Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Managing Interoperability by Improvements in Transport System Organization in Europe; MINIMISE

The overall objectives were respectively:

- to develop policy measures addressing the organization of the European transport system in order to improve the efficiency of the transport sector and thus enhance the implementation of the Common Transport Policy; and- to design measures to promote inter operability and inter connection, economic efficiency and spatial co-ordination of pan European transport systems.
- to analyze the possibilities and conditions for better use of existing system capacities which are embodied in specific modes and networks across the EEA and Switzerland.

The SORT-IT consortium focused mainly on strategic organization, whilst MINIMISE focused mainly on interoperability and capacity management. Both consortia concentrated on the impact of these processes on economic efficiency.

MINIMISE's broad methodology was based on a rational, deductive scientific approach. An analytical framework was developed to determine the influence of deregulation, privatization, competition, system management and capacity management on interoperability and interconnectivity. The analytical framework was then applied to seven case studies which were: European parcels services, Trans-European road freight, European rail transport (conducted in conjunction with SORT-IT), European waterborne transport (with specific reference to Mediterranean traffic), European intermodal freight transport and European urban and interurban public transport. SORT-IT also considered the intermodal passenger transport, telematics, inland waterways and short sea shipping (Baltic and North Sea) sectors. For each case study, MINIMISE identified impediments to interoperability and policy measures ('events') that could overcome them. These events were then subject to an evaluation phase which involved passing through institutional, economic and distributive filters and an assessment of welfare impacts using a partial equilibrium micro-economic model.

In the SORT-IT/MINIMISE Joint Final Report some 50 detailed recommendations can be summarized with respect to ten headings. Five of these mainly involve system organization and five refer to interoperability, although the recommendations are inter-related.
With respect to interoperability, the recommendations are:
- Greater usage of telematics should be stimulated through financial incentives, stimulation of co-operation and standardization of telematic equipment.
- The interconnectivity of networks should be improved. In addition, the design of new transport infrastructure should be more flexible in order to minimize re-design costs so as to reach a higher level of interoperability.
- The usage of modern transport equipment needs to be stimulated through regulatory measures such as technical standards and interoperability guidelines.
- Organizational structures need to be harmonized through the development of common guidelines for infrastructure usage prices, standardization of transport equipment and further privatization and deregulation in transport related markets.
- The regulatory framework needs to be harmonized with respect to, for example, common custom requirements, common documentation and common regulations regarding driving bans.

It has been possible to quantify some of the policy measures proposed.For example, it is estimated that further privatization in the air sector would lead to cost saving benefits of around 0.9 bn per annum, whilst increased competition would lead to benefits of around 2 bn per annum. For rail it was estimated that further corporatisation/privatization could lead to benefits of 10 bn per annum, whilst coach deregulation might yield benefits of around 1.5 bn per annum. The franchising of urban and regional transport was estimated to lead to benefits of 6.5 bn per annum.
With respect to interoperability, it was estimated that improvements in rail freight, including enhanced border crossing capacity between the EU and CEEC could yield benefits of 1.4 bn per annum. For road freight, a package including improved border crossing capacity between the EU and CEEC, increased usage of telematics and harmonization of vehicle dimensions was estimated to lead to benefits of 4.5 bn per annum. For rail passenger transport, the introduction of multi system High Speed Trains was estimated to produce benefits of 1.3 bn per annum. For urban and regional transport, a number of measures including park and ride, low floor vehicles and interoperable light and heavy rail systems (as in Karlruhe) were believed to lead to benefits of 5.4 bn per annum.
% Overall, it was estimated that organizational reforms of public transport could lead to benefits of around 21 bn per annum, whilst the removal of key barriers to interoperability may have benefits of around 13 bn per annum. However, it was also found that the internalization of externalities in passenger transport through infrastructure charges may have benefits of 23 bn per annum. It was therefore concluded that within SORT-IT and MINIMISE's terms of reference the policy priority should be on continued organizational reform, followed by a focus on increasing interoperability, interconnection and intermodality.However, the internalization of externalities may be an even greater policy priority.

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