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COST 340
Towards a European Intermodal Transport Network: Lessons from History

COST-340 Image
© M&S/EKA/eureka slide

Chairman: Mrs. Michèle Merger (F)
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Institut dHistoire moderne et contemporaine
Fax: +33/1 42 82 71 72
E-mail: (email removed)

Mr. Colin Divall (UK)
University of York
Department of History
Fax: +44/1904 432 986
E-mail: (email removed)

Mr. Hans-Luidger Dienel (D)
Technisches Universität Berlin
Fax: +49/30 314 2 6917
E-mail: (email removed)

Scientific Secretary : Mr. Philippe Stalins
European Commission
Directorate General for Energy and Transport
Fax: +32/2 296 37 65
E-mail: (email removed)


4,5 years; to July 2004


13 COST countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, The Netherlands, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom.


The main objective of the Action is to contribute to the creation of a European intermodal transport network by defining a framework of references and concepts to guide current European policy in this area.

This will be achieved by identification and analysis of the obstacles that transport intermodality has encountered to date. In order to propose methods for solving the mot significant problems.


The choice between different modes of transport studied over the long term, will be assessed in order to understand the historic characteristics of intermodality in Europe in the following specific areas :

  • flow of tourists between the north and south of Europe
  • freight traffic on inland waterways

The history of network connections between different modes of transport since 1945 has contributed to defining the possibilities for developing a European intermodal transport network.

The project will :

  • study national and European policies that have tended to favour this connection since 1945
  • define the stages and characteristics associated with national/international and national/local network connections.

The interoperability of different geographic networks (intramodal) and of different transport networks (intermodal) is the key to the set up of an effective European intermodal transport network. The project will therefore seek to identify the conditions which permit this interoperability by analysing successful case studies in the following areas :

  • interoperability through technical standardisation (e.g. Europallet).
  • interoperability through commercial cooperation (e.g. air and rail reservation systems).
  • intramodal interoperability between national networks, (e.g. high speed rail).

The researchers will work together in thematically defined teams which will meet periodically (four seminars are planned). They will use and improve upon existing statistical data bases (e.g. mobility and freight traffic in Europe) and computerised bibliographies.

The results of the Action will include:

  • a comprehensive summary of existing research which will address the contribution of the work to the definition of concepts of intermodality, linkage connections and interoperability and to the assessment of political and technical factors which have encouraged or slowed the creation of a European intermodal transport network
  • case studies (presented in accordance with the common principles defined by the research team in order to allow comparison)
  • a critical bibliography


Creation of a European intermodal transport network is a high-priority objective of the European Community and one to which it has dedicated studies, specific legislation and very considerable funds. Successful creation of such a network should take into account the lessons to be learned from correct analysis of the already long history of the integration of European transport networks. Earlier research ; completed by the authors of this project and their correspondents in several COST member countries, has already demonstrated the historical importance of the concepts of intermodality, interconnection and interoperability. The project is thus based on the postulate that detailed knowledge and rigorous historical analysis of the various transport policies, envisage or put into effect since 1945 can significantly improve understanding of current issues involved in the creation of a European intermodal transport network, of the conditions that would make this possible and of the obstacles encountered to date. Numerous studies in transport geography and economics have been completed on waterway, road, rail and air transport networks in different countries and these will provide key input.

This project will complement existing knowledge with new historical research, thereby summarising and extending its conclusions in order to establish a solid basis for the creation of a European intermodal transport network.

Benefits to Different Users

The principal users of the results will be national decision-makers and experts charged with developing current transport policy. The Action will provide :

  • a critical definition of conceptual tools - addressing intermodality, network connection of differing transport modes, interoperability of different geographic networks (intramodal) and different transport networks (intermodal)

  • an assessment of historic and current experiences

  • extended knowledge of the field (European transport networks) to which the decision-makers strategic analysis and action is applied

Related Activities

  • Day-to-day COST 340 Homepage (for members only)

Image Last Updated: 15-03-2001

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