From lines to network


From lines to network

Ruter's strategy entails a seamless and integrated network. The principles for the development of the service and the work on the traffic plans are built on best practices and have produced good results.

Network effect
4.1 Network effect - a well-developed network with high frequencies and efficient transfers. Customers can use public transport to travel to new areas and for new purposes.
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The principles for the development of an attractive mobility service are about building a network that increases the travel options for residents in the region. By turning our attention from individual lines and different modes of transport to a network with high frequencies and great flexibility, we will provide a better and better service to many more people, and increase the market shares for public transport, cycling and walking.

The Ruter network is built so that customers can easily reach their destination regardless of the mode of transport and even if they must make transfers. The main lines in the transport network should have high frequencies and high capacities. Local lines must support these with good connections and ensure good geographic coverage in the rest of the area. Flexible transport-on-demand lines complement the ordinary service. Good infrastructure for cycling and walking to stops and hubs strengthens the network and contributes to an increased market potential for the development of the service.

High frequency provides increased attractiveness

With ten-minute frequencies, there is less of a need to use a timetableHigh frequencies give travellers more freedom to choose when they want to travel and simplifies the planning of the journey. With ten-minute frequencies, there is less of a need to use a timetable and check connections, and this reduces the perceived and actual wait times. In turn, this reduces the total journey time and increases the competitiveness with other modes of transport.

4.2 Optimal frequencies in the network
5 6 7 9 11 8 12 4 3 2 1 10 15 20 25 30 5 min 10 min 0 min 15 min 20 min 25 min 30 min Network effect No significant reduction in travel time Optimal frequencies Depature per hour Minute frequencies Average wait time 5 4 6 10 15 30 7 ½
Five to ten minutes between each departure is optimal in order to achieve a network effect.
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Direct lines lead to faster journeys

Lines that take many detours from the main road use a lot of time, require a lot of resources, and are less attractive. The Ruter network should have lines that are as direct as possible. This leads to faster journeys and increased comfort.

A simplification of the network makes it easier to get one’s bearings

To achieve higher frequencies, several lines that run more or less in parallel may be combined into one line. Such a one-line concept leads to slightly fewer direct journeys, but this is counter balanced by the main directions getting higher frequencies, and that wait times during transfers become shorter.

4.3 One-line concept with high frequencies and good hubs
Example of reallocation of the same operational resources City centre City centre Hub 3 departures/hour 6 departures/hour Network effect Network effect Network effect 18 departures/hour 8 departures/hour
Examples of different operational concepts with the same resource use. Reallocation and coordination of lines can in combination result in an improved service.
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Optimal resource utilisation provides more public transport to more people

The financial resources Ruter have at its disposal must be utilised in the best possible manner. An optimal division of roles between the transport modes and the coordination of parallel services will contribute to the best overall customer satisfaction.

Driving, cycling and walking as part of green mobility

All public transport journeys include walking. If there are long distances from the station or stop, cycling or driving can be both appropriate and desirable. The complete Ruter network therefore includes an active facilitation of walking or cycling to public transport stops and of safe bicycle parking or city bikes where there is a basis for these.

LocallyRegionallySystem capacityRegional trainLocal trainMetroTramBusCarBicycleWalking
4.4 System capacity - principles for the connection between different areas and the capacity of the different modes of transport
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Park and ride where there are great distances

For some combined journeys and in areas where there are long distances and no market basis for local buses or feeder buses, it is a good alternative to have park and rides at stations and transport hubs. Customers are offered safe parking with sufficient capacity. Where there is competition for land, a payment solution that is coordinated with the public transport ticket can secure a spot for those for whom walking, cycling or taking local buses are not realistic options.

Accessibility for all

Goals and requirements regarding public transport apply to all customer groups and require a greater focus on universal design. The adaptations apply to the entire travel chain, including information, ticket sales, physical design, maintenance and delay management. To avoid a digital class division, those who for various reasons do not use newer technologies such as smartphones etc. must also be offered these services.

Accessibility for all follows from the public transport idea of offering mobility to the people, but is also set out in laws and regulations. Ruter wishes to provide transport services that are safe and secure and universally designed, as quickly as practically and financially feasible. Transport services for the disabled (TT) should be included in Ruter’s services, both due to principled assessments of the function of the service and to achieve optimal coordination.


Interaction between transport modes

Customer demands and expectations regarding frequency, journey times and comfort depends on the length, purpose and frequency of the journey. At the same time, a rational design of the transport service depends on passenger volumes and the characteristics of the areas to be served.

  • Walking
    Space-efficient, environmentally friendly and flexible. Provides health benefits and contributes to a better urban life. Appropriate for short distances in dense areas.
  • Cycling
    Environmentally friendly and flexible. Provides health benefits and contributes to a better urban life. Appropriate for short and medium distances in dense areas.
  • Bus
    Flexible and good geographic coverage. The primary role of the bus is to provide geographic coverage, offer transversal connections, feed stations and provide services towards the city centre that complement the train, metro, and tram during rush hours. The bus is flexible and an important contributor in the creation of a network.
  • Boat
    It serves by crossing the fjord where the maritime route saves time.
  • Tram
    Better geographic coverage than the metro and greater capacity than the bus. The main task of the city tram is to serve customers on heavily trafficked routes in the urban areas inside Ring 3, with a better geographic coverage than the metro can provide and with higher capacities than the bus. As a light rail service, the tram can be also be developed in denser areas in outer Oslo and in the nearest neighbouring municipalities and regional cities.
  • Metro
    Large capacity and traffic management with no queues. Its main task is to serve the heavily trafficked segments within the dense urban area, normally within about 30 minutes of the centre of Oslo. The “T-bane” has over time been developed into a modern metro system. The frequency must be high – higher than currently on the branch lines. The market potential must be such that there are at least ten-minute service, and five to six minute service in large parts of the network. On the shared section in the centre of Oslo, there can be two minutes between departures.
  • Rail
    Large capacity and high speed. The railway has a central role in serving longer distances, and its main task is to tie the region and Eastern Norway together. With the use of adapted local trains, the railway can also have a more local – and to some extent urban – role.

Capacity is not an absolute entity in a network. However, roughly estimated and with the same five-minute frequency, current trains and metro have an hourly capacity in one direction of about 8000 passengers, the tram has capacity for 2000 passengers and articulated buses have a capacity of 1000 passengers. Longer trams can increase capacity by up to a third. An equivalent increase can be achieved by lengthening train platforms in order to run triple train sets rather than double sets.

The rail-based modes of transport have relatively high system costs, with the highest for train and lowest for tram. Traffic volumes must be of a certain size for rail-based solutions to be economical, and in some contexts also to make them environmentally efficient.


4.5 Principles for service, frequency and tasks for the modes of transport in Ruter's area
Between Oslo and Akershus, and locally in Akershus City centres in Oslo and Akershus City centre and parts of the suburban area City centre and parts of the suburban area Short and medium distances Minibus or vehicle on-demand Fjord crossing where the maritime route is time saving Minimum 10 minutes, inner city 5 minutes Mimimum 1 hour, main lines 30 minutes Minimum 10 minutes, inner city 5 minutes Minimum 10 minutes, inner city 5 minutes Mimimum 1 hour, main lines 30 minutes Frequency Assignment RuterMetro RuterTram RuterCity RuterRegion RuterFlex Short distances Walking Bicycle RuterBoat Central Eastern-Norway City centre and suburban area Minimum 30 minutes Minimum 10 minutes, inner city 5 minutes Regional train Local train

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Public funds must be spent effectively

The main lines in the network should serve areas with high densities, while local lines and transport-on-demand lines should serve areas with lower demand. Many smaller residential areas rationally located on lines for convenient bus service can have basic services equivalent to those of larger residential areas in more isolated locations.

For an area with less than 300-500 residents, it will generally be difficult to provide an ordinary bus service, because the cost per passenger increases significantly. The best opportunity for an attractive bus service is ensured through coordinated land use and transport planning, where the municipalities facilitate land use development that creates a market potential for public transport.

The level of subsidy indirectly expresses the occupancy level a line has, and thus also the number of people who find the service to be attractive. If one line exceeds the maximum limit for subsidies or the minimum for occupancy, an assessment must be made of whether changes can be implemented to increase its attractiveness.

Where there is no basis for a permanent line, the mobility service can be strengthened through the development of good solutions for local lines or transport-on-demand services. This potential increases when the economy of the entire public transport service is optimised. There is therefore an important link between using feeder buses to high-capacity trains and metros and the development of more tailored services where needed.

Public transport must have an environmental advantage in sparsely populated areas too

Public transport should always provide better environmental results than car use where no other social consideration such as queuing, costs, land use, and safety play a significant part.  There is a lower limit for the number of persons on board buses required for public transport to be considered environmentally friendly. Both car and bus technologies are undergoing constant development. The environmental advantage requirements means that the average occupancy at minimum should be five persons for the bus service to compete with driving a car in environmental terms.