The development program for tram routes 2, 3 and 7 drawn up by HSL sets out a range of measures to improve the operating environment of tram services in order to increase the speed and reliability of the services.
In order to ensure the smooth operation of tram services, track tracks must be clearly separated from other traffic and improve parking of cars must be effectively prevented.
Smooth operation of tram services needs space
Cars parked too close to tram tracks are remarkably common along the routes of trams 2, 3 and 7. The plan proposes erecting physical barriers at some no parking areas to ensure that the prohibition is observed. In addition, parking spaces should be more clearly marked than at present and parking should be completely prohibited in areas where is disturbs the running of tram services. As parking causes the most disturbances during winters with heavy snow, winter maintenance of streets must be made more efficient.
In 2012, tram services were disrupted over 700 times because of improperly parked cars HSL estimates that the disruptions could be reduced by about 20 per cent with the measures included in the development program.
The lack of designated lanes slows trams but new lanes cannot be built because of the narrow streets. However, trams can be cost-effectively separated from other traffic with curbs. Curbs can be constructed so that they do not disturb other traffic.
The programs sets out also measures to improve traffic safety and develop traffic signal priorities. The program consist of 36 measures.
Saving money and travel time
The development program for tram routes 2, 3 and 7 was drawn up in cooperation with the Helsinki City Planning Department and HKL. Information about the problem spots on the routes was also collected from tram drivers, who submitted a total of 150 comments.
The measures proposed in the program are socio-economically profitable. They are estimated to cost EUR 417,000 while the benefits of the measures over a 20 year calculation period total EUR 2.45 million, of which savings in operating costs account for EUR 0.57 million.
The development program also improves public transport service level by improving the reliability of services and shortening journey times. HSL proposes to the City of Helsinki that the planning of the implementation of the program should be started at the beginning of 2014.