White Paper: Railway infrastructure needs significant investments

Aug 23rd, 2011 | Category: Articles, August 11, Current Issue ID, Policies & Strategies

Infrastructure measures mobility. No major change in the transport area will be possible without an appropriate network and a more intelligent use of this network. Infrastructure transport investments, especially in railways, have to be planned so as to maximise the positive effect on economic growth and minimise the negative impact on the environment. The new White Paper on Transport analyses transport evolutions, future challenges and political initiatives to be considered worldwide.

There is a great advantage in making vital political decisions. The transport industry alone is an important branch of the economy: within the EU, it directly employs almost 10 million people and is he source of around 5% if the GDP.
Railway transport is sometimes seen as a non-attractive mode of transport, especially for the transport of freight. However, as proved by some member states, it can provide quality services. The challenge consists in ensuring a structural change to give railway transport a chance in competition and take over a significant share of the freight and passenger medium and long distance transport. Considerable investments will be necessary to expand and modernise the capacities of the railway networks. New rolling stock with silent braking systems and automated coupling should be gradually introduced.
One of the provisions included in the new White Paper on Transport is optimising the performance of multimodal logistics chains, including by using more energy efficient means of transport at large scale.
By 2030, 30% of the road freight transport on 300-km distances should be shifted towards other means of transport, such as railways or inland waterways. This percentage should exceed 50% by 2050 with the help of efficient and eco-friendly freight transport corridors. However, a functional infrastructure is also necessary to achieve this goal.
Other proposals included in the new document adopted in March this year stipulate as necessary the implementation of a multimodal and completely functional EU “primary network”, a high-quality and large-capacity network by 2050 and an adequate set of information services.
One of the White Paper’s new projects to be implemented by 2050 is to connect all the airports of the “primary network” to the railway network, preferably high-speed, and make sure that all primary sea ports are appropriately connected to the to the railway freight transport system and, where possible, to the inland waterways system.
Finalizing a European high-speed railway network by 2050 is an important objective which requires a three times longer railway high-speed network by 2030 and preserving a dense railway network in all member states. Most of the passenger transport on medium distances should be shifted to railways by 2050.

[ by Elena Ilie ]

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