Chapter 11: Intermodal Networks and Freight Interchanges
The development of an extensive and efficient system of combined road rail and road-waterway/short sea transport involves, basically, a two-pronged attack: first, identification of the transport network to provide maximum geographic coverage across the whole of the European Union (EU) and beyond; and second, massive investment in freight interchanges and other infrastructures which, particularly since the early 1990s, have begun to take shape and come on stream.
So far as network developments are concerned, the European Commission (EC) has been working for some years on its Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-Ts) plan for road rail networks, and more recently on waterway networks, its Motorways of the Sea project, and the Galileo, satellite navigation and positioning system. Its aim is to integrate the national transport systems of each of the (now 25) EU Member States into a cohesive Euro-wide network, removing bottlenecks, creating vital missing links, joining remote and outlying regions (as well as the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) countries, i.e. Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland) to the network, and developing connections between different transport modes: the Channel Tunnel, linking the UK and the Continent, is described by the Commission as symbolic of its TEN-Ts. The development of TEN-Ts is underpinned by a series of important measures including better use of existing networks, by modernizing equipment and by an improved flow of information between systems by using electronic data interchange (EDI) and telecommunications. There is also a greater research and development effort, concentrated on interfaces between modes (so-called intermodal or freight interchanges)...