Prague is looking to better integrate the future development of the metro system with train lines, and this will make it easier to develop new residential areas. In the past trains and trams were competitors, but in the future they will been to complement each other.
The last long-term look at metro development was at the start of the 21st century, and is already out of date as it does not take into account changes in where people live and how they commute.
The City Council and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) are preparing a long-term strategy for the Prague metro network, based on a proposal by Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Praha sobě), repsonsible for transport, and Deputy Mayor Petr Hlaváček (United Force for Prague), responsible for territorial development.
The proposal maps out possibilities for covering Prague’s area by additional metro lines, following the changes made by the new Metropolitan Plan, tram track development strategy and a current study commissioned by the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) on the feasibility of the rebuilding Prague’s railway junctions.
The city’s new approaches to urban density and expansion mean that rail transit must also be re-assessed, and a new concept made using up-to-date economic and demographic data. City Hall said it wants to develop the strategic concept based on efficiency, and without political or subjective pressure.
“The last comprehensive study for the development of public transport is from 2001. Of course, Prague has changed since then, thanks to the proposed Metropolitan Plan we know where it will continue to develop, and it is time to map how the growing city will be best covered by transport links,” Deputy Mayor Scheinherr said.
“We have a strategy for developing the tram network and the railway in Prague. In synergy with SŽDC’s commissioned study on the development of railway lines, the IPR will also prepare a strategy for developing the metro network,” he added.
Deputy Mayor Hlaváček said that the city’s development is based on infrastructure, and Prague’s metro is a key component. “It is no longer possible to separate the preparation of transport structures from other levels of the city. With a good long-term strategy for developing the metro network, we can better develop other areas suitable for housing and job placement,” Hlaváček said.
IPR Director Ondřej Boháč stressed the importance of the new conceptual document being created with the close cooperation of the two deputy mayors and with contributions from IPR and other professional institutions.
“I would like to emphasize the conceptual and visionary approach, which will undoubtedly create new metro lines or new connections that must synergistically reflect the metropolis’s development and the growing demand for mobility for the 21st century. For IPR, it is a tradition and a great honor to be at the management of such a study,” he said.
The starting point for the study is the recently approved Sustainable Mobility Plan, which in addition to the existing routes also foresees a new metro line D in the Depo Písnice to Náměstí Míru section. The strategy will be developed following the anticipated development of the city and the metropolitan area, as seen in the Sustainable Mobility Plan, the draft of the new Metropolitan Plan and other key documents such as the Strategic Plan.
According to Scheinherr, the subway is used by drivers who would otherwise drive. The metro can transport large numbers of people over long distances, and unlike trams that are have one-quarter of the capacity, the metro is the artery of the entire city.
Urban railways play a similar function in many European countries. However, it is important to emphasize that, unlike the 1980s, when the metro replaced trams, it is now clear that every vehicle has its passengers. That is why the study certainly does not mean that some proposed tram connections will no longer be important.
“In Prague, it will be important for us to connect with the railway, whose development plan is currently being prepared by SŽDC. Historically, the railways and the metro in Prague were unnecessarily competing because they railway used to transport coal, not passengers. For this reason, the metro line B copies the railway tracks, where a comfortable city line runs today. In the new metro and urban rail synergy strategy for Praguers, we will prepare fast and quality connections across the city to complement each other,” Scheinherr said.