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REORIENT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 513567
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Spain

Weighing the balance for rail freight support

Has transporting freight by rail been left in the past? The EU-funded Reorient project examined the intricacies of implementing change to freight rail in central Europe highlighting the role of public support.
Weighing the balance for rail freight support
All businesses need to change with the times and the European railway system is no exception. In order to comply with measures for more sustainable European mobility, rail freight must become a more viable option, serving to lessen road congestion.

However there are obstacles. If new trans-European rail freight solutions are to be implemented, support by the voting public and politicians is required since the rail freight and logistic industry cannot go it alone. The volume of rail freight in central Europe is much larger than it is in western European countries yet its popularity has declined in light of an expanding market economy which favours funding highways rather than railways.

The EU-funded Reorient project examined how change in the European railway system can be implemented by conducting a survey to uncover which aspects enable social support for rail and those considered to be deterrents. Voters and local politicians were interviewed using a twice translated questionnaire to make sure question perception was the same in all countries. Included in the analysis were factors such as crime prevention and education as well as perceptions of traffic congestion, accidents and noise and environmental pollution.

Funding rail freight is contentious as finance must be channelled from other social projects including health, environment and education. Support from politicians and the European public is therefore essential for the introduction of a seamless rail system for Europe.

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