Swansea Metro Project(Bus Rapid Transit)

Swansea Metro Project(Bus Rapid Transit)


Gwyn Ephraim, Arup, UK; David Whitehead, City and County of Swansea, UK


Paper describes infrastructure design for a road-based Bus Rapid Transit system. Presentation includes Microsimulation of city centre busway, video of prototype articulated bus, and infrastructure plans. First phase construction from June 2006.


[NOTE: This paper will be supported by visual demonstrations including Micro-simulation movies of VISSIM analyses, Video presentations of actual Streetcar vehicle, Scaled colour plans of infrastructure layout; Colour Route Maps]


The City and County of Swansea in partnership with FirstGroup has developed proposals for a ?Bus Rapid Transit? system for Swansea. The bus vehicle is articulated, and aims to offer a tram-like operation to potential passengers. A prototype is in operation.

The Bus Rapid Transit system is termed as Swansea Metro, and consists of the following elements:

a. On-Street Infrastructure: Priority vehicle infrastructure along the 15km Metro corridor, consisting of priority measures and busways (with operational qualities similar to tramways).

b. The Vehicle: An articulated bus vehicle, termed as StreetCar, with the appearance and general qualities of a tram ? but running on-street on rubber tyres, not a fixed track.

c. Fast automated ticketing system: Automatic ticket machines both on and off-vehicle are proposed.

d. Enhanced waiting facilities: Bus stop waiting facilities will need to be of a high quality, incorporating Real Time Passenger Information and high specification bus shelters.

First Group are responsible for developing the vehicle and associated ticketing systems. Arup is undertaking design of infrastructure on behalf of the City & County of Swansea.

2.1 Design Principles: The principles followed are:

a. Provide tram-like priority wherever possible to maintain continuity of StreetCar route and enhance passenger perception of service.

b. Limit impact on highway capacity for general traffic.

2.2 Infrastructure Elements: The infrastructure designed ncludes:
a. Mini-bypasses of roundabouts giving priority to buses.
b. Use of Park & Ride busway.
c. City centre one-way system, with a segregated two-way busway.
d. Off-road westbound busway on current alignment of seafront cycleway / walkway.

Detailed investigations of junction capacity have been undertaken. The whole of the proposed central area ?one-way system? has been modelled using micro-simulation techniques (using VISSIM). Capacity tests indicate that the proposed infrastructure will accommodate StreetCar movements and existing traffic, pedestrian and cycle movements.

4.1 Objective-led Appraisal: The funding authority (The Welsh Assembly Government) requires an Objective-led appraisal ? that is, all activities and decisions should arise from established aims with respect to transport and associated policy (eg to provide cross-city journeys, to link city hospitals by public transport).

The main conclusions of the assessment are:
a. the Metro system will have an overall moderate / major benefit;
b. the Metro system meets a number of the local authority transport and planning objectives;
c. the Metro proposal fits with national and local land-use and transport policies, as well as other policies for health, leisure, education and the community; and
d. the Metro system is assessed as being ?implementable? in terms of technical, operational, financial, and public response issues.

4.2 Journey Time estimations. Estimated that current journey time (between Morriston Hospital and Mumbles) at off-peak periods of around 75 minutes will be reduced to around 55 minutes with the Metro system in place.

4.3 Estimated Implementation costs: Cost estimates for the infrastructure and vehicle / ticketing elements of the Metro system have been estimated.

a. Construction detailed design in progress
b. Programmed first phase city centre busway July 2006
c. Phased implementation 2006-07
d. StreetCar introduced 2007.


Association for European Transport