A well-integrated, effective transport infrastructure network in Europe plays a key role in creating a single European Transport Area by 2050, as the European Commission outlined in its 2011 White Paper on Transport. Efficient and sustainable operations and means of transport are among the main pillars of this strategy.
Such an integration and enhancement of the European transport infrastructure networks requires the adoption of new governance approaches that can adequately address the key societal challenges.
Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) aimed at promoting a life cycle-based asset management approach for transport infrastructure networks will thus need to take into account an unprecedented demand for
Funding for transport infrastructure systems, which is largely public, is increasingly limited by fiscal constraints. In many EU countries, this has already led to a backlog in maintenance, construction and operation. Unless decisive actions are taken to expand existing networks, maintenance and operations, this trend will in the short term lead harm Europe’s economic powerhouses and in the medium term massively obstruct transport flows across the European transport network. This calls for cross-asset, cross-modal, and cross-border decision-making by the responsible authorities, which in turn requires close coordination and collaboration. This can only happen if communication among authorities and policy-makers as well as between politics and society is guided by greater transparency. The responsible authorities will have to forge a common vision and objectives, formulating it in a common language and drawing on a common information base. The governance challenge is to provide the key infrastructure stakeholders with appropriate data, methods, and tools in order to facilitate cost-related decision-making that is transparent, coherent, and consistent across assets, modes, and borders.
The project will build on best practices and contemporary experiences from four National Infrastructure Agencies (based in Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK) that are considered frontrunners in implementing asset management principles in network governance. AM4INFRA will deliver the first ever common European life cycle- and risk-based asset management framework that allows for consistent and coherent cross-asset, cross-modal, and cross-border decision-making.
The Wuppertal Institute will provide a perspective on infrastructure governance in the context of sustainable development and assess the institutional barriers and opportunities arising from the transition towards a low-carbon, sustainable transport system.