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Workshop Paper / Transport

2nd Florence Intermodal Forum Summary – High-Speed Rail vs. Low-Cost Air

Author(s): FINGER Matthias, BERT Nadia, KUPFER David

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The present document summarises the content of the presentations delivered during the 2nd Florence Intermodal Forum, offering short summaries of each presentation, and illustrating the main points made and matters treated.

Presentations were delivered by representatives of different types of stakeholders, who reacted to the introductory questions pertaining to intermodal competition and complementarity of rail and air transport put forward by Prof. Finger. Special attention was dedicated to the competition aspect and regulators, operators, industry representatives, as well as knowledgeable academics engaged in the discussion with Ms Elisabetta Righini, Member of Cabinet Vice-President Almunia, responsible for State Aid Policy and Enforcement in Transport Sector, and Ms Emmanuelle Maire, Head of Unit - EU Aviation market and airports, European Commission.

The discussion was based on the following initial questions:

  • Can high-speed rail continue to expand, if low-cost airlines are taking over as the alternative also on short routes?
  • How much do the subsidies (to both rail and air sector) influence the current market structure and the competition between the two modes?
  • Given that high speed and low cost participate in the same economic discourse and the so far failed attempt of developing integrated mobility regulation, is there room for effective intermodal regulation?
  • How can high-speed and low cost be complementary? Do they serve different needs? Can they coordinate and consistently develop as two parts of the “whole journey”?