Kiel tram 2

GERMANY: Kiel city council has voted by a large majority to develop a 36 km tram network across the northern port city by 2034, at an estimated cost of around €1bn.

The network would have four routes overlapping with each other in the city centre.

Kiel 3

Route 1 would run from Suchsdorf in the northwest to Kiel University of Applied Sciences in the northeast. Route 2 would connect Wik in the north with Elmschenhagen to the southeast. Route 3 would serve Mettenhof to the west and Neumühlen to the northeast. Route 4 would share tracks with the southeastern leg of Route 2 and the northwestern part of Route 1, in order to provide a more intensive service on these sections.

The tram fleet would be based at a new depot to be built in Diedrichstraße.

The decision followed a cost-benefit study by engineering consultancy Rambøll comparing the potential returns of adopting light rail or bus rapid transit technology to serve the various routes. This put the economic benefits to the city from a tram network would be €1·47 for every euro of public sector investment against only €1·1 for the BRT alternative.

Although the capital cost of building the tram network could be up to four times that of BRT, the municipality anticipates that it will be able to apply for federal funding to cover up to 90% of the infrastructure costs.

Kiel tram

As well as the higher economic benefits, the tram option also performed better in terms of long-term operating costs. There were also environmental advantages, as much of the network could be laid on segregated grassed tracks, which would not be possible with BRT.

Following the council vote, work will now get underway on preliminary planning of the network, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2024.