Closing the distance between transport modes Linking different modes of transport into a seamless European system is a vital component of the emerging European transport area. An EU-backed project investigated the best ways to achieve this. Industrial Technologies © Thinkstock As part of its strategy to create a single European transport area, the EU is working to integrate its various transport networks both geographically and across modalities. This co-modality will boost efficiency, protect the environment and be more convenient for the users of European transport. Despite integration efforts, the interface between long- and short-distance modalities remains the weak link in the transportation chain. Funded by the EU, the 'Connecting long and short-distance networks for efficient transport' (CLOSER) project developed innovative tools for the analysis of interfaces, validated them through several case studies, and used its findings to make recommendations to stakeholders. The project focused on a number of themes, including emerging mobility schemes, interchanges between short- and long-distance transport for both passengers and freight, and the regulatory environment. For passenger transport, CLOSER found that for short journeys, cars remained the most popular option due to their efficiency when it comes to door–to–door trips. It also found air travel to be the largest growth market. Freight transport has developed significantly, especially by road, CLOSER found. This is mainly due to improvements in just–in–time logistics and modern information and communication technologies (ICT). In addition, with the help of 30 different indications, the project analysed various methods for linking short- and long-distance modalities. Knowledge and insights gleaned by CLOSER were used to compile three guidebooks targeted at different stakeholder groups. Among its policy recommendations, the project suggested that Europe needs to formulate a clear strategic vision for intermodality and interconnectivity.