Mobility turnaround: After free public transport, Luxembourg continues to build new offers

The free public transport introduced in Luxembourg on March 1st has brought the second smallest country in the EU far ahead in its planned transport turnaround: “Free local transport was the lever to stimulate a real mobility revolution in Luxembourg,” said Luxembourg’s Mobility Minister François Bausch (Greens) German press agency. Of course, the corona pandemic temporarily slowed down the initial record passenger numbers in trams, trains and buses. Overall, however, there was a new awareness of a different mobility – one that relies on a mix of modes of transport.

With the expansion of the “public transport”, the essential thing is that the offers are of high quality: “I have noticed that people are now getting on the tram who would never have got on a bus before,” said Bausch. With billions in investments, including in rail and tram, he wants to attract around 50 percent more passengers to public transport by 2025. Like many other cities and countries in Europe, Luxembourg suffers from long traffic jams in rush hour traffic.

This is the case, for example, between the two economic centers in the country – between Luxembourg City and Esch in the south, which are around 20 kilometers apart. “The road infrastructure is mercilessly overloaded. There is a motorway where you drive at 30 km / h at peak times,” said the minister. Instead of building a new track, he is planning “a fast light rail”, which will ultimately connect the airport via the capital and the university to Belval.

Between Luxembourg City and Esch, the light rail will travel a distance of around ten kilometers at up to 100 kilometers per hour. In addition, an “express cycle path” is planned along the route. And on the autobahn itself, the breakdown lane is being enlarged so that at peak hours car traffic should turn right so that two lanes are free for express buses and car sharing. “It will be a multimodal corridor.”

The transport concept in Luxembourg cannot be transferred one-to-one to other countries. The Grand Duchy, with around 620,000 inhabitants and 230,000 commuters, is an urban area that can be compared to other areas. Therefore there is also a worldwide interest in Luxembourg’s transport strategy.

According to estimates by the UN, more than 70 percent of humanity would live in large urban areas in 2050: “We have to organize urban areas very differently, especially in terms of mobility,” said Bausch. “We have completely redesigned the entire public space in Luxembourg in order to give people more space and to bring more life back to the city.” This also applies to the climate crisis.

“We want to show that traffic planning in the 21st century is getting away from this obsession that we build infrastructures to move cars or trains. It’s always about moving people. And that’s why you have to make sure that you always develop corridors that also includes the whole range of mobility, “he said.

On March 1 of this year, Luxembourg became the first country in the world to make public transport throughout the country free for all users. You no longer need tickets: just get on and ride. The free public transport means additional expenditure of 41 million euros per year for the Luxembourg state.


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