Capacity of transport infrastructure networks
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationTransport (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
- TERM 018
Policy issue: Optimise the use of existing infrastructure capacity and revitalise rail and inland waterways
Most infrastructure extension work is concentrated on roads (EU and ACs) and high-speed rail (EU only). Network length is however only an indication of its capacity.
The EU road network (in terms of length of roads per unit of surface area) is about 39 % denser than that in the ACs. The motorway length in ACs is less than one tenth of the EU motorway length. Current infrastructure building strategies in the ACs seem geared towards closing this gap. Total motorway length in the ACs almost doubled between1990 and 1999 (2.300 km built), while EU motorway lengths increased by almost a third (12.000 km built).
Railway density is around 7 % higher in the ACs than in the EU when expressed as length per capita, but around 18 % lower when expressed per unit of surface area. The length of operational railways decreased in the ACs (by 5 %) and in the EU (by around 4 %) between 1990 and 1999.
The development of the multi-modal trans-European transport network (TEN-T) is one of the major pillars of the common transport policy. The recently revised TEN-T guidelines include measures to improve rail capacity, encourage short sea and inland waterway shipping and promote integration between air and rail (European Commission, 2001e). The building of the TEN road network is however running ahead of the railway network development. In 2001, only 2.800 km of high-speed railway lines were in service, and it is expected that the completion of the 12 600 km network will take until 2020.
The extension to the east of the TEN-T builds on the end report of the TINA process (transport infrastructure needs assessment) (TINA Senior Officials Group, 1999). The outline maps that have been developed on the basis of this report will be integrated in the TEN-T guidelines upon the countries' accession. By 2015, the TINA rail network is planned to extend to 20.924 km and the road network to 18.638 km (European Commission, 2001f).
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This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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