Transnational railway network – a viable travel alternative
The RoCK programme includes investing, lobbying, research and knowledge exchange to help advance the transnational railway network between knowledge regions of North West Europe. Rail travel is seen as a sustainable and equitable alternative to the car.
One open European railway network
Because the RoCK project implements the Lisbon and Gothenburg agenda in the transport sector, it is eligible for EU funding. All countries in North West Europe strive to reduce carbon emissions and make sustainable modes of transport like rail even more attractive. Another aspect is that businesses become more and more international. Especially in the knowledge sector, a smooth circulation of human resources is crucial. Part of the solution is to transform rail systems that were developed to serve national mobility needs into one open European network.
Mobility and exchange between knowledge regions
The RoCk partners are all part of progressive knowledge regions. The common goal held by the participants is to boost mobility and knowledge exchange between the regions by applying smart solutions to improve the quality of the railway network. Several small-scale investments for infrastructure and other innovative arrangements have been identified, which – taken together – will have a large impact on connectivity.
Removing operational barriers of transnational railway connections
Operational barriers like differences in rolling stock prevent transnational connections from being used to their full potential. Furthermore, RoCK regions suffer from time-consuming adjustment of rolling stock at the border, infrequent schedules, or severe speed limitations as a result of different national safety regulations. The RoCk partners jointly develop and implement efficient and fast solutions to improve operability. Examples:
Enhancing connectivity by innovative arrangements
Realisation of fast and more convenient connections is not only about removing technical and operational barriers. Better connectivity also requires innovative arrangements on infrastructure-related finance, planning and policy strategies. Because of European deregulation of the passenger rail market starting in 2010, RoCK projects will focus more strongly on cross-border travel. New designs for multi‑stakeholder planning processes and financing will be developed. The RoCK partners, together with Kent County Council and other stakeholders, will hold high-level debates on issues like cross-border fare calculation and put these topics on the EU agenda. Example:
- Business case for the Transmanche Metro, an interregional rail service between South East England Northern France, to make better use of the High Speed Train Channel link
Improving accessibility and stimulating use of transnational railway connections
To stimulate railway use, RoCK will develop fast and comfortable feeder facilities as well as transnational, intermodal ticketing and marketing tailored to specific needs and demands of knowledge workers. Projects in this area:
- A business case for an ultra-modern public transport system to connect new and existing campus areas of RWTH Aachen with Aachen West Station
- Concrete steps towards integrated ticketing with pilots for advanced smart phone-based ticketing systems and web-based booking facilities
- Pilot in Reading, UK, to supply passengers with information via a wireless network
- Strategic marketing for the new cross-border connection Eindhoven-Heerlen-Aachen