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CLOSER
Connecting LOng and Short-distance networks for Efficient tRansport

State of the Art - Background

The existing transport system still remains far away from that concept. The interface between long and short-distance transport in a door to door trip remains frequently as the weak link in the transport chain for both, passengers and freight. This situation favours the choice of uni-modal solutions by users, and jeopardizes the development of more competitive, and more sustainable, transport chains.

The result is that door-to-door services- provided by road transport (cars for passengers and trucks for freight) largely remain the dominant mode in European transport, and that alternative modes only prosper in particular situations (such as high-value travel, congested corridors or very long-distance transport).

Although interfaces have received a lot of attention in the past from decision-makers, operators and users, and there are already a significant number of success stories, there are difficulties to develop a more systematic approach to their design and operation. To be successful, interfaces need a high degree of cooperation among many stakeholders.

Objectives

The purpose of CLOSER is to build upon existing research and practice, developing innovative tools for the analysis of interfaces, check these tools in a number of case studies, and make concrete recommendations to stakeholders in order to get:

1. A more systematic approach to the whole project cycle of interfaces (from planning to design and operation).

2. Concrete guidelines for decision makers in order to cope with the challenges of a particular project, and to get the most from the opportunities that each project offer in the areas of transport, spatial and economic development.

3. A friendlier regulatory environment; fostering cooperation and supporting better integrated interfaces.

4. Improved mechanisms for financing those concepts with a higher degree of integration (including EU?s funding schemes).

5. In-depth involvement of stakeholders, and particularly of transport operators.

Description of Work

The CLOSER work plan features 6 main working areas, including a dedicated Dissemination WP.Detailed descriptions of each WP are presented at the end of this section.

Emerging mobility schemes.

A depp review of previous research results will be undertaken, and the identification of the emerging mobility trends in long-distance transport in Europe for both, passenger and freight. The WP should focus on the implications of these mobility trends for the urban/interurban interface and the 'last mile'.

Categorization of the urban/interurban interface.

The main objective is the definition of a set of indicators in order to characterize the more relevant interfaces between short and long-distance transport, both for passenger and freight transport. Indicators should reflect: a) Organisational and institutional aspects; b) Users aspects; c) Environmental aspects. Based on these indicators, a structured representation of interconnections and interfaces will be developed, forming the basis for a set of typologies of interfaces that will be retained for further work.

Towards a coherent decision-making framework.

Within this topic, a coherent, collaborative decision-making framework will be outlined, streamlining the D-M process, and making it able to approach the urban/interurban link problem at an early planning stage in every possible context. To do so, an identification of key actors in the project cycle for each of the interface typologies (including, if relevant, differences among countries) will be undertaken.

Case studies.

Previous topics will establish the framework for the selection and analyses of case studies (5-10), so that they cover a broad range of situations in both, freight and passenger transport in various EU member states.

Recommendations.

These recommendations will be aimed at establishing new mobility schemes and related organisational patterns at the interface and interconnection between long distance transport networks and local/regional transport networks of all modes and for both passenger and rail transport in order to facilitate cooperation and interaction among the various public and private actors involved. It will also address the institutional or legal requirements as well as barriers for implementation and give recommendations for transferring recommended schemes within the EU. Finally, future requirements and actions to be taken will be proposed.

Dissemination.

Activities are aimed at promoting the project results, improving access to useful inputs from other relevant projects and organisations, ensuring that the achievements are towards improving the acceptance and subsequent exploitation of the project results by end-users, guaranteeing that the project is exploited to its full potential.

Expected Results

Research will contribute to address the topics mentioned above, offering design criteria and management improvements in order to improve transport chains and to keep alive EU and national transport strategies based on the development of further co-operation among transport modes and the improvement of the whole transport chains. Expected results are:

1. Identify new mobility patterns, to properly characterize emerging mobility schemes and their particular needs in the long/short distance interface.

2. Develop relevant tools for an adequate categorization of each case, and for the identification of key elements, which could optimise the urban/interurban link.

3. Streamline the decision-making process, avoiding the danger of piece-meal decisions, and encouraging cooperation among agencies.

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