Despite many challenges, the European market for light rail and underground transportation is set to develop. Rising public awareness of global warming and climate change, coupled with efforts to reduce urban congestion, particularly in city centres, will drive market expansion. Simultaneously, the rising potential for replacement orders and growth opportunities in the new EU member states will also positively impact market prospects.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (automotive.frost.com), European Light Rail and Underground Market, finds that the market will profit from rising environmental awareness, but will also be influenced by complicated funding questions.
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“The revival of light rail in Europe will continue as public attitudes towards the image of rail-bound public transport have started undergoing a transformation”, notes Frost & Sullivan Consulting Analyst Patrick Rehlein. “Amidst the public debate about global climate change, light rail and underground transport is emerging as a modern and stylish alternative, making it incumbent on the industry and transport authorities to leverage this trend and persist with innovation and lobbying efforts.”
Reports on climate change and rising energy costs have raised awareness about the shortage of fossil fuels as well as the importance of a more environment-friendly lifestyle. Congestion and the lack of adequate parking spaces have encouraged people to overcome their reluctance to use urban public transport. Stable market growth will be predicated on continued innovation and the availability of government funding.
Despite a promising growth scenario, challenges remain. Most transport operators are public utility companies. Extensions to the network or the replacement of rolling stock require sizeable investments. However, funding is a delicate and complicated process with many parties being involved. Nevertheless, European support programmes such as the Cohesion Fund 2007-2013 offer significant opportunities, especially for the new EU member states.
“In most cases, decisions regarding investment in urban light rail or underground are political issues”, explains Rehlein. “Therefore, when a new mayor or city council gets elected, the changed balance of power may result in the cancellation of projects, which have been tediously negotiated with the previously elected authorities.”
Ultimately, gaining access to available funding sources will be crucial to market development. Intensive lobbying will be required, particularly in central and eastern Europe, to boost awareness about the importance of modern light rail and underground networks.
Strategic Analysis of the European Light Rail and Underground Market - Part 1: Market Overview is part of the Global Transportation and Logistics Growth Partnership Service Programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Strategic Analysis of the European Market for Rail Intelligent Transportation Systems Market, Strategic Analysis of the European Rail Outsourcing Market, Global Analysis of the Rail Market and Competitive Benchmark. All research included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.
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Strategic Analysis of the European Light Rail and Underground Market - Part 1: Market Overview