Efficient intermodal freight transport in the Alps

The Alpine Innovation for Combined Transport (AlpInnoCT) project aims to increase the efficiency of combined transport (CT) – intermodal transport where most of the journey is done by rail, inland waterway or sea and as little as possible by road – for freight in the Alpine region. This will promote use of low-carbon CT, particularly rail, and contribute to the development of a more sustainable transport system.

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" AlpInnoCT aims to improve intermodal goods transport, particularly by rail, in the Alpine space. The various road routes are full of lorries, with negative environmental effects in terms of emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases and noise, not to mention accidents. The objective of the project is to support, in as far as possible, the transfer of freight from the roads to the railways. "

Alberto Cozzi, project manager, Port Network Authority of the Eastern Adriatic Sea – Port of Trieste

AlpInnoCT is describing the current situation of the Alpine freight transport system, focusing above all on CT, and making recommendations for the development of an ideal CT model through the transfer of industrial know-how.

It has also produced guidelines for the integration of innovative intermodal solutions and approaches into day-to-day CT operations and set up an Alpine-wide dialogue platform, with events bringing together stakeholders and target groups and providing an opportunity for information exchange.

The results will be summarised in the AlpInnoCT ‘Toolbox of Action’, which comes in the form of a handbook that translates technical and scientific findings into easy-to-understand language. As part of a participatory approach aimed at tackling a lack of communication between sectors within the CT system, its contents will be reviewed at events attended by all interested parties.

A sensitive ecosystem

The Alps are a sensitive ecosystem which must be protected from pollution and climate change. However, continued growth in freight traffic volumes is causing environmental problems, reinforcing the need to review how goods are transported and develop innovative models to protect the Alpine space, such as those set out in the EU’s 2011 White Paper on the Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area.

A key aim of the EU Strategy for the Alpine Region, which works to strengthen cooperation between Alpine states based on common goals, is to increase use of ecologically sound transport and establish more efficient freight corridors. For CT to play a full part in this, it is vital to make it more effective.

Industrial know-how and strategic analysis

AlpInnoCT looks to improve processes and cooperation in CT networks, integrate innovative approaches so as to foster a modal shift from road to rail, and enhance knowledge and participation possibilities for stakeholders. Its application of industrial expertise, backed by analysis of existing strategies, policies and processes and development of content within a transnational public-private partnership, represents a new approach to CT.

The main result will be more efficient goods transport in the Alps and greater emphasis on CT, with processes becoming more organised, productive and better coordinated at international level. Enhanced cooperation between and information for stakeholders will increase awareness of and access to low-carbon transport, leading to considerable volumes of freight shifting to rail.

Logistics operators will benefit from the improved processes and access to CT, while wagon and semi-trailer producers will gain insight into transport innovations. NGOs and public institutions will have a platform to put their views forward and decision makers will be better prepared to shape the future CT framework, particularly as regards the environment.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “AlpInnoCT - Alpine Innovation for Combined Transport” is EUR 3 088 272, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 548 531 through the “Alpine Space” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.


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