Prague to buy dozens of intersections to improve traffic flow in the city

Photo: archive of Radio Prague International

The Prague city authorities announced an important step in easing the traffic situation in the city, the website e15 reported on Monday. Prague City Hall wants to interconnect all of its 660 traffic-light intersections to improve the traffic flow and make it more effective.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague International
At the moment, around 440 traffic-light intersections are interconnected to some extent. At the beginning of 2020, the city of Prague will call an 80-million public tender for creating a register of all the existing traffic light intersections in the city and a description of their state. Prague will subsequently start buying the land under the intersections, which belongs to private owners.

Adam Scheinherr, the city councillor in charge of transport, told the daily e15 that the city needs to own the land in order to implement it into the traffic regulation system.

“We will only ascertain the number of crossroads that need to be bought after the winner of the tender creates the register,” Mr. Scheinherr told the daily. “It would be too premature to speculate now about the cost of the purchase.”

The buying price is affected by a number of factors, including their location. The chairman of the transport section at the Czech Chamber of Commerce, Emanuel Šíp estimates the cost of a square metre at several thousand crowns. In such case, one intersection could cost the city several million crowns.

Antonín Gold from the real estate agency RE/MAX says the costs could be even higher: “On the outskirts of Prague, the price of land under the intersections can reach up to five to six million crowns, while in the wider city centre it can be from 20 to 40 million.”

The unified traffic signal operation is linked to the launch of a multifunctional operational centre Malovanka in the district of Prague 6, which is expected to take place in 2023. According to Mr. Scheinherr, it will be a key facility for Prague transportation system. The construction of the centre started in 2015 and the city of Prague has so far invested around 150 million crowns into the project.

“The city should definitely buy the land under the public traffic-light intersections. The intention to interconnect crossroads and give preference to transport on main roads over side roads is also the right thing to do,” Mr. Šíp told the daily, adding that the system of the so-called green wave is being used in a growing number of cities.

A green wave refers to a series of traffic lights coordinated to allow continuous traffic flow over several intersections in one main direction, allowing higher traffic loads and reducing noise and energy use.