Do you know what an integrated clock-face timetable is? It’s a technique to optimise networks of public transport lines. It ensures that at all important transfer nodes, trains and busses from different direction arrive simultaneously and, a few minutes later, they all depart again in different directions. In this way, passengers have short transfers times in all directions. This concept was first developed in Switzerland and this nationwide timetable under the name of ‘Bahn 2000’ has ensured optimum integration of all public transport for several decades now.
Since over a decade, the German federal government has been supporting the initiative to develop a nationwide integrated clock-face timetable in Germany, under the name Deutschlandtakt. To avoid any unnecessary waiting time at the German-Swiss border, the Deutschlandtakt timetable will be fully integrated with the Bahn 2000 timetable. The Deutschlandtakt also defines a fixed timetable for the cross-border trains to all other neighbours of Germany.
Several people have raised the idea that the integrated network of Bahn 2000 + Deutschlandtakt should be extended much further. Ideally, there should be an integrated timetable that includes all long-distance, regional and local public transport on the level of the EU or maybe even including further parts of Europe. The term coined for this European counterpart of the Deutschlandtakt is ‘Europatakt’.
Europatakt means that you can travel with a local or regional train to the nearest bigger city, where you will have a short and smooth transfer to a long-distance train that brings you to a city in another part of Europe. When this long-distance train arrives at another hub city, you will have a choice of several regional trains and buses in different directions that will depart after only a short waiting time. If waiting times are short and transfers are comfortable and reliable, public transport becomes an attractive option also if there is no direct connection from your origin to your destination, which will be the case in the majority of trips on the European continent, with so many small and middle-size cities spread over a large area.
Does this concept sound attractive? And does it sound familiar to the ideas and imaginations that you associate with metropa? It is clear that the ‘European railway network’ as imagined by metropa also needs to have a well coordinated timetable. To make travel as seamless and attractive as possible, the imagined ‘metro’ lines that cross the continent will run at a regular interval throughout the day, every day of the year. At all transfer stations, trains of different lines will meet at the same time. Wherever possible, the important transfers will be offered cross-platform, meaning that your connecting train is waiting for you on the opposite side of the same platform. You can continue your journey after only a few minutes. When combined with the advantages of integrated clock-face timetabling, the European railway network becomes a rail ‘metro’ experience. After Deutschlandtakt and Europatakt, we present you: metropatakt !