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Bild från spårvägen i Dubai som tillsammans med metron har sparat över en miljard bilresor.

Spårvagnsstäderna without a tramway?

One might be wondering why cities that doesn't have a tramway are members in Spårvagnsstäderna? The thing is that we not only discuss tracks, switches and rolling stock, but we have a wider focus. It's about visions, sustainable urbanization how we handle the great population growth many cities will see in the future. Below we list some of the main reasons cities and regions chose to be members of the organization.  

Making the current system more efficient to prepare for the trams
Building a new tramway isn't something that's quickly decided or done. There's a long planning process and it begins with soft measures such as evaluating the current system, making it more efficient and faster. In a second phase you move into small infrastructure changes before you - if you have the need - make the large investment in rail infrastructure. The work is incremental, and if you in the end realize you don't have a need for a tramway, then you still have improved and sped up your existing public transport. In the organization, knowledge sharing around this is something we work with quite a lot, and cities considering a future tramway has a lot to learn from those who already have one. 

Being well prepared pays off
If a city decides to build a tramway, there is a significant amount of money to be saved by being prepared. A tramway is a significant investment for a city, and by reserving space for future tracks, making sure that your travel center is designed to accomodate trams or plan roads with optimal curve radiuses the costs are significantly reduced in the future when the tramway is finally built. One of the biggest constructions costs is also the move of underground infrastructure and with track reservations no infrastructure will be built along that stretch, and any current infrastructure will be moved during regular maintenance. When the time for tramway construction rolls around, there's no need for deep trenches to move infrastructure or additional costs to move pipes etc. 

How to think and what to take into account when planning for this is something often discussed at our different events, and the adaptions are no large costs for a municipality. Ignoring the need for planning ahead is expensive however, and Spårvagnsstäderna is here to help prevent that. 

Networking and knowledge exchange
To build a tramway requires a great deal of knowledge and experience, something a city considering a tramway doesn't always have. Here the association offers an arena for networking between old and new tramway cities on all levels based on individual needs. No city planning to build a new tramway will have invent the wheel again on their own. They can learn from others' mistakes and build a state of the art tramway instead. 

Training for the entire municipality
A membership in the association provides access to all our activities at cost. Everyone from decisions makers to public servants are welcome and we adapt our webinars, conferences and study visits to the needs at hand. To take part in our knowledge bank and networks provides the opportunities to answer all sorts of questions, we has the potential to create great savings down the line.  

The cities and regions control what we do
Every city or region who joins the association can appoint two representatives to the board. The representantives consists of one person from the ruling majority, and one from the opposition. The board members are expected to actively support the work of the association and be supportive of staff.  

But what if there's not tramway in the end?
If a city ends up not building a tramway, the city and region has still improved the public transport system and made investments for a better city life. The investments are not free, but through the membership of the association you have been able to share the experience from other and hopefully made the investment as cost effective as possible and the savings surpass the membership fee. Just making sure that the ceilings are high enough at your new travel center to accomodate trams in the future will save millions in future reconstruction costs while not making the new construction significantly more expensive. But taking advantage of all these opportunities also means you need be active and participate in the many opportunities we provide. 

To sum up - there are many reasons to be a member of Spårvagnsstäderna even if you don't have a tramway today. And if you're curious about what trams can do for a city you can read on here on our site.