Improving the International Accessibility of Eindhoven by Rail
C D van Goeverden, Delft University of Technology, NL; P M Peeters, NHTV Breda University of International Education, NL
International rail connections to Eindhoven are deficient. The paper proposes some cost-effective ways to improve rail services and evaluates them on impacts on the level of service, passenger volumes, and cost-effectiveness.
European policy is directed at revitalising rail transport. However, development of international passenger rail transport has difficulties to keep pace with the development of international air and car transport. This should partly be ascribed to deficient connections by rail to a number of urban agglomerations. This is true, among others, for the international connections with Eindhoven, a city in the south of the Netherlands. Eindhoven is the central city of an agglomeration with about 400,000 inhabitants. It seeks to become a large international knowledge and technology centre. To facilitate this development high quality international passenger transport connections are important. Currently international rail services to Eindhoven are poor. There is no direct train service to the neighbouring countries Belgium and Germany, transfer times are long and on some connections the vehicle speeds are low. At the request of the municipality of Eindhoven, an investigation has been done to find cost-effective ways to raise the service level substantially. The paper discusses the method and results.
The analysis starts with mapping the current level of service in number of transfers, transfer times, average speeds and travel time ratios (travel time by rail transport relative to the car) on the main international relations to Eindhoven. The service level is compared to the levels reached on the international rail connection to two other Dutch cities: Rotterdam and Arnhem.
Next, a number of variants for improving international train services are proposed based on the bottlenecks in the current level of service and a brainstorm with representatives of administrative and tourist sectors in Eindhoven and rail transport operators. Five variants regard the services to Germany and four those to Belgium. The variants range from improving train services on the current rail infrastructure (low investments) to introducing high speed train services including building high speed rail infrastructure (high investments). All Belgian variants include the high speed line between Breda and Antwerp that is planned to be opened in 2007. The first Belgian variant is the expected situation after opening of this line, the other Belgian variants include additional improvements.
Finally, the variants are evaluated on their impacts on the level of service, passenger volumes, and cost-effectiveness for the year 2010. The variants are compared to a reference situation, which is the current situation for the relations to Germany and the situation in 2007 for the relations to Belgium (equal to the first Belgian variant).
The service levels of the variants are mapped in a similar way as those of the current situation. Compared to the reference situation, all variants show significant reductions in number of transfers as well as in travel times. In the German variants travel times decrease with about 30% to 50%. In the Belgium variants, travel time reductions range from about 15% to 25%. The higher the investments in rail infrastructure, the higher are the travel time reductions.
Increases in passenger volumes of 150% to 450% are expected for travellers from Eindhoven to Germany and vice versa. On the relations from Eindhoven to Belgium the estimated increases vary from 60% to 90%. Because most other regions in the south of the Netherlands also benefit from the improvements, they will attract more international train travellers as well. The estimated growth in total demand for international train services to or from the south of the Netherlands is 100-350% via the German border and 20-80% via the Belgian border.
The financial evaluation clarifies that in the low investments variants the marginal costs have about the same size as the marginal revenues. So, a substantial improvement of services is possible without increasing deficits. However, the high investments variants are not cost-effective.
The implications of the Eindhoven study for international rail development in the EU are discussed by showing that with relatively low investments in infrastructure, and a well-placed improvement of the levels of service, a large contribution can be made to the EU rail policy.
Association for European Transport