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Impact of Transport Infrastructure on International Competitiveness of Europe

Periodic Report Summary 2 - I-C-EU (Impact of Transport Infrastructure on International Competitiveness of Europe)

Project Context and Objectives:
I-C-EU - Impact of transport infrastructure on international competitiveness of Europe – is a research project conducted on behalf of the European Commission (EC) Directorate-General for Research & Innovation 7th Research Framework Programme.
On June 17th, 2010 European Union adopted Europe 2020 Strategy. Replacing the previous Lisbon Strategy (2000 – 2010), the transition process between the two strategy plans happens exactly at the time when Europe is undergoing its hardest economic crisis since its formation. The objective of getting out of the crisis together with the urgent need to remains highly competitive especially against the new emerging economies has made Europe’s competitiveness and economic performance fundamental issues.
In line with The Europe 2020 Strategy’s flagship initiatives, White Paper 2011 has summarized the main objective of European transport strategy which is to help establish a system that underpins European economic progress, enhances competitiveness and offers high quality mobility services while using resources more efficiently.
Given the above challenges and strategy setting, it is obvious that stronger role and bigger contribution of the transport sector in the improvement of European economic growth and competitiveness are highly expected. In consequence it is also essential first to clarify the relationship between the transport sector and the economic growth and the competitiveness and second, to elaborate a working framework so that transport policy intervention can effectively improve European economic growth and competitiveness.
I-C-EU is a project that clarifies the relationship between transport infrastructure investment and its wider economic impacts, namely competitiveness and economic growth in particular. This clarification has been made possible by exploring the state-of-the-art of the theoretical methodology of the assessment tools, analysing current situation of European economic and competitiveness as well as its present and future challenges and taking into account current European strategy being set to improve its economic performance and competitiveness.
Departing from this concept, the I-C-EU Project has four distinct, measurable, and verifiable main objectives:
1. to understand the relationship between transport infrastructure, competitiveness and growth. This refers to a broad field of study, with links to project evaluation, Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) methodology, growth and productivity accounting, regional and transport economics as well as logistics and planning,
2. to contribute on developing a methodology to quantify the impacts of the different investments on transport infrastructure on competitiveness and economic growth,
3. to include these impacts in the assessment methodologies,
4. and to build some recommendations on assessing EU policy in respect of competitiveness and regional growth.
Project Results:
The I-C-EU Project strategy is developed upon the relationship between its six Work Packages (WPs):
• WP0: Management
• WP1: Methodological Development
• WP2: Case Studies
• WP3: Review of Models
• WP4: EU Policy
• WP5: Dissemination
The work started with a methodological study (work package 1) whose main objective is to define the issue of competitiveness and to explore the state of assessment methods used to evaluate transport infrastructure projects.
Work package 2 involved case studies which represent all transport modes and different EU regions, and which involve accessibility to the international market in some way. Case studies will be taken from projects which are already in operation in order to analyse if the effects on wider economic benefits, namely economic growth and competitiveness which are relevant issues to these projects. Work package 2 used different approaches in function of the different transport modes involved in the different case studies. Finally, regional aspect has been given special attention since the effect of growth and competitiveness are variably perceived between the different regions or countries.
Transport and economic models have been intensively used as supporting tools in conducting CBA analysis of transport infrastructure. Work package 3 specially considered transport and economic models in the analysis of competitiveness and regional growth. A number of tools will be studied, ranging from transport network models such as TRANSTOOLS or WCM (World Container Model) and SCGE models such as RHOMOLO and RAEM in the practical assessment of transport policy. Work package aims at analysing ex-post model results, determining if competitiveness and regional growth were taken into account to a large extent by those tools and formulating possible improvements.
Work package 4 (EU Policy) provided an overview of EU policy cases based on the results of work packages 2 and 3. Based on this overview and results of Work package 1, a set of indicators to be used at country and regional level has been established which will comprises the direct and indirect impacts of transport infrastructure investment. Finally a set of recommendation on assessment of transport infrastructure investment has been elaborated.
Finally, Work package 5 disseminates the results produced in the project. Work package 5 is a key work package as it will focus not only as the dissemination of projects findings and results, but also on the communication with the external world, i.e. stakeholders. It involves organizing workshops, stakeholder questionnaire, participating to conferences, drafting newsletters and making a public website.

Potential Impact:
Three main different outputs have been produced as final results in this project:
• First, a synthesis of the relationship between transport infrastructure investment, competitiveness and economic growth.
• Second, an improvement of the methodology used to assess the impacts of investment in transport infrastructures especially on competitiveness and economic growth.
• Third, a synthesis of recommendations on assessing EU policy in transport infrastructure investment in respect of competitiveness and economic growth.

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