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REIF – Regional infrastructure for railway freight transport – revitalised

Central Europe is facing strong growth rates in the volume of traffic. Current forecasts predict that until 2030 there will likely be a significant increase in the volume of freight moved in CE. In contrast, rail freight’s market share of the total volume of freight moved has decreased over the past few decades. The expected growth in traffic on the streets will raise serious transport and environmental problems if no structural measures are taken to significantly improve the modal split in favour of railways. Therefore, huge investments are in progress with a focus on the main rail corridors (TEN-T). Complementary to this initiative the REIF project concentrates on regional infrastructure & services and aims at increasing the modal share of rail freight transport through mitigation measures for the regional rail feeder system. In particular, REIF is tackling relevant challenges related to the lack of connectivity at regional level because in many regions industries find themselves often disconnected from rail network. Hence, REIF is developing and applying tools to analyse regional potentials for rail freight transport, identifying infrastructural bottlenecks and effective measures for either preserving vulnerable connections or even redeveloping closed tracks. Pilot actions will test novel approaches to overcome different discontinuities of the regional rail network in the participating regions. The project partners from Austria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Poland and Slovenia will then derive regional action plans and transport strategies from project findings to be integrated into regional policy instruments as well as involve public and private market players for regional stakeholder cooperation.

Role of the Transport and Spatial Planning Institute

The Transport and Spatial Planning Institute already developed various strategies how to improve freight transport and maintain or revitalize unused rail infrastructure in Thuringian regions and how to link them to the TEN-T network. Within the REIF project the institute will participate in all activities foreseen in the project work plan and implement them in Thuringia, i.e. in cooperation with the Lead Partner, the Thuringian Ministry for Infrastructure and Agriculture. This includes notably

  1. a baseline study on the status-quo of rail freight transport in the region,
  2. an analysis of the potential for rail freight transport & services;
  3. a catalogue of identified bottlenecks in infrastructure & services, and
  4. a priority list of actions and policy measures.

For that the institute will elaborate joint methodologies and tools in WP T.1 and T.3. These steps will enable the region to develop a roadmap for the implementation of new infrastructure & services and the integration of project findings into policy instruments. Furthermore, the institute will contract international external experts contributing as speakers to the Policy Conference in Erfurt in 2021 and the Transfer Conference in the Emilia-Romagna region in 2022.

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