PROJECT OBJECTIVES

INTERCONNECT is concerned with the role of local and regional interconnections in the context of longer distance passenger journeys. Effective interconnection between trip legs is a necessary feature of a growing proportion of passenger journeys, particularly of those which contribute most to regional and national economies.

Effective interconnection requires the provision of integrated networks and services which are attractive to potential users and this is likely to require co-operation between a range of authorities and providers in the public and private sectors and may necessitate a wider vision than might otherwise prevail.

INTERCONNECT addresses the potential for greater efficiency and reduced environmental impact of passenger transport through encouragement of integration, co-operation and, where appropriate, competition in the provision of these local and regional connections.

INTERCONNECT focuses, in particular, on those journeys that might benefit from more effective interconnections between different transport modes and services, and on those journeys where effective interconnection is currently hampered by institutional barriers, lack of investment, or failure to innovate. By identifying examples of good practice from Europe and elsewhere, INTERCONNECT will show how local and regional transport interconnections could benefit from a more enlightened approach, and will disseminate the findings widely in order to promote the adoption of best practices identified.

PROJECT APPROACH

The first step taken was to define the problem and the methodology to be employed in the project. This included an analysis of the role that EU and national policies currently play in improving interconnectivity, as well as exploring the potential role these and other policies could play.

Next, the project identified potential solutions from literature and defined a first set of case studies in order to examine the mechanisms for improving interconnectivity between the different network scales (local and regional) and between road, rail, maritime and air passenger modes of transport.  

The selected case studies for this stage were:

  • study on the inter-connectivity of rail
  • Karlsruhe rail and tram connections
  • Frankfurt airport
  • Lisbon ferry connections
  • Edinburgh and Glasgow airports
  • Milan rail nodes
  • Malpensa, Linate and Orio al Serio Airports
  • Catalan airports: Barcelona, Reus, Girona and Lleida
  • Train taxi in the UK
  • Ferry terminals in the South Baltic Sea (Rostock and Helsingborg)
  • Amsterdam ferry connections
  • Tri-city area of Gdansk - Sopot - Gdynia 

After the completion of these case studies, there was an in-depth analysis of potential solutions through a second set of case studies, or "test beds" to identify the benefits of particular identified solutions and any possible barriers to their implementation.  The results from the case study and test bed analysis, together with an assessment of the impact of improving local and modal interconnections at European level, are helping to define a 'tool kit' with a list of potential solutions for improving interconnectivity and a set of criteria for the applicability of particular solutions in particular situations.

EXPECTED OUTCOMES

The project outcome will focus on a number of recommendations, for example:

  • provision of new or improved infrastructure or services (notably of new multi-modal interchange facilities, but perhaps also of specialist distribution networks with local hubs, dedicated feeder services, etc);
  • removal of barriers to effective competition (e.g. monopolistic ownership or franchising of infrastructure or services, market domination by established operators, inappropriate barriers to the entry of new competitors, etc);
  • removal of barriers to effective integration of public transport services (e.g. of restrictions designed to avoid anti-competitive practices and which limit or forbid the joint planning or marketing of services or ticketing initiatives);
  • encouragement of integration of services (e.g. by means of joint ticketing, integrated timetabling, sharing real-time information on service status, joint marketing of integrated services, etc);
  • removal of barriers to consistent travel information across modes;
  • harmonisation of infrastructure pricing policies to remove barriers to effective competition in the international travel market (e.g. by reducing the heterogeneity of rail track access charges);
  • removal of restrictions on the inclusion, in appraisal frameworks, of benefits which flow from integration (e.g. to allow community benefits and regional competitiveness to appear in the economic appraisal of infrastructure projects).

By reviewing examples of good practice and testing their applicability and likely performance in representative situations, INTERCONNECT will be able to make a real contribution to the wider dissemination of best practice. Furthermore, demonstrating the application of appropriate analytical tools will advance the state of the art in this field of analysis.

PROJECT UPDATE FEBRUARY 2011

As INTERCONNECT moves into its final stages, many key tasks have been completed and preparations are underway to present the final conclusions and recommendations from the project.  Early in the project an extensive literature review of key sources on current practice in interconnectivity uncovered relevant  input  from all countries in Europe and EC-wide documents.  These key sources were analysed to identify particular examples of problems and barriers to interconnectivity that exist, as well as notable examples of good practice.  At the same time as this literature review all relevant (European) national and EC-wide policy documents relating to interconnectivity were  identified.  

With the literature search database providing the main input, potential solutions to improve interconnectivity were identified, grouped in a number of thematic areas.  The initial thematic areas have been revised to better fit all the solutions identified, so that the categories are now:  local link infrastructure solutions;  improved public transport services;   improvements at the interchange; improved procedures for check-in or luggage  transfer;  ticketing and marketing solutions; and enabling solutions. 

Feedback from stakeholders on the applicability and relevance of all solutions identified in INTERCONNECT was sought at WCTR in July 2010, and also through an on-line questionnaire conducted in October 2010.  At the same time a number of case studies were analysed to show the real-world implementation of some of the solutions identified and their effectiveness in these locations.  A smaller number of “test beds” were  then studied to analyse potential transferability of solutions to other situations.  

Work is currently underway to analyse and present the test bed results, to synthesise all findings from the project, and to finalise the matrix of solutions and their feasibility, applicability and potential impact on interconnectivity in long-distance passenger journeys. This matrix will form the INTERCONNECT toolkit, one of the main outputs of the project.