Sintropher project database launched on Polis website

POLIS is pleased to announce the addition of more than 20 Sintropher papers to our documents database available on the Polis website. The papers are followint thematic areas: Innovative approaches to the financing of transport infrastructure, and innovative technologies for light rail/tram systems (also relevant to bus and rail). Each reference database consists of a typology of approaches, and series of briefing papers with example city/region case studies.

Background: Sintropher project

These have been developed by University College London as part of the SINTROPHER transport project (Sustainable Integrated Transport Options for Peripheral European Regions) which is funded by the EU’s North West Europe transnational cooperation programme under INTERREG IVB. The project aim is to develop sustainable, cost-effective solutions to improve connectivity to, from and within poorly connected regions in North-West Europe. The 16 partners worked together on feasibility evaluations, pilot investments and demonstration projects, including tram-train systems, pioneered in Germany - firstly in Karlsruhe and developed in Kassel - which allow urban tram systems to extend over national rail tracks to serve extensive city regions; other innovative systems such as the major single-track tram system recently built in Valenciennes; and high-quality transport interchanges that link such systems to major national or transnational rail or air hubs.

The briefing papers on light rail/tram technologies reflect potentials for lower-cost solutions, and/or lower CO2 emissions, and possibilities to run electric vehicles on non-electrified routes. The briefing papers on financing, recognise that new tram-based or tram-train proposals are usually technically feasible and can often offer a reasonably positive investment case - especially if the case goes wider than conventional cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to include realisation of territorial objectives and benefits, such as economic growth and social opportunities. But implementation can be impeded by lack of available funding due to cuts in public expenditure following the European economic crisis of 2008 and subsequent recovery efforts by national governments. Regions that are weaker in population or economic terms have even more difficulty in justifying an investment case in terms of public expenditure, so innovative financing is of growing importance - and much can be learned from approaches in different European countries.

Access the papers


Colin Osborne
Sintropher Project Manager
University College London

Dr. Robin Hickman
Project Director/Reader in Transport & City Planning
University College