The new TEN-T network will determine freight traffic improvement

The revision of EU’s strategic policies was launched in conformity with the “Europe 2020” strategy, in order to create a well-defined structure for the development for the European space. This can be achieved by implementing projects for the extension and improvement of the transport and energy infrastructure and by applying national and international development programs to stimulate economic growth and to improve social and political cooperation.
With regards to the TEN-T revision, this process should be approached in the wider context of the “Europe 2020” strategy. In the TEN-T revision document, the European Commission promotes ideas related to transport competitiveness, infrastructure modernisation, without which there cannot be a real competition. Infrastructure improvement greatly contributes to the increase in freight volumes within the European space and it implicitly determines the improvement of transport links with the Asian countries.
“The TEN-T policy review is fully part of the Commission’s proposal for a “Europe 2020” strategy. The European policy on transport focuses on major objectives. I believe strongly that the transport systems of the East and West of the EU need to be effectively unified in order to make enlargement a physical reality, and not just a regulatory one”, said Siim Kallas, European Commissioner for transport, during TEN-T Days 2010.
The TEN-T network will be structured on two levels: the “central network” and the “global network”. The central network will include all major strategic and economic EU transport hubs and connections, all modes of transport and intelligent transport systems, as well as other infrastructure elements that represent an important basis for the development of strategic projects not only in the transport sector, but in other sectors as well. This network will link the West and the East. This will be made possible by integrating the transport networks in the respective countries in the TEN-T network, connecting TEN-T with networks from third countries and properly coordinating infrastructure development. Effective planning of the central network supposes the identification and connection of main transport hubs, the selection of intermediary hubs that will be included in the network, the identification of the technical parameters that should be applied according to the operational needs, as well as the inclusion of the material or immaterial auxiliary infrastructure in order to meet the requirements of transport operators.
“After having identified the major cross-border transport hubs and connections, the links will complete the network. This improvement process is followed by calculations and impact assessment”, said Jonathan Scheele, President of TEN-T Group 1. 
As for the future global network, it will have to ensure access on the central network and also help maintain the internal cohesion of the Union and efficiently implement the domestic market. The global network will link all EU regions; it will be a multimodal network and it will provide a basic infrastructure for intermodal passenger and freight transport services.
The implementation of the new TEN-T policy should also take into account the spatial integration and needs of the domestic market, as well as the external trade flow, passenger/freight traffic and customer needs, in order to provide new business opportunities for transport development. As for the transport operators, they will have to focus on improving the quality of their services.
The new TEN-T policy will help extend the network, thus creating a much more stable link between Europe and Asia, leading to a growth in freight volumes. “Cross-border links will increase in importance. Ports have already earned important functions in terms of freight traffic and in the future they will create a transport corridor towards Asia. Allowing the possibility of change, the basic network should be connected to the proper cross-border infrastructure leading towards large ports”, said Paolo Costa, President of TEN-T Group 4.
In order to improve freight flows, it is necessary to implement the established technical parameters, according to the operational and capacity needs. The technical parameters depend on the traffic volume and the operational aspects. One of the objectives in terms of technical requirements is interoperability and safety. Adapting technical standards is crucial in order to allow an efficient modal integration and, therefore, achieve “door-to-door” intermodality. “The intermodal integration into a single infrastructure is very important. It is crucial to develop the technological sector in order to ensure the implementation of interoperability projects. The intelligent transport systems are also essential”, added Siim Kallas.

by Pamela Luică

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