Combined transport as a sustainable alternative to the road transport aims to carry goods in transit primarily on railways and waterways. The extension of combined transport leads to more road safety and less heavy traffic on the road network. Combined road/rail/ship transport of goods represents an environment-friendly alternative to purely road transport. The disadvantages resulting from ignoring external costs in road transport and the increased handling expenditure and requirement for special equipment justifies the promotion of investments in this sector according to European competition legislation.
The programme aims to extend combined transport and to shift road transport in favour of more sustainable modes of transport. Relating to further programmes it is estimated to decrease road transport by approximately 3%. Further objectives of the programme are to reduce CO2 emissions, which helps to achieve the Kyoto commitments.
The Programme is selectively used by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology to rapidly provide innovations and new technologies from R&D programmes to the sector, thereby strengthening the competitivity of the transport economy and its acceptance of innovation. In order to efficiently realise the aims already expressed, the programme supports equipment and systems which are necessary for using combined transport.
- application of innovatory technologies and systems to improve the performance of bi-/ multimodal transport systems
- logistics systems and special logistics services to create seamless transport chains.
Around 20 projects with a promotional volume of around EUR 3 million are financed annually. Natural persons, legal persons and commercial partnerships with headquarters in Austria are eligible for funding. The programme particularly addresses transport and logistics companies (freight forwarders, railway companies). Equipment and systems, which are necessary for using combined transport are funded by up to 30% and initial feasibility studies get up to 50%. Local authorities are not admitted.
The Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology is in charge of deciding which projects are eligible for funding. An advisory committee supports the ministry by providing additional expertise.
Thanks to its wide scale acceptance, especially in regard to the use of new technologies and logistical systems, the programme duration (otherwise till 2008) is likely to be extended until 2014.