Sintropher’s reference database on financing transport infrastructure Sintropher has also developed a European reference database on innovative approaches to financing transport infrastructure schemes. Results from the 7 demonstration regions, plus discussion at Sintropher’s transnational conferences and workshops, indicate that new tram-based/tram-train proposals are usually technically feasible and can offer a reasonable cost-benefit assessment, but implementation is often impeded by lack of funding in the current climate of constrained public expenditure in European countries. So innovative forms of financing are increasingly important - and much can be learned from approaches in different European countries. The database consists of an overall typology and 10 briefing papers on financing approaches such as various forms of local or regional taxation, local or regional user-charging, and partnership financing between public and private sectors These summarise the characteristics of each financing approach, advantages, disadvantages, city case study, assessment, future prospects, and transnational relevance. For wider dissemination, we have arranged with the major European transport network POLIS to also host the database: http://www.polisnetwork.eu/eu-projects/sintropher Read ...
What is the thinking behind the project?
Peripheralisation of the periphery
Improvements to the transport network within North-West Europe, particularly with high-speed trains, have reduced journey times and increased frequencies between major urban regions. These regions together form part of the economic heart of Europe, sometimes known as the 'Pentagon'.
However, at the same time, pockets of inaccessibility have developed:
- Even within a zone of significant economic prosperity, those areas located even a short distance away from the attractive rail and air interchange hubs become relatively more inaccessible.
- More 'traditionally', peripheral areas beyond the economic core suffer from a lack of accessibility.
The central challenge for the project is to address the increasing peripheralisation of the periphery.
Seamless connectivity to rail and air hubs
Some regions lack high-speed transport networks because they have insufficient concentrations of population and activity to support major new transport investments. They remain car-dependent, which challenges the EU's response to the global Climate Change agenda. Therefore the strategy here is to improve connectivity by best use of existing infrastructure, through technological innovation. Sintropher deals with how to develop new regional tram-based transport systems which connect seamlessly to major rail or air hubs, using where possible existing rail infrastructure.
EU policy context
The project fits in well within other EU-funded projects and wider EU initiatives.
A key reason for its genesis is the 1999 European Spatial Development Perspective and the 2007 'Territorial Agenda for the European Union', with its emphasis on the role of polycentric development (urban clusters) in peripheral semi-rural urban regions.
Time-space maps of rail travel times 1993 (top) and 2020 (bottom)
Spiekermann, K., Wegener, M. (2008) The Shrinking Continent: Accessibility, Competiveness, and Cohesion. In: Faludi, A. (ed.) European Spatial Research and Planning, 115-139. Cambridge, Mass: Lincoln Institute.