Plans to ensure that the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) is fully operational by 2030 have taken a step forward with the publication of nine studies of the current state of play and the development needs of the core network corridors.
The European Commission studies identify infrastructure development needs requiring approximately €700 billion of financial investment until 2030.
The Commission said the studies highlighted the importance of optimising the use of infrastructure along the corridors, “notably through intelligent transport systems, efficient management and the promotion of future-oriented clean transport solutions”.
It pointed out that this was the first time that tens of thousands of kilometres of rail, road, inland waterway connections, ports, airports and other transport terminals have been studied in such a comprehensive way and with a common methodology.
Violeta Bulc, EU Commissioner for Transport, said, “We have to step up our efforts to make sure the core network will be fully operational by 2030, to ensure smooth transport flows for passengers and goods throughout the EU.
“Now is the time to invest in TEN-T projects, and to maximise the benefits of the Connecting Europe facility and the Commission’s €315 billion investment plan. After all, the Trans-European Transport Network is crucial for a Union striving for more growth, jobs and competitiveness. As Europe is slowly stepping out of the economic crisis, we need a connected Union, without barriers, in order for our single market to thrive.”
For each TEN-T corridor, which is led by a European Co-ordinator, a team of external experts has undertaken a comprehensive study. They analysed the current infrastructure status, located problems hampering traffic flows for passengers and freight, and identified action to be undertaken from now to 2030.
The results include preliminary lists of projects which aim at completing cross-border and other missing links, removing bottlenecks, inter-connecting transport modes and enhancing inter-operability – notably for railway traffic.
The results of these studies will be taken into account when deciding on the allocation of EU funds for the period 2014 to 2020, under the Connecting Europe Facility.
The Commission said that in particular, the project pipeline resulting from these corridor studies constituted an important source for the €315 billion European Investment Plan, which was published by the Commission in November 2014.
The Commission also mandated a former vice president of the European Commission, Henning Christophersen, as well as the European Co-ordinators Kurt Bodewig and Carlo Secchi, to identify concrete TEN-T projects which were suitable for contributing to the new investment plan.
They published an interim report and presented their approach to the EU Transport Ministers at the Transport Council on 3 December, 2014.
In the spring of 2015, each European corridor co-ordinator will submit a corridor work plan to the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission.
These work plans will guide the future corridor development. They will build on the new studies published by the Commission, and they will be subject to approval by the Member States directly involved.
The Christophersen-Bodewig-Secchi Group will present their final report in the spring as well.
The core network will connect 94 main European ports with rail and road links; 38 key airports with rail connections into major cities; 15,000km of railway line upgraded to high speed; and 35 cross-border projects to reduce bottlenecks
The Commission said this would be the economic lifeblood of the single market, “allowing a real free flow of goods and people around the EU”.