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Bicycle Tram
City/Region : Konya Metropolitan Municioality , Turkey

Konya is known as the Cycling City of Turkey due to its culture of bicycle use from the past. In the pandemic period, where people's tendency to use bicycles has increased, Konya Metropolitan Municipality has turned an old tram (1960 model Duewag Brand) into an urban transportation vehicle used only by cyclists in order to encourage bicycle use. The bicycle tram provides great convenience to cyclists in urban transportation on long-distance journeys. With its unique design, the bicycle tram has no example in Turkey and in the world.

Agendas addressed
Urban mobility
Pathways followed
  • Ensure equal access to municipal services
  • Promote social innovation supporting inclusion
  • Wisely select and apply smart technologies
  • Accelerate sustainability and innovation through public procurement
Context
Getting off the bike tram

In Konya, which is known as the bicycle city of Turkey, important studies are carried out to increase the use of bicycles, which is an important mode of sustainable transportation. In 2019, Turkey's first Cycling Transport Master Plan was made by Konya Metropolitan Municipality. There are 550 kilometers of bicycle paths and 4 bicycle bridges built for cyclists. There are 35 free bike repair stations in the city. The bicycle tram is one of these applications. The bicycle tram is one of the applications recommended in the Konya Cycling Transport Master Plan. The bicycle tram carries bicycle passengers on the Alaaddin - Selçuk University Line, which is the longest tram line in the city with a length of 21 kilometers. There are important structures such as industrial facilities, schools, universities and shopping centers around the line. It carries many cyclists along the line in summer and winter.

In Action
Bicycle tram and its passengers

One of the old and unused Duewag trams was subjected to a series of revisions and turned into a bicycle tram in 2020. First, the double seats of the tram vehicle were removed. Units are placed in the area where these seats are located, which compress the front wheels of the bicycles and ensure that they remain stable during the movement of the tram. Since these trams were old generation high-floor vehicles, their steps were an obstacle for cyclists. This obstacle has been overcome with hydraulic ramps that can be opened and closed mounted on the steps. This ramp mechanism, which works in sync with the tram doors, opens shortly after the door is opened and contacts the station platform. The cyclist waiting at the tram station can easily get on and off the tram by passing his bike over this ramp. Except for the front door of the five doors of the tram, all four of them were installed from these ramps.

21 bicycle fixing devices interior of tram were mounted. Hereby, 21 bicycles can travel in the bicycle tram. Led information screens, 8 cameras and automatic GPS positioned internal announcement system were mounted the tram. Moreover, bicycle repairing tools, air pump and electric charge units montaged in tram for bicycle users. The bicycle tram stations for cyclists at 13 of the 33 stations on the Selçuk University tram line. Only cyclists can get on the bicycle tram at those 13 stations. While determining these stations, passenger densities were checked and stations with low number of passengers were preferred. There is no extra difference in the boarding fee of the bicycle tram. It is the same as the cost of a passenger using the tram. The bicycle tram is also an important awareness project besides transporting its cyclists. The movement of such a tram, which is covered with red on the outside and has bicycle figures on it, makes a very important contribution to the formation and spread of the bicycle culture for both the residents of the city and the tourists coming to the city. The bicycle tram has 6 round trips per day.

Results
As the bicycle tram arrives at the station

The bicycle tram was highly appreciated by cyclists. It was requested by the bicycle users that a second bicycle tram should be on the tram line, especially during the peak hours of the morning and evening. Upon this request, Konya Metropolitan Municipality also manufactured the second bicycle tram. Especially elderly, students, working in industrial facilities and people who carry goods on their bicycles, use the bicycle tram intensively. The bicycle tram has been operating continuously since September 3, 2020. With the bicycle tram, a significant awareness has been gained about the use of bicycles during the pandemic period. Cycling is encouraged, especially during long rides, and cyclists obtain a more comfortable transportation opportunity in difficult climatic conditions. With the bicycle tram, an example of multi-modal transportation in urban transportation has also been obtained. In addition, photographs of Konya city with bicycles from the 1930s to the present were placed inside of the bicycle tram. In this way, an exhibition function has also been added to the bicycle tram. With this features, the bicycle tram attracts the attention of those who come to the city. Hereby, the bicycle tram also contributes to the tourism of the city.

Impact

The use of the bicycle tram in Konya had great interest in Turkey. Cycling lovers living in other provinces expressed on their social media accounts that they would like to see similar applications in their own provinces, indicating the bicycle tram project implemented by Konya Metropolitan Municipality as an example to their local governments. The sharing of the bicycle tram from the social media accounts of Konya Metropolitan Municipality and Mayor Uğur İbrahim Altay received great appreciation from the users, and many congratulatory messages were written. The bicycle tram was shown as an example in national workshops and meetings on bicycles. In the stakeholder meetings that are held regularly with the representatives of non-governmental organizations operating in the field of bicycles in Konya, the representatives of the civil society expressed their special thanks for the bicycle tram.

The bicycle tram has also triggered local governments in Turkey to develop studies on bicycles. Bicycle tram project was widely covered in national and local news channels. Bicycle tram is also included in the presentations about sustainable transportation made in national and international academic meetings attended by Konya Metropolitan Municipality. At the 19th Annual Transport Practitioners' Meeting held online in London in July, a presentation named "Konya Metropolitan Municipality Cycling Applications" was made. In this presentation, the bicycle tram was a topic that attracted the attention of the audience.

The application of the bicycle tram has had a very strong effect on promoting bicycle transportation, especially during the pandemic period.

Challenges and lessons learned
Entrance to the bike tram

In 2014, Konya Metropolitan Municipality renewed all tram vehicles and old Duewag trams were decommissioned. There were difficulties in the R&D process of maintenance-repair, ergonomic revisions and electrifications of this tram, which hasn’t been in use for 6 years. For passenger safety step sensor, object sensor, pressure sensor and audible warnings were placed on the doors. The hydraulic ramp mechanism and the adaptation of such safety measures to the old tram were successful as a result of intensive R&D studies. Converting old tram that isn’t use into the bicycle tram has contributed to both sustainable transportation and the city's economy.

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