The Alpencors Project plan stems from the crossover of two fundamental Community conceptions:
- The European Space Development Perspective (ESDP - 1999);
- The documents on the Trans-European corridors produced in the '90s under the TEN-T strategy.
The first conception is based on principles, the second on objectives: both are subject to integration and developments by the Commission, the Parliament and the Council. In particular, the transport policy appears to be one of the most dynamic sectors of the Community framework.
Alpencors Project integrates this thematic approach by using as an instrument the programme Interreg III B Alpine Space (2000-2006), but with a bottom up attitude: that is construing principles, objectives and processes as a complex of interests at the local level to build a common strategy of economic and space development for a part of the European territory.
To the concepts of continental centre, near-to-centre and periphery we can associate, with good approximation, basic infrastructures and economic development rates proportionally different in quality and intensity, decreasing from the centre to the periphery. The Alpencors Project plan concerns a number of regions which can be considered near-to-centre, but that aim at strengthening their centrality and at representing a bridge with the more peripheral areas westward, eastward and southward of that portion of corridor taken into account. The relations between centre and periphery, in the framework of a perspective of balanced and cohesive continental development, are a relevant element from the economic, social and environmental points of view, and the corridor policy is a spreading instrument for a more balanced develpoment.
The project aims to contribute to the Corridor Policy elaborating Guidelines based on a bottom up multidisciplinary approach.
The peculiar approach suggested by Alpencors is based on the following premises:
- The fact of being a multimodal corridor which aims at strengthening both the multiple modality and the logistics of the transport system;
- The fact of being constituted by a territorial belt of which existing urban and industrial systems are an integral part;
- The fact of involving regions and cities with extremely different economic bases;
- The fact of being an instrument which aims at contributing to the economic integration among European countries and regions, both eastern and western;
- The fact of contributing to build a more balanced and cohesive European space. Actually in Europe there is a precise relation between ongoing economic development, infrastructures and access and exchange opportunity within market economy.
As result of the analysis concerning wether the implementation of the transport infrastructure projects examined will contribute to the convergence or divergence of accessibility and economic development between the regions in Europe at large and in the AlpenCorS regions, following outcomes have been obtained:
- Simulation of 6 different scenarios in the AlpenCors area (186 regions) to analyse the correlation between transport infrastructure investments and accessibility and economic competitiveness;
- Conclusions about synergies between different scenarios: considering scenarios designed according the indicators for measurement of cohesion effects of transport infrastructure projects, interesting conclusions has been obtained;
- Highlight positive factors for the institution of the central part of the pan-European Corridor V within the framework of the European reunification process.
- Development of the SASI model: used to forecast economic development in the regions within and outside the corridor, subject to
a) assumptions about eonomic development in Europe at large;
b) assumptions about the process of EU integration of new countries and accessing ones;
c) assumptions about the implementation of EU an national policies in themes like Economy, Transport, Migration, Interregional Cohesion or Convergence between regions.
Some limits of the analysis carried out should be recognised: It did not analyse the impacts of different scenarios of transport costs of Alpine crossings. Such an analysis would allow to reflect about a fair distribution of costs and benefits of the Alpine crossings. It did not analyse the impacts of different scenarios for the east-west transport corridor (Corridor V) and the interactions with the Brenner Corridor (Corridor I). Broader issues, such as social and environmental effects could not be addressed.
In detail, main results concerning each theme are :
Transport infrastructure investments improve the accessibility and hence economic competitiveness of regions: all Alpencors regions experience a gain in production and affluence due to the transport infrastructure improvements examined. However, the gains are much smaller than the gains in accessibility and even in the regions close to the Brenner tunnel do not exceed on
The results of the scenario simulations presented so far have shown how transport infrastructure investments improve the accessibility and hence economic competitiveness of regions. However, the transport policy of the European Union does not only serve competitiveness objectives. The European Union hopes to contribute by its transport policy also to territorial cohesion, a reduction of economic disparities between the central and peripheral regions in Europe. In particular, after the enlargement of the European Union great disparities on accessibility between the old and the new member states pose serious problems of spatial equity, which are aggravated by the goal conflict between territorial cohesion and the competitiveness goal of the Lisbon Strategy.
On the whole, it can be said that a Pan-European corridor is the result of a decision making process in which different actors, operating in different places at different times, act coherently for a common interest. A premise to the institution of a Pan-European corridor is the definition of a specific, long-term 'corridor policy' shared by all of the actors.