by Natalia Costin
The Cologne – Frankfurt high speed rail started operating in 2002 .The Speed of the train, running at 320 km/h, reduced the journey from 2hr 15 min to over an hour. The number of passengers willing to travel increased significantly by 2010 to around 20-25 million from 9 million. With high speed rail, travel time between Frankfurt and Cologne is 55 percent faster than with old track and 35 percent faster than with travel by car. As a result of a new ICF we would expect some economic changes in Cologne and Frankfurt, however our expectations would be wrong because an economic impact was present just in the cities situated on the line of high speed rail which were: Limburg, Siegburg and Montabaur.
|Travel Time Treatment|
Research from LSE looked at prosperity and growth of intermediate stations, Limburg and Montabaur and compared the economic performance of those towns with more then 3,000 other municipals in the neighborhoods . During four year period of fast train activity the economic growth grew by at least 2, 7 percentage more in those two cities that are on the route compared to unconnected neighbors. Additionally in Limburg and Montabaur in the market potential indicator is present an increase of about 30%.
ICE train stations in Limburg and Montabaur are most often used for work purpose, to travel daily to Frankfurt. This point highlights that high speed rail Cologne- Frankfurt has an important effect on job creation in both regions. For example per day there is approximately 80 percent of daily commuters from Limburg and 60 percent from Montabaur. Additionally the attractiveness of ICE increases with time. Figure 1 show that Cologne and Frankfurt can be reached now by roughly 40 minutes train rides from Limburg and Montabaur, “making their location central with respect to two of the major regional economic agglomerations with a total population of approx. 15 million”.
High speed rail motivate people to move closer to its route. There was a survey taken in Montabaur and Limburg which could provide an explanation for inflow of new residence. The results of survey highlight the point that about 20 percent of Montabaur commuters and roughly 15 percent of Limburg commuters moved closer to high speed rail because of improved speed and accessibility it offers.
In case of another intermediate station Siegburg, investigations of the Geographical Institute of Bonn University have shown that roughly 90 percent of passengers travel with high speed rail to and from Frankfurt. Additionally it was observed that partly as a result of Inter-City Express real estate investment increased there. Studies of Bonn University stated that Inter-City Express in Siegburg as well increased the inflow of population similarly to Montabaur and Limburg. For example 3 percent of Siegburg population has chosen the location based just on high speed rail access.
Frankfurt as a result of Inter-City Express had attracted more commuters compared to Cologne. There were not that many trips for example from Siegburg to Cologne as from Siegburg to Frankfurt. Frankfurt was more attractive place for commuters because in Frankfurt there is larger labor market. It is interesting to mention that there is no evidence of formation of megapolis between Frankfurt and Cologne, as someone would expect. The reason could be reduced business interaction between both regions because Cologne is a cultural center while Frankfurt is a financial and banking center.
In conclusion in main regions Cologne and Frankfurt no significant changes in economic impact were described as a result of Inter-City Express. However the increase in accessibility of high speed intermediate stations such as Limburg, Siegburg and Montabaur to Frankfurt and Cologne promoted rise in economic development. The increase in market access influenced on the increase in GDP, higher employment possibilities, increase in real estate price, variation in access to market and reduced travel time.