The Spanish Plan Estratégico de Infraestructuras de Transporte (Strategic Plan of Transport Infrastructures, acronym PEIT) by establishing a sound and sustainable framework for the transport system in the medium and long term, gave a decisive push towards the challenge of achieving the objectives of efficiency, social and territorial cohesion, environmental compatibility and economic development in the transport sector.
The role of railway infrastructure charging is a central element in the market relations among the different actors and, as a consequence, it extends its effects to the whole transportation systems providing a clear chance to fulfil all the objectives cited in the PEIT.
The main aim of the project was to generate a set of necessary information and analysis tools in order to support decision making authorities and helping them in evaluating different methodologies to determine how to charge the operators for the use of the rail infrastructure.
Furthermore the project formulated a preliminary proposal of the methodologies able to incorporate the objectives of the mentioned transport policies and to establish the pricing systems as an integrated management tool.
The project conducted an in depth analysis of the relation between costs and charges and evaluated the effects that different pricing schemes have on the general objectives in the transport policies as well as their capability to internalise external costs. On these bases, the project TARIFO studied the possibilities to apply different methodologies of tariff fixing in the Spanish transport framework.
The project demonstrated that a high level of charges, considering also their semi-fixed structure and the fact that must be paid in advance, is a barrier for new operators to entry into the market but also a limit for the growth of the existing operators themselves.
TARIFO elaborated a proposal for a charging system that is proportional to the volume of operated train-km at certain conditions and size of the market.