Bergen Light Rail

“We couldn’t give external players access to documents on the county authority’s server. To protect the information flow in the project, we entered into an agreement concerning sharing and interaction through Projectplace. We quickly became dependent on the solution,” says Thomas J. Potter.

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The Bergen Light Rail project, managed by Projectplace

When the Bergen Light Rail (Bybanen) project was opened by Queen Sonja of Norway in June 2010, the residents of Bergen gained a 9.8 km tram line starting at Torgalmenningen Square and ending at Nesttun, fourteen stops further south. The aim was to deal with an increase in the city’s road traffic and fewer people using public transport. To counter a trend towards increasing numbers of traffic accidents and longer rush hours, which also give rise to increasing environmental problems, the Bergen Light Rail project was started in 2001.

Chief engineer and project manager for the county authority-owned company Bybanen AS, Thomas J. Potter, has been involved in the planning and construction work from the start. The Bybanen (Bergen Light Rail) company, which itself has very few employees, began in 2002 to hire in consultancy support.

“We couldn’t give external players access to documents on the county authority’s server. To protect the information flow in the project, we entered into an agreement concerning sharing and interaction through Projectplace. We quickly became dependent on the solution,” says Thomas J. Potter.

1,000 users in many countries

A complex project like Bergen Light Rail requires input from a vast number of different professional groups – everything from clerks of works, technical tradesmen, project managers and noise assessment consultants to landscape architects. The necessary expertise has been brought in from, among other places, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Portugal and across the Nordic region. These players also have their own subcontractors. All have exchanged information on plans, status and other input via Projectplace.

Online meetings have saved many of our foreign partners a lot of money in travel expenses. It’s not always necessary to travel from the continent to Bergen just to correct a technical fault that is a one-hour job,” explains the project manager.

Makes the projects self-governing

According to Thomas, Projectplace is extremely easy to get started with, and a very useful way to maintain a good overview.

“You can always clearly see which is the most recent version of drawings, photos, documents and plans. Instead of sending attachments to e-mails, you can send links to the actual files in Projectplace. The fact that you can see if the files have been opened by the right person means you can be confident they have arrived properly. Continuous access to all communication via the Internet means that potentially expensive misunderstandings can be avoided and that the projects really are self-governing.”The ability to shield some user groups from others is important for Bybanen. At the same time, the administrators in Bergen can follow all the groups and thus control the progress of the various projects. Thomas also likes the fact that he can receive updated files in Projectplace, on a daily and weekly basis, grouped together. This gives him good control of everything.

Archive system that provides control

Some people use their e-mail program as an archive. At Bybanen, Projectplace fulfils this function. Thomas is convinced that there would otherwise be floods of paper.

“It’s much easier to locate facts in a digital archive. The people responsible for each subproject choose their preferred way of constructing the archive, but if I need to find something, it’s just a matter of using the superb search function.”

Projectplace is here to stay

Thomas confirms that by the end of 2013 the Bergen Light Rail will include a further 3.6 km of track, and the system will grow to be 40 km long over the course of the next 15-20 years. Projectplace will be involved in both construction phase two and the planned phase three.

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