Transport | Policy Brief
12th Florence intermodal forum investing into transport infrastructures : where to focus?
29 January 2024
The first ‘Community Guidelines’ for the development of the trans-European network were adopted in July 1996. These guidelines incorporated a ‘Master Plan’, detailing the connection of major national road, rail and waterway networks between Member States, with the aim of relieving major European bottlenecks by addressing issues such as capacity restrictions and cross-border incompatibility. The guidelines were amended in 1999 to include rules for the granting of EC and EU funding of Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) projects. These TEN-T guidelines incorporated a series of flagship ‘Priority Projects’ and allocated priority status according to their strategic importance and/or significant scale. In 2009, the EC took the decision to launch a TEN-T policy review, with a view to further developing TEN-T policy ahead of the (then upcoming) budgetary period, 2014 to 2020. The review assessed successes and failures of TEN- T policy between 1996 and 2009. In 2014 a new set of TEN-T guidelines were introduced, thus setting out a clear path forward for investment and action between 2014 and 2030. This new policy is built upon the concept of an integrated, multimodal, core network of corridors, linking major nodes through key rail, road, inland waterway, maritime and air transport connections. To support the transition to a cleaner, greener and smarter mobility in line with the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, the Commission also proposed to revise the TEN-T Regulation of 2013. Accordingly, the Commission made its initial legislative proposal for a revised regulation in December 2021. The new TEN-T regulation was adopted at the end of 2023 and it aims to make the EU’s transport network safer, more sustainable, faster, and more convenient for its users. To address the missing links and modernize the entire network, quality standards should be increased. The Smart and Sustainable Single European Transport Area requires not only a strong political will but even more so substantial investments. The challenges European transport has been facing as of lately are unprecedented (Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, to name a few). This is in addition to the ongoing challenges of digitalisation and decarbonisation.
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