How Intermediate Capacity Modes Provide Accessibility and Resilience in Metropolitan Transit Networks: Insights from a Global Study of 19 Cities


Jan Scheurer

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, mode - tram/light rail, operations - capacity, operations - performance, place - europe, place - urban, planning - integration


Accessibility, land use-transport integration, network analysis, trams


Drawing on the Spatial Network Analysis of Multimodal Urban Transport Systems (SNAMUTS) accessibility tool, this paper introduces comparative results of public transport network performance measures in 19 metropolitan regions in developed countries. These results are assessed typologically and functionally to highlight the contribution of each common public transport mode to maximize (or not) the integration of transport networks with the urban structure to optimize accessibility outcomes. It is shown that the capacity and performance spectrum embodied by each mode represents a gradual scale that allocates a specific niche to intermediate modes, particularly trams that are present in half the cities studied and absent from the others.

In a comparison of Munich, Germany, where a full spectrum of public transport modes is present, and Hamburg, Germany, where there is a performance gap between heavy rail and buses, accessibility outcomes are discussed. Alongside “alternative history” scenarios concerning the hypothetical retention of trams in Hamburg and full closure of the system in Munich, it is shown that the absence of an intermediate mode in Hamburg’s actual network has a significant detrimental effect on the resilience of the public transport system compared to its Bavarian counterpart as well as to other international cities.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.