space and Sustainable Mobility Planning“ in Rouen; 15.09.2015 Head of the Department „Mangement of transport projects“ at the Eurometropole Office for Mobility and Transport Planning in Strasbourg; 16.09.2015 Transport Strategy Officer at Transport for Greater Manchester; 21.09.2015 Metrolink Development Manager at Transport for Greater Manchester; 21.09.2015 Strategy and Policy Officer at the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) in Sheffield; 22.09.2015

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, part of Springer Nature 2020 D. Petkov, Tramway Renaissance in Western Europe, Studien zur Mobilitäts- und Verkehrsforschung, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-28879-2