“a major leap forward in the reorganisation of the LPT”

Definition of the Urban Public Transport network in Sondrio

Location

Sondrio

Period

November 2020 – April 2021

Client

Sondrio Agency for LPT and Municipality of Sondrio

Services provided

Operating Programme for the new urban public transport network

Description

Defining a new urban public transport network for the city of Sondrio (21,000 inhabitants) was an important and interesting challenge, aimed above all at enhancing the current service while overcoming its criticalities. At present the service includes 5 lines aimed mainly at school users, with non-regular timetables, and is therefore considered too “scattered” and unattractive for ordinary (non-scholar) user.

A number of strong, non-negotiable planning objectives have therefore been defined, which are considered fundamental for offering an important qualitative leap for a city like Sondrio, which in addition to being a provincial capital has recently started drafting the PGTU (Urban Traffic Plan). In line with the new provincial transport planning, which is leading to a gradual redesign of several significant local and cross-border public transport lines, the aim has been to achieve a “Swiss-style” urban transport supply in Sondrio. These are the must-have minimum requirements:

 

  1. Cadenced timetable
    All services on each line will always depart at the same minute. This will help users to memorise and get to know the service quickly.
  2. Rendez-Vous with railway
    The trains serving Sondrio (on the Tirano-Milan route) are regularly timetabled. Promoting connections at the station from/to urban transport increases the possibilities of connections at inter-urban, regional and national scale.
  3. Service increases at peak times
    To support commuters (workers and university students)
  4. Same school services as today
    The “school” services are essentially linked to school entrance and exit times but should be an “exception” to the basic cadenced timetable and the rendez-vous with trains.
  5. Operating resources
    The lines must be long enough (and therefore have sufficient journey times) to be able to complete the “round trip” (return to the initial terminus) within the basic cadence (60/120 minutes). This sefeguards the transport operator, which will be able to provide the new services while maintaining the company’s current assets (number of drivers and vehicles required).
  6. “Pendulum” routes
    Designing linear routes (both outward and return) avoids the limitations of “circular” lines, which serve a large area but do not guarantee competitive travel times for those who wish to move “against the tide”.
  7. Consistency with the Urban Traffic Plan and the provincial LPT Basin Plan
    The Urban Traffic Plan identifies new traffic routes (some on reserved lanes) for urban lines, while the Basin Plan aims to rationalise the entire provincial service focusing, where possible, on a strong integration with the regional railway service.

 

The new Operating Programme proposed by NET Engineering envisages two ordinary lines that cross the entire centre of Sondrio (Blue Line North-South, Red Line East-West), also serving the Sassella district, currently not served by urban transport. In addition to the two main lines, a school line connects the bus station to the Professional Training Centre.
Both lines operate every weekday on an hourly basis and are reinforced at 30′ during peak hours. During the summer period, only the reinforcement runs will be reduced, keeping the hourly frequency.

In order to guarantee the interchange with the regional trains from/to Milan/Tirano, there is a stop of about 6′ at the FS station, which is also useful to allow users to interchange not only with the railway but also between urban lines, thus covering all possible urban relations.

The service can be provided with 6 vehicles only (as many as at current state) and with the same amount of resources (equal to 135,000 Veic*Km per year).

Starting from the identification of the objectives and design constraints to arrive at the definition of the Operating Programme, the design process has been based on a very fruitful and close dialogue between NET, the LPT Agency, the Municipality of Sondrio and the company delivering the current service.

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