Scientific assistance for the re-evaluation of project Via Avantis


for the Integrated General Transport Plan of the state of NRW (formerly project no. 14022)


The public rail transport project Via Avantis sought to connect the StädteRegion Aachen (569,000 inhabitants), Parkstad Limburg (241,000), and Maastricht (118,000) with a direct euregio rail route via the German-Dutch European Science and Business Park Avantis (approx. 10 ha). The project closed an infrastructural gap by establishing a new rail connection between the junction Aachen-Richterich (main railway line Aachen – Mönchengladbach) and Kerkrade Station via the business park Avantis and by installing additional stops.

The Via Avantis is an integral component of the euregiobahn concept as well as key for a future euregional rail network, its feeder, estate, and connection functions, and the overall objective to improve cross-border rail service.

While the Netherlands planned their funding against the background of the sponsorship promised by NRW, NRW first needed to include the route in its transport infrastructure requirements plan as a prerequisite for the funding. The association meeting of the Nahverkehr Rheinland association (NVR) and the Cologne regional council made recommendations accordingly on 14 and 27 March 2009. However, these recommendations were combined with a re-evaluation of the project as part of the Integrated General Transport Plan (IGVP) of NRW.

The NRW Ministerium für Bauen und Verkehr (Ministry of Building and Transportation) and the NVR/AVV agreed that project Via Avantis needed to be re-evaluated in order to achieve results that reflect the changed pre-conditions.

These changed conditions are particularly the result of:

  • the progressed and still progressing expansion of the euregiobahn concept in Germany and the Light Rail Zuid Limburg concept in the Netherlands, which has led to a considerable increase in the number of passengers
  • the development of the RWTH Aachen University campus, one of the biggest technology campuses in Europe at a total of € 3 billion in planned investments by 2020
  • the planned location of the European University Hospital in the European Science and Business Park Avantis

Aims of the project:

The planned IGPV re-evaluation required extensive scientific preparation, supervision, and post-processing. For the actual IGPV evaluation, the NRW Ministry for Building and Transportation commissioned an external consultant.

Project contents and structure:

In order to prepare NRW’s re-evaluation of project Via Avantis, the existing evaluation was broken down with regard to the IGVP assessment system and the makeup of each rated aspect. This resulted in clear cause-effect relations between the input variables, other parameters (e.g. cost rates), and the calculated results of the IGVP for the cost-benefit analysis.

In addition, the project assessment 14022 was compared to other similar project assessments (e.g. IGVP Dahlheim-Roermond) and made plausible. During the investigation of the cause-effect relations, we determined to what extent specific criteria of the railway operation can be considered in the IGPV evaluation. This concerned e.g. the potential consideration of possible railway route relief and resulting additionally available railway lines (line Heerlen – Herzogenrath) or possible operation resource savings by combining Dutch and German operation concepts.

Commissioned by:

Aachener Verkehrsverbund GmbH (AVV)

Contacts at the ISB:

Dr.-Ing. Christoph Hebel, Dr.-Ing. Conny Louen