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News - Trans-European transport networks: towards a new policy for meeting future challenges

The European Commission adopted on 4 February a Green Paper setting out the future challenges of its policy for a trans-European transport network (TEN-T). TEN-T policy needs to be realigned to contribute more effectively to objectives aimed at combating climate change and to support Europe’s increasing international role through better infrastructure connections with its neighbours and the wider world. Importantly TEN-T policy also needs to be adapted to strengthen its supporting role for economic and social development within the framework of the Lisbon strategy. The integration of all transport modes and intelligent transport systems can be strengthened if TEN-T policy provided a basis guaranteeing efficient and safe transport services reflecting the future demands of citizens and economic operators. In the light of these challenges and lessons drawn from previous TEN-T policy implementation, the Commission sets out future objectives and proposes three options for TEN-T development, while stressing the need for coherence between planning ambitions and instruments for their implementation. A better integrated trans-European transport network is the basis for efficient, safe, secure and high quality freight and passenger transport. It is crucial for contributing to common European objectives, such us the achievement of climate change objectives, providing better connections between Europe, its neighbours and the wider world and supporting economic and social development in the framework of the Lisbon strategy. Combining all transport modes, making best possible use of fully interoperable intelligent transport systems and assimilating new transport and energy technologies are at the heart of a future-oriented network integration. These three elements support the further development of co-modal transport services for freight and passengers. In the freight sector, such a network development approach is for example vital for the expansion of logistics services which rely on the principle that each transport mode is used according to its respective advantages within the transport chain, while enhancing the efficiency of overall operations both from an economic and environmental perspective. To support co-modal transport services for freight, infrastructure development within the framework of the future TEN-T policy needs to give particular attention to:

• the appropriate development of ports’ infrastructure and more efficient hinterland connections to respond to the increasing role of maritime transport; • the integration of fully interoperable and commercially viable rail freight corridors and of Green Corridors; • the removal of bottlenecks on major transport axes; • inter-modal connections, freight handling in urban areas and the potential of air freight transport; • the application of intelligent transport systems for all transport modes and new pricing systems, stimulating efficient infrastructure use. In parallel, necessary infrastructure for co-modal services for passenger transport (such as connections between air and rail services or integrated ticketing) need to be developed too. TEN-T policy will build on what has been achieved before but will also look ahead to exploit new opportunities. A further key component to the successful delivery of TEN-T policy is the range of the instruments available to support its implementation. In this regard the Green Paper highlights a number of possibilities both financial and non financial, stressing the need to establish a good match between the policy ambitions and the availability of suitable instruments. The Commission invites Member States’ governments and the broad range of stakeholders – infrastructure managers and users, researches and investors, economic operators and NGOs, regional and local authorities and interested citizens – to express their views on three proposed options for TEN-T development and on the wider policy objectives. The Parliament is also preparing an own initiative report on the future of the trans-European transport network which is foreseen to be adopted by the plenary in April 2009.

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