How could Czech Republic truly become the center of Europe? Being better connected…
Czechia is a strategically placed country in heart of Europe, yet slowly, its becoming more and more isolated due to a lack of a good plan. I would argue this will hurt our economy long-term, as other areas become more connected.
Todays situation — Highways
If you look at our location, we are really well placed to become a traffic hub.
One would say we should have the most advanced highway network in Europe. Well, you couldn't be further from the truth — we are lagging in interconnecting these areas. But what if we really do, and send all this traffic heading towards Prague — is the city ready? No, the city urgently lacks a northern ring road, and is not ready to take this traffic on.
So what is the solution, should we isolate everything?
Prague has a pretty big opportunity, it has one of the largest airports in the region, and even though we brutally failed with our own airline, other airlines are happily flying into the city. I would argue instead of SkyTeam, the CzechAirlines should really be part and run by Lufthansa, as it would be much more strategic.
Railways and High Speed Railways
But there are bigger problems — as the other parts of Europe have running or existing super high speed lines (250 km/h), meanwhile we have a “plan” to make one high speed railway.
When should our have our first high speed link (250 km/h+) starting to be built in around 2027 or 2029 — finished around the 2035 timeline. Yup, in 13 years, maybe there will be something. By that time, I really don't know how the rest will look like.
The only thing I know is — a train from Prague to Berlin takes 4 hours, when it should really take 2. A train from Prague to Munich takes 5 hours and 35 minutes.
If we create these train routes — we should also funnel them through Prague airport and to other airport centers like other cities do — do you think this is the plan? No, we can't even get a train or tram to operate to the airport for the last 15 years — but you can take a bus!
To get from Prague to Brno, the fastest train today take little under 3 hours. Well, partly because its taking a pretty big detour, and over pretty old and slow tracks.
If you look at these maps above in context — we are more and more isolated from the rest of Europe, commercially.
The amount of business we could do with other cities like Munich, Vienna, Berlin, and others that would connect is insane — in case high-speed rail would exist, it would then connect us to further high-speed lines from Munich to Frankfurt, and onwards.
So while the rest of the Europe is planning high speed rail, sometimes with Munich — Vienna route even going really around our border, and Munich — Berlin almost touching it — we are more and more isolated…
If I were the government and would make 2 big bets — one would be on high-speed railway — and building it fast, and another one would be micro-mobility and smart transportation inside cities.