Urban Public Transport Restructuring in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic
M Finer, D Sestak, Mott MacDonald, CZ
The paper reviews a study to improve the public transport network in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, and identifies the success factors associated with the successful improvement in network efficiency and passenger growth.
Ceske Budejovice is the principal urban centre of the South Bohemia region with a population of 95000 inhabitants, which is located 150km to the south of Prague in the Czech Republic. The public transport services in the town and surrounding area bus and trolleybus lines) are provided by a single public transport company (Dopravni podnik mesta Ceske Budejovice a.s), which is owned by Municipality. The town is one of many examples where there has been an evident rise in private vehicular trips, especially since the end of the communist era in 1989. The mobility of residents and visitors currently suffers from underdeveloped transport infrastructure, which in turn influences the reliability and popularity of public transport as well.
Similar to other urban centres across the Czech Republic and Eastern Europe, changes in overall mobility, together with economic pressures across the region have continued to influence modal split figures in the town. The total number of passengers using services in Ceske Budejovice has decreased by 15% over the past 11 years, although the number of services operating is actually 17% higher, demonstrating that the network is becoming less effective in meeting local travel needs.
The present public transport system is not viewed as sustainable in terms of technical, financial and organisational aspects and Mott MacDonald has supported the city with options for restructuring the existing network. This forms part of an overall General Public Transport Plan covering a 10-year timescale aimed at stemming the decline in overall passenger demand, whilst at the same time reducing the level of service subsidy support from the Municipality. A core objective of the study involved the development of a group of short-term enhancements (?quick wins?), supplemented by other strategic measures to reconcile future transport needs and spatial planning aspirations for the town.
A critical element included building an evidence-base to support the development of new strategy for the company. ?Weak points? of the transport system were analysed, focusing on delay points on the network and line sections with overloaded or empty vehicles. Three-dimensional analysis has been used to show the relative number of passengers compared to the total capacity of vehicles, with these results used for optimising of the timetable variations during the week. Results from these surveys revealed a significant difference between the ?quality? of service across the different parts of the urban area, although all the services are in fact provided by a single operator.
The study also involved assessment of overall public transport accessibility in terms of location and time, with access to the network and services determined to inform the establishment or extension of bus lines, establishing additional stops or altering the position of existing ones. This spatial analysis was based on GIS data, including demographic data, with frequency of services, travel times, delays also being monitored. A key objective of this work was to create an attractive user-based network of commercially viable services, instead of poorly co-ordinated services, with several services originally operating on single corridors or routes. This is achieved through rationalising the service patterns, and simplifying information provided to passengers. The plan also included proposing the location of the public transport interchange points connected to new Park & Ride sites serving the town.
On the basis of future forecasts in passenger growth and the development of new services and line extensions, a plan for the rehabilitation and modernisation of the fleet will be established. Various options were for example the operation of buses with lower capacity, as well as considering deploying standard/articulated vehicles exist. The expansion of the electric trolley-bus electric services on other public transport routes has also formed part of the work to ensure a fully integrated approach to service improvements across the urban area. Proposals were prioritised into a programme of measures, in the form of organisational changes or the preparation of new projects for further development, each designed to improve the total journey quality concept to the travelling public within Ceske Budejovice. The plan has also provided recommendations on public transport for the new City Masterplan, in terms of improved accessibility to the network and access to key services.
Drawing on the results from the study in Ceske Budejovice this paper will examine more closely the success factors associated with revitalising public transport networks, paying particular attention to different approaches in Eastern Europe associated with creating a more efficient, customer-focused network that will support future passenger growth and improved urban mobility.
Association for European Transport