Mannheim: Simulation of public transport expansion at the central station

The public transport stop Mannheim Central Station had reached its limits. That’s why the Rhein-Neckar-Verkehr GmbH (RNV) is investing in the expansion of public transport offerings for bus and train. Before the start of construction from 2020-2026, PTV was commissioned to provide a transport study. (Photo: RNV)

How can we make our public transport system more attractive and fit for the future? The experts at PTV Transport Consult will advise you about how to enhance your public transport.

Evaluating public transport capacity

Project description

The Mannheim Central Station stop is one of the stops with the highest passenger volumes on the entire RNV network; however, the design and equipment of the stop are no longer capable of meeting the high requirements: The platform is too short, it is not accessible, and the crossing possibilities are not in keeping with the modern standard. In order to guarantee attractive, high-performance public transport offerings in the future, the bus and tram stop needs to be expanded. PTV Transport Consult was commissioned to create a transport impact study for the planning process.


Examining two expansion variants

In PTV Transport Consult’s transport impact study, two variants of the expansion and shifting of the platforms were examined.

Variant 1: four new parallel platforms (two in each direction) on the Kaiserring and dismantling of the current three platforms in front of the central station

Variant 2: Retention of two existing platforms (in the direction of the city center) and new construction of two platforms on the Kaiserring (in the direction of Beckenbuckel/University).

Both variants were thoroughly examined in terms of traffic engineering and transport planning.


Multi-modal simulation

To be able to evaluate the impact of both variants on the overall traffic situation at the train station, the PTV experts ran a microsimulation with PTV Vissim. It simulated not just the trams and buses, but also passenger car traffic, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

In addition, the layover times of the trams were mapped in detail in order to reveal the real operation as precisely as possible.


Traffic-actuated signal control concept

For the planning variants, a complex traffic-actuated signal control system was developed, which prioritizes public transport. The basis for this was the enhanced signaling concept for the existing signal control system.


Overall assessment

PTV’s consultants examined the expansion variants with regard to the advantages and disadvantages of various aspects. From the navigation of the buses to the signal control on through to road safety.

Furthermore, the performance and susceptibility to failure of operations in public transport were examined, the travel times analyzed, and the transfer possibilities evaluated.

As a result of the transport study, a preferred variant was selected for which the planning process was initiated.

The survey served the RNV and City of Mannheim as the basis for their modernization concept.

The transport study is one of the key documents required for the planning process to expand and modernize the stop.

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