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COST 328
Integrated Strategic Transport Infrastructure Networks in Europe

COST 328 image

Chairman : Mr. Michel Frybourg (F)
Groupe ENOES
Fax: +33 1.45 63 55 44
Email: (email removed)

Scientific Secretary :
European Commission
Fax: +32 2 296 37 65
Email: (email removed)


3 years; completed September 1998.


17 COST Countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.


  • To contribute to a strategic definition of the integration of the trans-European networks.
  • To develop improved methodologies for the assessment of the socio-economic performance of the transport networks, by studying the roles of transport operators and infrastructure managers in generating better added value from interconnectivity and interoperability.


The primary aim of the project was the creation of a set of performance indicators that take account of productivity, spatial cohesion, harmonisation, externalities and yield management, to be linked with critical factors of success or failure such as financing problems, institutional issues and the extent of technological compatibility. On this basis, an evaluation framework for Integrated Strategic Infrastructure Networks in Europe (ISINE) was produced and presented in a Seminar in Lausanne in March 1994. This evaluation framework has been assessed via four case studies:

  • Accessibility of the peripheral regions : This study has analysed the issues associated with peripheral regions. Geographic and economic accessibility is of key importance. The peripherality, usually considered as a handicap, could also be an opportunity within a multimodal network which includes short sea shipping, air transport and hub and spoke operations. The study looks primarily at the extent to which the evaluation framework applies to peripheral transport infrastructure in Nordic countries, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
  • Trans-Alpine Freight Transport : This project identifies critical success factors, which affect the integrated trans-alpine freight transport network. Tasks include investigation of the behaviour of trans-alpine freight transport services suppliers in response to network characteristics, analysis of the strategies of political actors, interest groups and individuals, decision-making processes on transport network and network modelling.
  • Rail-road-waterways competition and complementarity : A comparative analysis has addressed the performance of the various modes and their users and identifying the critical success factors in intermodal freight transport. A questionnaire survey has been carried out for rail companies, carriers and shippers. Also in the programme are modelling of a transport corridor and analysis of the role of terminals.
  • Users strategies : A survey to establish the roles of users and agencies in participating countries, analysis of changes made by users in response to investments, identification of new users and individual company case studies to analyse behaviour change have been undertaken.


Title XII of the Union Treaty planned the achievement of a trans-European transport infrastructure network which is interoperable and interconnected. Community guidelines on this network have already been adopted. Since decision-making on infrastructure investment by public or private funds is extremely sensitive, assessment tools for maximising added value in socio-economic terms are needed. So far, the cost-benefit analysis of individual projects, for instance a road link, is well established, but does not take into account the fact that the active components of networks (like roads, combined transport, short sea shipping) can be used alternatively or subsequently by freight forwarders or passengers.

Comprehensive socio-economic assessment of the infrastructure network, taking into account the various modes and network connectivity must therefore be developed. A number of research projects in Europe are being deployed to tackle this problem. Among them, COST 328 tests an innovative approach by building and validating an evaluation framework which addresses the socio-economic performance of the infrastructure networks. This begins with the assumption that the strategies of transport suppliers are no longer determined by the characteristics of a single mode, but are demand driven.

Benefits to Different Users

Potential users are:

  • policymakers at European, national or regional level - for setting priorities in infrastructure investment
  • investment analysts and researchers
  • those in the commercial and operational fields wishing to exploit new economic opportunities.

Related Activities


Proceedings of the International Colloquium held at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, 2/3 March 1995
Manuscript completed in 1995
1996 - 237 pp - 21.0 x 29.7 cm

Final Report
Manuscript completed in September 1998
1998 - 95 pp - 17.5 x 25.0 cm
ISBN 92-828-4573-7 - EUR 18165 - Price: ECU 7
Word file for download (423 KB)
Compressed Word file for download (133 KB)

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