Transit-Oriented Development in Europe – Perspectives for Successful Implementation from the Bahn.Ville Experience

Transit-Oriented Development in Europe – Perspectives for Successful Implementation from the Bahn.Ville Experience


Gebhard Wulfhorst, Technische Universität München, Alain L'Hostis, IFFSTAR - LVMT


This contribution highlights the key findings of a 10 years action-research program on transit-oriented development in urban regions realized successfully in France and Germany. The idea is to share the results on an international level.


The Bahn.Ville action-research program on rail-oriented urban development and intermodality has been realized by an interdisciplinary team of scientists and local experts on the level of metropolitan regions in France and Germany.
The objective of this program has been to proceed from the analysis of integrated concepts and successful processes by best practices, system modelling and general recommendations (Bahn.Ville 1, 2001 - 2005) to identifying the conditions for successful implementation (Bahn.Ville 2, 2007 - 2013). A strategic framework and dedicated methodological tools have been developed for the identification, the implementation and the assessment of dedicated measures for transit-oriented development. The approaches have exemplarily been implemented along two reference lines in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region and the St. Etienne agglomeration (Greater Lyon metropolitan area). The feedback between research and practice as well as the exchange between the German and French teams enables a transfer of knowledge and experiences to diverse situations. It is expected that from the specific findings perspectives can be discussed for a successful implementation of transit-oriented development as a contribution to more sustainable mobility across Europe.
Based on diverse methodologies including quantitative surveys, accessibility mapping, qualitative interviews with users, and stakeholder involvement the following Bahn.Ville quality criteria have been established:
- An attractive regional railway supply is competitive in relation to the private car on major corridors, providing attractive, comfortable links (destinations, material, frequencies, operating hours, …), fostered by marketing of the railway supply as a regional location factor as well as information and consulting services for different target groups (e.g. seniors, frequent car drivers, …).
- A transit-oriented urban development is concentrating the spatial development of an urban region on the railway network (accessibility of nodes), is making use of brownfields for urban revitalisation / inner development, provides an attractive design of stations and station surroundings (as an urban place), and is complemented by location choice consulting of new residents and firms as well as location-based mobility management (mobility plans, households, …)
- High quality neighbourhood networks give easy access to the station and the train by non-motorised modes for all (at the station everybody becomes a “pedestrian”), based on high quality intermodal services for the bike (B+R, Bike on board, public bikes, …) and direct links to pedestrian axis and cycle networks, social safety, vital public spaces, lighting, orientation, etc.. Urban density, functional diversity and slow-modes network design (the “3 D”) are asked to provide the necessary urban qualities in the direct surrounding.
- Additional measures help to link the rural areas to the railway corridor, such as coordinated timetables of rail and bus, dynamic user information, common fares and integrated ticketing in all public transport modes in the urban region. Regional concepts and local arbitrage of P+R facilities as well as public services and basic accessibility by flexible public transport (para-transit, car-sharing, guaranteed ride home, …) are essential.
- Integrated planning processes enable interdisciplinary communication and development
(across urbanism, transport, economy, landscape and land management …). The local commitment to regional issues as well as the involvement of public authorities, stakeholders and users are a pre-requisite.
- Last but not least, a clear commitment on the regional level for a common future is necessary, including the establishment of a common background for planning (data, methods, analysis, workshops), a sound arbitrage between flexibility and authority in the regional planning instruments (SCOT, RegFNP), a high quality of inter-communal cooperation, esp. with respect to land-allocation and investment and, finally, strategic investment and operation by appropriate financing and funding schemes.
The contribution will highlight selected case-study findings of the Bahn.Ville program and make proof of the transfer to other urban regions within Germany and France (e.g. Lille and Munich metropolitan regions). Perspectives for a broader transfer and potential future applications on the European level will be shared. It has been criticized several times that the insights from the Bahn.Ville program have mainly been communicated on the national level – this paper finally will overcome this shortcoming. We are happy to discuss future ambitions in the field.


Association for European Transport