Hanoi: Urban Railway System of Hanoi

The Government of Vietnam, represented by the Ministry of Transport, wished to undertake a feasibility study to assess the establishment of a mass transit system for Hanoi.

The study, financed by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau/ KfW, was to develop an integrated public passenger transport concept for the period up to the year 2020 and thus provide a strategic framework to guide future actions and initiatives for the development of mass transit in the capital city of Vietnam (with 1.5 million inhabitants in the greater conurbation).

The adoption and implementation of the mass transit development strategy has the potential of being a dominant factor influencing future land use development patterns and densities, the quality of life, health, economic and social well-being of the city´s residents and the urban environment as a whole.

The strategy will have far-reaching implications and will plant the seed of future urban growth to take Hanoi into the 21st century.

In view of Hanoi´s extremely low urban public transport usage the major challenge to the city´s authorities is to reverse the present almost total reliance on private modes of transportation (primarily bicycle and motocycle) and to increase substantially the use of public transport.

It is necessary to establish a transport system which is affordable and which, at the same time, does not create an excess burden on the city´s limited financial resources and does not have adverse social or environmental impacts.

Against this background the utmost importance was attached to the elaboration of as clear and comprehensive a strategy as possible at the outset of what is undoubtedly going to be a long-term process of reorganisation.

To facilitate the transition towards enhanced public transport usage, it is first envisaged to set up public transport corridors via road-based public transport modes (e.g. buses) - either sharing space with other road users or, preferably, in their own right of way or at least with substantial priority (at-grade busway).

Having encouraged the willingness of travellers to use buses, it should then be much easier to determine the viability of a complete switch to rail-based mass transit with the necessary degree of certainty (dictated by the large capital investment required for such a light-rail transit/LRT system, especially when on an elevated alignment).

Without such a step-wise development there is a real risk that the immediate introduction of a rail mass transit system - unsupported by proven demand trends away from private modes – would burden both the Vietnamese authorities and potential investors (including Vietnam Railways as main carrier) with a significant financial debt as a result of the high capital, operation and maintenance costs associated with rail systems.

DORSCH CONSULT in association with another international consultancy (MVA Asia) and the local partner firm Vietnam Railway Investment Consulting and Construction Company/VRICCC was commissioned with the following services:


Transport and Infrastructure


DC Asia


Ministry of Transport, Hanoi

Project Activities

Phase 1

(Pre-feasibility study)

  • Strategic public transport sector development plan
  • Pre-feasibility study for rail-bound urban transport network
  • Determination of priority urban rail line
  • Selection of most appropriate transport technology
  • Identification of most suitable high-performance bus transport line

Phase 2

(Feasibility study on priority urban rail line and priority high-performance bus line)

  • Forecast of ridership
  • Network infrastructure
  • Rolling stock, technical specifications
  • Tariff structure, financial analysis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Institutional and operational framework
  • Training and transfer of technology
  • Implementation concept and action plan for priority schemes


From 1998 to 1999


Juergen Supik