The Increasing role of regional rail system in urban transport: the case of İZBAN in İzmir

Üçüncüoğlu, Cevat
The rapid increase in population and spatial growth of cities result in ever-increasing travel distances for urban transport. While urban rail systems, such as metro and LRT systems, are often considered to provide fast and effective service for metropolitan areas, regional rail systems, as a modernized version of commuter railways, appear to be the most effective way of providing fast services for the mobility needs of such long-distance daily travels in the world. In Turkey too spatial growth is a major challenge for most metropolitan cities as these results in higher distances to be travelled in urban transport. Regional rail systems become indispensable elements of urban transport. Consequently, there have been developments in these cities in Turkey too to invest and modernize existing commuter rail services into modern regional rail systems. Izmir, in particular, has become a leading city in modernizing its commuter railways since it was the first city in Turkey that launched a partnership project between Turkish State Railways agency and the local authority. This research analysed the experience with regards to the partnership project of IZBAN that revealed that the local authorities should have a higher share of the responsibility in running urban transport projects on state railways infrastructure in order to have more successful projects.