Bybanen – Bergen Light Rail
On march 13th 2000, the City Council of Bergen, Norway selected the alignment for the construction of light rail transit line between the centre of the city and the airport at Flesland. The system is known locally as Bybanen.
In order to be realized, the project required a financing package based on cooperation between the national and local governments. This package is known as the Bergen Program for transportation, urban development and environment. Local funding for this program is based on a 20-year extension of the city´s toll ring which has been collecting tools from motorists since 1986 and which was initially approved in December 2002.
A revised budget for this funding scheme, including a preliminary budget for the light rail project, was approved by the Norwegian Parliament («Stortinget«) on 28th February 2006. A final budget for the project was approved in the Parliament in December 2007 and construction was formally started on January 7th 2008.
The first phase, from city centre (Byparken) to Nesttun, a distance of approximately 10 kilometres is finished. The second phase from Nesttun to Lagunen opened in June 2013. The third phace from Lagunen to Flesland will be finished during 2016.
The entire line will directly serve about 25% of the regions population and will be integrated with existing bus services throughout the corridor of operation. Stations will be integrated with the local transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicycles; many stations will also include parking spaces for commuters.
Topographically, Bergen is ideal for public transit. Because of the mountains, the population is concentrated in valleys which are under 2 kilometers wide and radiate from the city centre. A light rail transit line will help improve the efficiency of the existing transit system, offer substantial capacity along the busiest corridor in the region, provide an attractive alternative to the private automobile with frequent and reliable service and will stimulate higher density development within the served corridor.
On may 29th 2007, the city of Bergen and Stadler Pankow signed a development contract for twelve modern low-floor light rail vehicles. This contract includes technical and cosmetic desigh of the vehicles, as well as planning of he homologation process with the Norwegian Railway Inspectorate. The production contract for the delivery of the twelve vehicles in 2009-20010 was singed on January 25th 2008 and includes maintenace of the vehicle fleet for an 8 year period. The first vehicle arrived in Bergen on the 8th of December 2009. In 2014 there are so far 20 vehicles operating. Within 2016 every tram will be extended with 10 more meters, making them 42 meters long. This will increase the amount of passengers that can travel with bybanen.
Plans are already being developed for future extensions to other sections of the city, including Fyllingsdalen and Loddefjord to the west, and Sandviken/Åsane to the north. A link connecting the main regional hospital to the city centre using an existing rail line is also under study.
What we wish to achieve
We want to decrease the growth in traffic. Replace the greatest part of the growth in traffic by public transport. We want to reduce the environmental issues caused by traffic. Shield the city center from unwanted pressure from traffic. We want to build a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road system and reduce the number of traffic accidents.
The line today
First phase: Byparken – Nesttun.
Second phase: Nesttun – Lagunen
Design project: Bergen Light rail
In june 2006, the winners of the international proclaimed design competition for Bergen Light Rail were announced. The winners were the Architect Group Cubus, Fuggi Baggi Design and T-Michael, all from Bergen, and Kontragroup from Copenhagen.
The design project involves landscape architecture, industrial design, graphic design, textile design and branding. This involves working with principles for landscape architecture, designing and furnishing of stops, exterior and interior designs of the trams, uniforms for the conductors, graphic profile and branding strategy. Together, this forms a comprehensive design program for Bergen Light Rail.
When it comes to the design of the light rail, it is the user that is the main focus, and we are striving to make the solutions as user friendly as possible. The trams will have a low-rise floor without threshold. The floor will be level inside the vehicle. This, together with stops that has ramps and guidelines will make the light rail more accessible to people with wheelchairs and stroller.
The light rail will also consist of a modern informational system, which will show updated information about travel time, when the next one is coming and your location.