Key stakeholders from the European Commission and transport industry gathered in Rotterdam for the TEN-T Days 2016 round table discussions. Attendees debated the European Commission’s work on the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), which represents 30 priority projects to facilitate the mobility of goods and passengers within the EU.
I was invited by the Commission to join the discussions on behalf of Amadeus and I’m really encouraged by the discussions here in Rotterdam. The corridor concept is one way forward when it comes to effectively deploying a European multimodal “fast track” network that integrates different transport modes and the services to search, book, ticket, and pay for those modes of travel. Core network corridors were developed to bring together public and private resources to remove bottlenecks, build missing cross-border connections, and promote modal integration and interoperability. Conceptually, it makes a lot of sense to look at inter-city connectivity as “passenger corridors” that can serve as focal points for facilitating intermodal travel, placing passengers at the heart of transport policy.
Most of the discussion about multimodality in the EU is still limited to what is being done for citizens of a given city or country. This is of course positive, but for us a key to the seamless transport system is what is being done for the international or inter-city visitor when he or she is travelling to and in a city that is not home. And as for the numbers, just remember that all airline passenger journeys are multimodal. By starting with incoming airline passengers to connected airports we can quickly show how to shift passengers to public transport options by enhancing their access to information and booking.
The All Ways Travelling project, led by Amadeus, showed that technology is available to enable both integrated (inter-) and multimodal search, booking, payment, ticketing, and the issue of a travel token across air, rail, and urban public transport on the Rome-Amsterdam “corridor”. By enabling the traveller or his travel agent in Rome to access information and on sustainable travel options in Amsterdam, we clearly improve the efficiency as well as the sustainability of passenger transport. We envisage a multimodal “fast track” network of such intercity “corridors”, perhaps as an integral part of the TEN-T, where we can start building a truly pan-European passenger transport system, bringing together public transport authorities, airports, airlines, railways, and technology providers.
For this concept to work, the EC needs to identify key European multimodal passenger corridors, inspired by the existing TEN-T network, bring together public and private resources, align existing initiatives, and concentrate EU funding support. The EC should coordinate the definition of this roadmap by funding the necessary research to provide empirical data and relevant information to set this up. The Commission should also continue funding existing EU initiatives that contribute to the effective set up of a seamless European multimodal transport system, such as Shift2Rail to solve the interoperability issue in a multimodal transport system. We believe the role of the EC, increasingly, is one of facilitator and financial enabler, and that proofs of concepts from pilot tests will stimulate others to join the club of “multimodal fast track cities”.
Member of the European Parliament, Pavel Telička, has recently put forward a pilot project proposal to the EC on identifying multimodal prospects along the TEN-T corridors. This pilot project would seek to assess where there is a potential for developing multimodal information, planning, and ticketing services. Telička has also called on the EC to identify passenger flows and bottlenecks for multimodal connections along the TEN-T core network corridors. We welcome this initiative, and look forward to participating in the discussion on how to make it a reality.
The “multimodal fast track” network of inter-city corridors could be a great opportunity, adding new functionality to international and intercity visitors, without having to replace any of the existing solutions or infrastructure. With support from the EC, many more “volunteer cities” are likely to join this initiative. And once we see the results, my prediction is that all major cities in Europe will want to be part of this multimodal network.
Watch this video to learn more about multimodal travel.