The improvement of inter-linkages between different means of transport is
seen as vital in making journeys using combinations of modes more
attractive. In turn, this is expected to reduce environmental damage and
delays due to road traffic congestion. However, there is insufficient
understanding of the determinants of mode and route choice and how these
can be influenced by policy actions. Modelling is one way of investigating
the options at limited cost.
The objectives of STEMM were to:
- develop models of intermodal transport;
- identify barriers to intermodality and appropriate policy actions;
- examine the effects of these policies through modelled case studies.
Computer models have been developed for passenger and freight transport to simulate mode and route choice for European networks and specific major corridors. These models have been calibrated for selected countries and routes. In addition, a modelling tool has been devised for assessing the political and social acceptance of transport measures.
Case study results indicated the following:
- Charging road and air passenger transport with emissions-dependent costs provokes stronger changes in modal split than infrastructure investment, and leads to the development of lower-emission vehicles and aeroplanes.
- New connections from Scandinavia to continental Europe may increase car trips, but passenger train trips would increase even more.
- For cross-Channel freight traffic, any move towards greater use of combined transport and rail must take positive measures towards rail - purely restrictive policies towards road transport would have little effect.
- For trans-Alpine freight traffic, the share of intermodal transport can be increased substantially (e.g. from less than 15% to more than 50% in 2010), particularly by a strong pro-rail strategy.
Surveys of operators indicated that the highest barriers to intermodality are associated with organisational/institutional problems and inappropriate price signals. High investment costs can be a problem, and improved information systems are needed. Technical barriers (e.g. standardisation) are less significant, but 'hardware' deficiencies are apparent in Nordic countries.
A set of policy actions to improve passenger intermodality have been identified:
- internalisation of external costs through pricing measures;
- harmonisation of fiscal conditions for transport across Europe;
- stimulating investment in the infrastructure of modal interchanges;
- improving information systems, especially on the overall transport chain;
- encouraging transport operators to supply services based on chains (e.g. by forming partnerships to co-ordinate flows) - by making sure that enough incentives arise in the market place.
In the freight sector, policy conclusions were:
- Rail deregulation and the introduction of freight-ways could be crucial in increasing intermodality for trans-Alpine traffic. Important complementary measures would be the extension of the rail network and a mileage tax to internalise the external costs of road freight. Any strategy needs to be co-ordinated between the Alpine countries to avoid undesirable detour traffic.
- Rail deregulation, rail access subsidies, terminal subsidies and improved logistics can all contribute to increasing the use of rail from Scandinavia.