Vital Nodes project discussed importance of Urban Nodes for European TEN-T network

The Mannheim workshop verified the first results of Vital Nodes and showed some insights in the specific local and regional challenges. In Mannheim, the need for aligning European, regional and national priorities was discussed once again. The workshops highlighted how urban nodes are integral for a functioning trans European network, as multimodal hubs for the hinterland, but also to divert transport flows. Mannheim identified itself as a connector between Hamburg, Rotterdam, Paris, Genova and Prague, all connected to Mannheim by different modes.

The workshops in the Urban Nodes resulted in a great variety of takeaways. Among them were:

  • The importance of Urban Nodes for a functioning TEN-T network and the need to address the challenges with specific measures and funding;
  • The need to perceive the node in a broad sense addressing the Daily Urban System and Functional Urban Area, which might differ for freight and human transport. Stakeholders expressed that sitting together, brainstorming and planning together was an eye opener for them;
  • The importance of collaboration, with involved inhabitants, regional, amongst different countries and between different urban nodes. However, the numerous networking activities lead to capacity constraints. Thus a ‘network of networks’ is perceived to be of value;
  • The wish for short-term solutions and facilities to bridge the period between addressing the challenges and implementation of EU-regulations/big EU-projects;
  • The potential of integrated projects, which consist of soft infrastructure and urban (infrastructure) projects and thus attract also multi-donor funding;
  • The completion of European corridors requires additional measures to the line drawn on the map but requires measures and investments on corridor, national, regional and local level. Creating an efficient logistics system requires a multi-scale level strategy, setting clear aims for all levels;
  • Data collection and comparability is vital for clear and transparent decisions about traffic flows, related measures and corresponding funding;
  • There is a wish for improvement of the coherency in EU-policy e. strengthening the link between noise, air pollution and capacity.

With the conclusion of the first phase, Vital Nodes moves towards the consolidation phase where the method is refined consolidated in further nine urban nodes before the project scales up to the remaining 70 nodes in the final step. The nine urban nodes will be announced shortly.

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