Moscow wins international transport award
Sergei Sobyanin took part in the International Transport Forum (ITF) held in Leipzig. Hemet with Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung. The two mayors visited a Russian memorial church built in honour of the Russian soldiers who perished in the Battle of the Nations in 1813.
The International Transport Forum is an inter-governmental organisation with 57 member states. It was set up in 2006 and was based on the European Conference of Ministers of Transport, which has been meeting since 1953. Russia joined the organisation in 2006.
The ITF meets annually to discuss important transport issues. The meetings are attended by influential transport officials, representatives of non-governmental transport organisations and businessmen from all over the world. The forum created its own award – the ITF Transport Award, which is presented annually to urban and regional authorities from various countries for achievements in transport development.
This year, the award went to Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure Development of Moscow. The jury praised the Russian capital’s achievements in improving the traffic situation and its coherent “initiatives that facilitated the remarkable changes.”
“Let me thank you for your high appraisal of the achievements in the Moscow transport sector,” Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said at the awards ceremony. “I don’t think it means that Moscow traffic is perfect and that there are no problems. But this is an appreciation of the efforts of a vast number of people who have agreed to work together and make the city a comfortable place to live. These are tens of thousands of workers in the metro, in surface transit, thousands of taxi drivers, and tens of thousands of Moscow builders. Through our cooperation, we have made progress on issues that seemed to be unsolvable in this big city. This award is another incentive for us to move forward with our plans.”
He said that Moscow’s authorities had been trying for five years to address one of the city’s main headaches – the traffic, tackling it from different angles but under the same plan. “It involved building new metro lines, flyovers, roads, bridges, restoring main roads, creating designated lanes for public transit, upgrading public transit, re-creating the taxi system, sorting out parking in the streets and a whole set of other solutions, including the Intelligent Transport System. These measures altogether have produced positive results, and we have achieved some initial improvements - from unthinkably heavy traffic, when the city almost ground to a halt, to the point where Moscow began to move, breathe, there is now more space for pedestrians, bicyclists and for a more comfortable life in our city,” the mayor said.
He also said the main indicators of the city’s successful policies were more regular public transit operations, an average traffic speed increasing of 10-12% and accident statistics declining by nearly 30%. “These are the first results of our multi-pronged approach, and we intend to stick to it. In the near future, we expect dozens of metro stations to be put into operation. We also plan to complete the reconstruction of all the city’s outbound motorways and to continue with our public transit programme. I think all these things and others will bring us even closer to resolving the city’s transport problems,” Sobyanin said.
Representatives from various countries at the forum showed interest in Moscow’s approach to transport problems, and the city will be happy to share it, said Maxim Liksutov, deputy mayor and head of the Department of Transport and Road Infrastructure Development. “This is the most prestigious forum among transport officials. Of course, the award the Moscow government won today demonstrates that not only people in Moscow have noticed the changes in the city’s transport system but also the entire global transport community. Experts call this forum the transport Davos, it is highly respected among transport organisations in the world,” he said.
The ITF award is not the first international award presented to Moscow for improving traffic. In January, Moscow was shortlisted and came out second among contenders for the Sustainable Transport Award 2016 from the Institute for Transportation and Development (New York). The jury highlighted the remarkable achievements in creating a comfortable transport and urban environment in Moscow.
Major achievements of Moscow transport improvements in 2011–2016
Transport system modernisation is undoubtedly a priority for the Moscow government. It has been pursuing a transport development programme, the most ambitious in Europe, along with the Russian Government and the Moscow Region authorities since 2011. The top priorities of the programme are to improve pedestrian movement, public transit, to improve the flow of all public transit passengers in the city, create transport access for people with limited mobility, to improve traffic flow, increase traffic safety and to reduce vehicle emissions, to promote alternative means of transport (bicycle, car-sharing), and to increase the efficiency of freight movement logistics.
The work on the programme first stabilized and in 2013-14 consistently improved the transport situation in the capital.
Traffic in Moscow has seen much improvement. Congestion has been reduced in time and intensity, and the average speed has gone up 12%. The number of cars entering the city centre has dropped by 25% and the average vehicle journey from the outskirts to the centre now takes16% less time.
TomTom (tomtom.com), a leading traffic congestion index, has been recording traffic congestion declines in Moscow for two years now. In 2013, Moscow’s traffic was ranked the worst in the world. In 2015, it was ranked fifth (behind worse traffic in Mexico City, Bangkok, Istanbul and Rio). According to TomTom, the Moscow congestion index dropped from 57% in 2012 to 44% (time lost compared to free-flowing traffic) in 2015. For comparison, the congestion index of Mexico City, the worst city for congestion, was 59% last year.
INRIX (inrix.com) said Muscovites spent an average of 57 hours in traffic jams in 2015, which is less than London, Los Angeles or New York (101, 81 and 73 hours respectively).
Opinion polls also demonstrate public approval of the changes in traffic patterns. In 2011, 34% of the respondents in Moscow said the transport sector was one of the worst problems facing the city. This year, that number dropped to 11%.
Reduced traffic has improved the response times of ambulances, rescue services and firefighters. The average response time for an ambulance to arrive at the site of an traffic accident has dropped by 50% to eight minutes in 2015.
Roads in Moscow have also become more secure. Accident statistics involving material damage and human injuries have been reduced by 30%.
An increasing number of people choose to travel by public transit. In 2015, the number of public transit trips in Moscow was 640 million higher than in 2010. Last year, trips on all types of transit totaled 5.74 billion, including 2.42 billion metro trips, 680 million by commuter train, 340 million by suburban bus, 2.2 billion by surface transit in general, and 100 million by taxi.
The percent of public transit in the average daily passenger flow mix has increased from 58% in 2010 to 64% in 2015 (before 2010, there was a reverse trend towards fewer public transit users).
The improved traffic in the city and the transition to Euro 5 fuel standards have reduced vehicle emissions from 90kg in 2010 to 77 kg in 2015 per resident per year. Air pollution in Moscow has decreased by 11%.
In 2011-2015, the city built 34 km of new metro lines, 18 new stations and an additional entrance lobby. Around 1.5 million people live, work or study near the new metro stations. The metro now reaches the Troitsky and NovomoskovskyAdministrative areas (Rumyantsevo and Salaryevo stations).
As many as 1,500 new metro carriages have been purchased. Thanks to a 30-percent renewal of the rolling stock and higher operational efficiency, per-carriage passenger density decreased by six percent from 2010 and is not exceeding the density standard of 4.5 persons per sq m. Nearly 1.4 million additional passenger spaces per day (20 percent of average daily passenger traffic) were created.
Although in terms of transport density, the Moscow Metro is the world’s busiest underground rail system (39 pairs of trains during peak hours), the average number of service interruptions (malperformance) is not more than two per one million carriage/km, which is the best performance in the world (in London’s Underground for comparison: 32 pairs of trains during peak hours with 22 service interruptions (malperformance) per one million carriage/km.)
Free Wi-Fi is available on all metro lines with 2.5 million connections per day.
To improve passenger safety and prevent terrorist acts, all metro stations are equipped with bag check units.
Public surface transit
Moscow has taken delivery of 5,700 new low-floor buses, trolley-buses and trams. Mosgortrans the city carrier, now has one of the most modern and youngest bus fleets in Europe (the average age of Moscow’s buses is less than five years). About 98 percent of the buses are adapted for low-mobility passengers.
The city has 230 km of designated transit lanes that are used by 1.4 million passengers a day.
More than 5,000 bus stops have been upgraded and 534 digital info displays installed. Also, 11 night routes were launched.
A new surface transit operating system, scheduled for service this summer, will integrate commercial carriers (shuttle vans) into the city’s surface transit mix and will introduce uniform service standards for all carries.
The new system will require commercial carriers to comply with uniform city-regulated transit fares, accept transit cards (Troika and other cards), offer discounts or free rides to passengers entitled to travel privileges, comply with technical maintenance standards, observe schedules and meet passenger safety requirements.
The switch to the new system means that the bus routes operated by Mosgortrans and commercial carriers have to be optimised to eliminate overlapping routes, and waiting intervals had to be reduced and schedules balanced. Each route was assessed in terms of what type of vehicles would best suit its passenger needs (small, medium, large or extra-large capacity buses).
Special state transit service contracts are being concluded with private companies through online auctions. The city currently has contracts with commercial carriers for 211 bus routes.
So far, five carriers operating 69 routes are using the new system. This summer, 1,500 new buses will be put into service on the remaining 142 routes, each adapted for low-mobility passengers, equipped with air conditioning, route maps and information displays, onboard navigators and communications devices, radio stations and video surveillance systems and will meet emission standards no lower than the Euro 4 level.
Commuter rail service
Last year, the Moscow commuter rail system carried 680 million people, 40 percent more than in 2010 (480 million).
A fourth mainline track on the Oktyabrskaya Railway, between Leningradsky Railway Station and Kryukovo, was put into operation, which made it possible to launch fast Lastochka commuter trains on this route. As a result, the travel time between Moscow and Zelenograd was almost cut in half from 57 to 25 minutes. Almost 22,000 people use Lastochkas daily and passenger traffic increases by 2-3 percent a month.
Under the 2011-2015 commuter rail transit modernisation programme adopted by Russian Railways and the Moscow City Government, nine railway stations and the surrounding grounds were revamped and upgraded and 290 passenger platforms (outdoor stops) in Moscow and the Moscow region were repaired. The rolling stock is being renewed: modern comfortable trains are replacing the outdated equipment.
A new commuter rail route was launched, from the Kievsky Railway Station to Novo-Peredelkino. Also, to increase the volume of commuter rail services on the Yaroslavl, Gorky and Kursk lines, additional mainline tracks are being built, including the Aviatsionnaya-Aeroport section that will improve transportation accessibility of Domodedovo airport.
Finally, the Smaller Moscow Belt Railway will open for passenger service this year.
Taxi and car sharing
In 2015, the number of licensed taxis in Moscow reached 60,000. Better taxi booking services, more taxi stands and less congested roads cut the average taxi waiting time from 30 minutes in 2010 to seven minutes. The number of taxi rides increased to about 300,000 per day.
Last year, a short-term car-share rental system became available in Moscow for the first time. It currently has 700 cars and more than 70,000 registered users who took 220,000 short drives during this period.
In 2015, the number of rides taken through the city bike-share system reached 880,000, which is eight times more than in 2014. A total of 2,600 bicycles are currently available at 300 city bike-share stations across the city.
In 2011-2015, the overall route length of bicycle lanes in Moscow took on new life, going from almost none (2.3 km) to 216 km. Traffic laws were amended to allow bicyclists to use the designated transit lanes and to eliminate extra fares for bringing bicycles on surface transit vehicles.
This year, electric bicycle rentals will be tested.
In 2011-2015, surface transit fares were reduced by 35 percent in real terms.
Troika became the most popular travel card in Russia. In 2015, the number of Troika holders reached 6.1 million and the number of card refill terminals reached 40,000. An NFC-based travel payment system was launched (a mobile phone application for Troika). The city transit system offers payment options based on the latest technology.
More than half of all metro rides and surface transit tickets are paid for with a Troika card. The card is also accepted at the Zoo, the Planetarium and at city skating rinks.
With Troika and other travel cards in circulation, queues at ticket offices decreased by a third and bus drivers sold three times fewer tickets to boarding passengers.
More than 400 km of roads were built or rebuilt in Moscow in 2011-2015, which is 2.5 times more than during the previous five years. The road system has been extended by 10 percent. Eight outbound motorways (Varshavskoye, Leningradskoye, Yaroslavskoye, Kashyrskoye, Mozhayskoye, Entuziastov, Ryazansky Prospekt, a section from Balaklavsky Prospekt to Rublyovskoye Motorway) were rebuilt and now include a total of 150 km of designated transit lanes. In addition, 13 interchanges on the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) were comprehensively rebuilt.
Most of the previously launched road construction projects that had been “frozen” for years were now completed. These include the Alabyano-Baltiysky Tunnel; Varshavskoye Motorway from the MKAD to Shcherbinka (reconstruction); flyovers at the intersection of Marshala Zhukova Prospekt; Krasnopresnensky Prospekt from Zhivopisnaya Street to Silikatny Proyezd (reconstruction), a second motorway exit from the Kurkino District; a motorway between Zvenigorodskoye Motorway and the Moskva-City business centre.
In addition, 118 overpasses, tunnels and bridges and 140 pedestrian crossings were built.
In 2011-2015, 905,000 parking spaces were marked in Moscow (including parking structures for 220,000 cars that are capital facilities). Additional parking appeared at park-and-ride facilities near peripheral metro stations, in courtyards and in parking garages.
In 2012, a paid parking system was launched, which covers traffic-intensive areas of the city. More than 67,000 parking spaces for physically handicapped drivers were designated. Consequently, parking was put in order. There are far fewer cars parked on sidewalks and causing problems for pedestrians. What’s more, traffic in the central districts has improved and the number of parking violations has plummeted by 65 percent.
Revenue from parking fees is transferred to the districts where the fees were collected.
Tighter pollution regulations
To reduce air pollution and improve the ecological situation, restrictions for heavy truck traffic in the city were imposed in 2013. Only trucks with exhaust emissions meeting Euro 3 and higher standards were allowed in. More than 900 road cameras were installed to ensure truck traffic control.
All Moscow filling stations are banned from selling petrol lower than Euro 5 grade.