About Urban Transport

To develop traffic or the city? | Life Cycle Approach |

To develop traffic or the city?


The main street of Reims in France is currently very pleasant and livable. Before the new tram it was shabby and full of cars.

The new tram systems in Europe have changed the traffic system of the city, but also the city itself. Especially the city centre. And in many cases, this has been the purpose of implementing a tram. The idea has been to reshape the old city filled by cars to a common living room of the citizens. And that to enter the city is not only for those having a car and a driving license.

In many cases, when building a tram, the streets and in some cases also the facades of the buildings are redeveloped. When this redeveloping has been done together with the tram building, the cost may have been included into the cost of the tram. This may have caused the costs to double, making the tram to look very expensive. But in many European countries it is possible to tax the benefit the tram causes to cover the building costs. So everybody wins when business does better and the city can cover the cost of creating the base for doing well.

Another benefit is to be able to make the city grow to inside of itself. A tram is the most effective way to use the street space for traffic. This means, that along the tram route it is possible to build more apartments and business space as beside a car road. The benfit for the citizens is to shorten travelling time and distance and make the city's services better accessible. The benfit for the city is lower expences of public utilities like pipeline and cable networks and in other initial infrastructure building.

Life Cycle Approach

Public transport system or any of it's components are not disposables. Especially parts of rail transport systems are very long term assets. Rolling stock and trackwork including their structures use to have 30–50 years life time. During their life time there may become generated 3 to 5 times as much expenses as what was the purchase price of these assets.

Life Cycle Approach (LCA) is far wider idea than only Life Cycle Cost (LCC). Life Cycle Approach means that the coming life cycle will be taken into accound already in the planning and design phase. Both structural and functional features will be based on the fact that the item will be in service for years, during which the operating environment and the components of the item itself may and will change.

Life Cycle Approach includes f.ex. life time maintenance and a plan for a possible extending of the life time. Also the planned refurbishment is part of Life Cycle Approach. As an example, IT techolgy ages out within 5 to 8 years. And usually it is best both economically and functionally to renew IT equpments when aged out. This has to be taken to account in the structure of the main unit.

Nr2 lisäpalalla

The articulated trams from 1970's of Helsinki City Transport are extended with a low floor middle section to extend the life cycle of the units.

Updates 18.10.2017.