Skip to main content
European Commission logo

European Transport Network Model Refinement Regarding Freight and Intermodal Transport to and from the Rest of the World

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Total project cost
€1 256 130
EU Contribution
€1 256 130
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Call for proposal
Link to CORDIS
Background & Policy context

The developed TRANS-TOOLS model which became the reference transport policy assessment tool for the EU. It completed the ETIS reference database which was used for its calibration. ETIS was developed in close cooperation with EUROSTAT to provide the Commission with a policy oriented information system. Although the scope of ETIS and subsequently TRANS-TOOLS was the EU-25, there was some lack of recent information on the new members (EU-27) and on the new neighbours, as well as detailed country or group of countries information recording trade with the rest of the world. Intermodal transport outside the EU is an innovative issue, as well the information on air (freight) transport. In these respects the forecasting capabilities and scenario developments of TRANS-TOOLS can be significantly improved.


WORLDNET aimed to deliver realistic solutions that support policy forecasting and facilitate the implementation of the European transport and energy policy measures and instruments. The strategic objective was to refine the European transport network model regarding freight and intermodal transport to and from the rest of the world, following the work of ETIS and TRANSTOOLS.

The first specific objective was to attain a more precise representation of the freight flows between European countries and the rest of the world.

The project also aimed to facilitate the use and uptake of the model within other countries and regions.

WOLRDNET sought active participation from INCO target countries and/or international organisations interested in this action. The development of a common, international modelling framework gave policy makers a consistent, quantitative baseline for technology, transport, energy, environment and economic trends. The project implemented a new communications network with regions and countries outside of Europe to improve mutual understanding of and planning for freight flows on a global basis.


The work foresaw a concentration with international organisations or countries, in the framework of existing platforms like TRANSFORUM or on an ad hoc basis. A communication strategy was planned to explain the project's research objectives and the advantages that other countries and international organisations could get from WORLDNET. To this aim three conferences were held to cover distinct geographical areas:

  • The European Union's neighbours
  • Central and South America
  • Rest of the World

At these conferences the project was presented and collaboration was sought with different interest groups of the public and private sectors in the main countries of the areas which Europe maintains trade relations. The cooperation with other countries and international organisations foresaw the creation of a platform able to provide the European Union and its partners with a tool for the validation and follow up of the recommendations derived from the WORLDNET project.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission
Type of funding
Public (EU)


WORLDNET undertook this work by combining the technical objectives of database construction with a communication strategy, focusing upon the identification of non-EU contacts. A two-way dialogue was initiated, culminating in the development of a web-based knowledge base through which information could be collected and shared.

WORLDNET attempted to set a new precedent for the scope and scale that could be considered within European freight transport modelling.

Technical Implications

Communication Strategy
Three seminars were held in Istanbul, Beijing and Buenos Aires to initiate dialogue on mutual policy issues, to collect and share information, and to create the basis for future co-operation.

Freight Origin Destination Matrix
The freight OD database initiated by ETIS, and used within TRANSTOOLS was updated, extended geographically, with enhancements for the maritime and aviation sectors. The updating methodology was improved to allow future updates to be made more easily. Versions of this network have been used within TEN-Connect and iTREN 2030.

Extended Transport Network
Extensions have been developed for the road and rail network models developed originally by ETIS, and later by TRANSTOOLS and TEN-Connect. The delivered network includes all the updates made by those projects.

Integration with TRANSTOOLS
Data structures and conventions such as the classification of zones and products have been designed according to the TRANSTOOLS specification. This allows the main results to be directly integrated.

Intermodal Impedance
A full set of transport impedances has been calculated for road, rail, inland waterway, air and sea transport, allowing all modes to be modelled in future versions of TRANSTOOLS.

Knowledge Base
An IPR-free knowledge base has been developed providing access to project results. Networks can be edited online, and in parallel, by the WORLDNET community. Tabular data can be queried using a simple web-based interface.

Policy implications

WORLDNET has revised and extended the freight-related aspects of the ETIS transport policy information system. The data and the accompanying online tools should now be integrated into a more comprehensive update of ETIS. (Note that the original ETIS database is currently hosted within WORLDNET.) WORLDNET should be maintained as a sub-domain of ETIS, related directly to the data needs of the freight components of TRANSTOOLS.


Lead Organisation
Nea Transport Research And Training
Sir Winston Churchillaan 297, RIJSWIJK, Netherlands
Partner Organisations
Universitaet Karlsruhe
Kaiserstrasse 12, 76131 KARLSRUHE, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution
Ocean Shipping Consultants Ltd.
Ocean House, 60 Guildford Street, CHERTSEY, United Kingdom
EU Contribution
Tina Vienna - Transport Strategies Ges.m.b.h.
Lange Gasse 30, VIENNA, Austria
EU Contribution
Rotterdamseweg 183c, 2629 HD DELFT, Netherlands
EU Contribution
Mkmetric Gesellschaft Für Systemplanung Mbh
Durlacher Allee, 76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Organisation website
EU Contribution


Contribute! Submit your project

Do you wish to submit a project or a programme? Head over to the Contribute page, login and follow the process!