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The BAPTS project – Boosting Advanced Public Transport Systems

Posted: 22 June 2011 | Gregor Moss, Transport Commissioner, City of Bielefeld and Georg Werdermann, Rupprecht Consult | No comments yet

High-quality sustainable urban transport is a fundamental precondition for making European cities and regions better places to live. Since cities themselves are usually in the best position to find the right strategies, nine leading cities and regions from six countries in North-West Europe develop concrete model solutions for sustainable urban transport within the BAPTS project. BAPTS is funded by INTERREG IVB NWE, a European programme for cities and regions in North-West Europe. The project started in January 2008 and will run until April 2012. BAPTS has a total budget of over €15 million.
The European policy context

Supporting the development of cities and regions, in particular with respect to improving urban transport and mobility, is already a tradition. After the publication of the Green Paper ‘Towards a new culture for urban mobility’ in 2007, the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on urban mobility in 2009.

High-quality sustainable urban transport is a fundamental precondition for making European cities and regions better places to live. Since cities themselves are usually in the best position to find the right strategies, nine leading cities and regions from six countries in North-West Europe develop concrete model solutions for sustainable urban transport within the BAPTS project. BAPTS is funded by INTERREG IVB NWE, a European programme for cities and regions in North-West Europe. The project started in January 2008 and will run until April 2012. BAPTS has a total budget of over €15 million. The European policy context Supporting the development of cities and regions, in particular with respect to improving urban transport and mobility, is already a tradition. After the publication of the Green Paper ‘Towards a new culture for urban mobility’ in 2007, the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on urban mobility in 2009.

High-quality sustainable urban transport is a fundamental precondition for making European cities and regions better places to live. Since cities themselves are usually in the best position to find the right strategies, nine leading cities and regions from six countries in North-West Europe develop concrete model solutions for sustainable urban transport within the BAPTS project. BAPTS is funded by INTERREG IVB NWE, a European programme for cities and regions in North-West Europe. The project started in January 2008 and will run until April 2012. BAPTS has a total budget of over €15 million.

The European policy context

Supporting the development of cities and regions, in particular with respect to improving urban transport and mobility, is already a tradition. After the publication of the Green Paper ‘Towards a new culture for urban mobility’ in 2007, the European Commission adopted the Action Plan on urban mobility in 2009. The document includes 20 actions addressing issues such as improved information, passenger rights, better planning, greener transport, sharing experiences and funding.

However, it is not only in the transport sector that innovative approaches are needed and encouraged by the European level. The ‘Europe 2020’ strategy – the European approach for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth – also calls for actions aimed at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the development of a lowcarbon economy.

The BAPTS project partners

To give sustainable public transport a boost is the main ambition of the nine cities and regions in the BAPTS project, who include:

  • Stadt Bielefeld (Lead Partner) – Germany
  • Darlington Borough Council – United Kingdom
  • National Transport Authority – Ireland
  • Gemeente Eindhoven – The Netherlands
  • Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund GmbH – Germany
  • Ville de Liège – Belgium
  • Lille Métropole Communauté Urbaine – France
  • Nantes Métropole Communauté Urbaine – France
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council – United Kingdom

The project partners represent all relevant local and regional stakeholders in public transport such as municipalities, transport operators, transport authorities, planners and public transport experts. The project is co – ordinated and managed by the City of Bielefeld.

The BAPTS approach

Based on the ‘INTERREG-idea’, all project activities are aimed at transnational cooperation, that is, partners do not work individually on local activities but rather seek to benefit from the expertise existing within the project. Through intense exchange of knowledge and results, BAPTS systems and services will be widely disseminated and will serve as model solutions for the whole of NWE and beyond. The BAPTS main fields of activity are:

  • Multimodality & Interoperability
  • Integrated Mobility Planning
  • Marketing & Mobility Awareness
  • Intelligent Transport Systems
  • Transnational working and knowledge exchange

BAPTS project results

BAPTS has been developed with a clear view at delivering concrete results at the local and transnational level. Selected core outputs of the project are:

Development of a station travel plan in Darlington

Situated to the West of the Tees Valley subregion, Darlington has excellent access to strategic road and rail routes and is seen as the ‘Gateway’ to the Tees Valley area. In recent years, Darlington has developed a particularly strong reputation for delivering smarter choices, travel information and marketing initiatives aimed at encouraging more sustainable travel behaviour.

With over two million rail passenger journeys every year, Darlington Bank Top Station is a major gateway to Darlington and the Tees Valley. Also, and in order to manage the high demand in the future, a Station Travel Plan was set up within BAPTS.

The project activities included various consultation actions with all relevant stakeholders (e.g. meetings of the travel plan steering group, an audit of the station and approaches to the station, passenger surveys and an invitation to complete an online passenger survey). Measures identified within the travel plan included the need for improvements of facilities for rail passengers wishing to park a cycle or motorcycle at the station.

Development and implementation of new public transport oriented marketing strategies focusing on the specific needs of different target groups and life-cycles in Darlington, Bielefeld, Southend-on-Sea and the operational area of the Rhine-Main-Verkehrsverbund

Under the umbrella of its sustainable transport marketing campaign ‘Local Motion’, Darlington implemented various actions aimed at school travel plans or cycling promotion.

Darlington and Bielefeld both carried out household surveys and implemented new ways to approach their customers directly. Bielefeld in particular addressed the challenges resulting from demographic change.

Southend has featured its MoveEasy campaign through BAPTS funds. MoveEasy has been set up to aid and promote travel by trains, buses, cycling, walking and car sharing. Key activities were measures aimed at cycle promotion such as assistance to run successful Bike to Work events, Bike Doctor Sessions, guided rides or adult cycle training.

The RMV has likewise enhanced its direct marketing approaches through the use of so-called Mobility Scouts. Mobility Scouts offer assistance services as a special way to target customer groups which have temporary or permanent handicaps. The service is delivered by people who have been unemployed for a longer period of time and have now been trained specifically.

Test and comparison of on-board and off-board infotainment systems in Lille Métropole

With about 1.1 million inhabitants, Lille Métropole is – after Paris, Lyon and Marseille – the fourth largest conurbation in France in terms of size. It is also a genuine Franco-Belgian metropolitan region with in total 1.9 million people. In order to ensure that public transport can remain a key element in keeping the region going, Lille Métropole constantly seeks to improve the system. Part of this endeavour is the implementation of an off-board infotainment system. Large information screens located in various key destinations in the city centre, funded through BAPTS, provide customers with real-time information on connecting services and other local information.

Development and implementation of new contactless and smartcard-based ticketing schemes in Lille Métropole and the operational area of RMV

Most public transport journeys require the passenger to have purchased a ticket in advance or at the start of the journey. If purchasing a ticket is difficult or time consuming, this is a disincentive to travel by public transport. Conversely, if payment for public transport can be quick and simple, this can encourage people to use public transport.

Based on this understanding, the BAPTS partners Lille Métropole and RMV have hugely advanced their ticketing systems throughout the lifetime of the project. In Lille, preparing the introduction of a whole new contactless ticketing system for the entire territory, the proto-type of a ticketing machine was developed, based on a close consultation and testing processes with user groups in Lille Métropole. The aim was to make these new machines as customer friendly as possible.

The RMV has further developed its Near Field Communications (NFC) ticketing system. NFC are a means of securing wireless communication across short distances, offering various benefits also in the context of public transport.

Within BAPTS, RMV has substantially developed its NFC infrastructure. The whole area of the county Main-Taunus has, for example, been equipped with so-called NFC-tags. Moreover, due to the fact that the station poles in the county Main-Taunus are of a round shape, a new kind of ConTag holder has been developed and produced.

Design of intelligent traffic management schemes in Lille Métropole and Bielefeld

The City of Bielefeld is situated in the North-East of the Federal State of North Rhine- Westphalia/Germany. The backbone of Bielefeld’s public transport structure is the ‘Stadtbahn’, consisting of four lines. In addition to the Stadtbahn network, there is an extensive bus network, also serving regional connections. The light-rail network and the major part of the bus network are operated by moBiel, a subpartner within BAPTS.

In order to ensure smooth interchanges between the different systems in operation, Bielefeld has – within BAPTS – equipped various light-rail trains with screens providing real-time information to the customer on connecting bus services. The underlying traffic management system will also be used in order to ensure that bus services will, if possible, wait for delayed tram services.

Lille Métropole has implemented a GPSbased traffic management system within BAPTS, ensuring bus priority at crossroads. Various tests have been done to measure the effectiveness of the system.

Development and implementation of integrated multimodal transport corridors in Eindhoven and Southend-on-Sea

The City of Eindhoven is located in the South of the Netherlands. With a population of 212,000 inhabitants (733,000 in the Eindhoven region), it is the fifth largest city in the Netherlands.

Eindhoven is the home of a revolutionary public transport concept – the Phileas bus. These innovative ‘tram-on-tyres’ vehicles connect Eindhoven Airport with the Central Station on a specially laid designated bus corridor, with magnetic guidance for speed, comfort and safety. The corridor system and the ‘tram-on-tyres’ form an innovative approach to urban public transport.

In support of the existing system, the Eindhoven BAPTS activities were aimed at the further development of the bus rapid transit scheme. Based on the bus rapid transit approach (BRT), the City of Eindhoven has started to prepare and implement new bus corridors offering better services on dedicated lanes with higher speed and better services at tram level. Key elements within the BAPTS project were the involvement of citizens in the planning and consultation process for these new corridors.

Similar to Eindhoven, Southend is also following the BRT approach. Southend is located 60km to the East of London, at the mouth of the Thames estuary. The public transport system in the region will currently be improved, moving towards seamless travel between bus, rail, walking and cycling particularly to new development areas of housing, employment and education.

Within BAPTS, besides various mobility marketing related activities, Southend advanced its so-called SERT system. SERT, which stands for South Essex Rapid Transit, is a bus-based system being developed in partnership of Essex County Council, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Thurrock Council. It will connect the main housing and employment development sites within South Essex.

Implementation of new ICT-based flexible bus corridors in Nantes and Dublin

Nantes Métropole Communauté Urbaine (Greater Nantes) is the sixth largest metropolitan area in France with 580,000 inhabitants. Nantes City recently won the Green Capital award for 2013. Part of its success is a high-quality public transport system.

Within BAPTS, Nantes has focused its bus related activities mainly on the further development and implementation of the so-called Chronobus system. Chronobus is a new generation of bus system based on smart traffic management and specific urban design with the aim to achieve a service quality (efficiency and regularity) close to the existing Busway system. Through flexible and ‘moving’ bus corridors, based on intelligent traffic light management, Nantes seeks to extend its existing high-quality public transport system at much lower cost.

The BAPTS partner National Transport Authority (NTA) is a statutory body established in 2009. At a national level, the NTA has responsibility for securing the provision of public passenger land transport services. The NTA also has responsibility for the development of an integrated transport system within the Greater Dublin Area (GDA).

The NTA, through its sub-partner Dublin City Council, focused its ICTrelated activities at the implementation of an advanced vehicle location system (AVLS) for the Dublin bus network. The new system allows for detailed modelling, traffic forecasting and better connections with all other transport modes (incl. the existing LUAS system).

Development of integrated regional strategies and analysis of the wider socio-economic benefits for the re-introduction of the tram in Liège

The Belgium city of Liège is the heart of an urban area of 600,000 inhabitants, of which one third actually is living in the city centre. In order to further develop the intermodal urban transport system within BAPTS, the city of Liège, together with its local sub-partners, has developed concrete ideas for the reintroduction of a tram. The feasibility study implemented within the scope of BAPTS has not only identified routes and costs, but also outlined the wider economic social and environmental benefits of the planned scheme.

The added-value of transnational cooperation

Throughout all activities, BAPTS has put particular emphasis on transnational cooperation. Various partner meetings, the thematic workshops, symposia, site visits and best-practice presentations were held. In addition, substantial project resources have also been made available for an intense staff exchange programme, involving technicians and peers who would normally not participate in European projects.

Within the scope of the BAPTS-student placements, the project offered four students the opportunity to write their dissertations on truly transnational cases. A highlight in external communication was the active participation of the BAPTS project in the Open Days 2010 as one of 30 designated ‘Regional Partnerships.’

Based on the successful implementation of the current project and encouraged by the INTERREG-B programme for new, various BAPTS partners have already started to develop fresh ideas for a potential followup project to start in 2012.

The INTERREG NWE IVB programme

INTERREG IVB NWE is a financial instrument of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy. It funds projects which support transnational cooperation. The aim is to find innovative ways to make the most of territorial assets and tackle shared problems of Member States, regions and other authorities.

Between 2007 and 2013, the programme will invest €355 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) into the economic, environmental, social and territorial future of North-West Europe (NWE). The programme has identified four fields (so-called priorities) of intervention for the 2007-2013 period:

  • Innovation
  • Environmental challenges
  • Connectivity
  • Promoting strong and prosperous communities.

About the Authors

Georg Werdermann is a trained architect and urban designer with a strong European background. Georg studied at the University of Wismar and holds a Masters degree in European Urban Studies. He has over seven years’ experience in the field of spatial development, sustainable urban mobility and the management of large EU-funded projects, in particular INTERREG. In 2011, Georg Werdermann received his Ph.D from the Bauhaus- University Weimar.

Gregor Moss is transport commissioner of the City of Bielefeld. He studied architecture with town planning as a major field of study. After his second state examination, he worked for various cities before in 2001 he started to work for City of Bielefeld.

Changing the modal split towards more sustainable modes of transport (incl. public transport) is one of the key areas of intervention for Gregor Moss.

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