ESPON TRACC
Transport Accessibility at Regional/Local Scale
and Patterns in Europe
(2010-2014)
The ESPON project TRACC (Transport Accessibility at Regional/Local Scale and Patterns in Europe) aimed at taking up and updating the results of existing studies on accessibility at the European scale, to extend the range of accessibility indicators by further indicators responding to new policy questions, to extend the spatial resolution of accessibility indicators and to explore the likely impacts of policies at the European and national scale to improve global, European and regional accessibility in the light of new challenges, such as globalisation, energy scarcity and climate change.

Project partners were the Charles University of Prague, Czech Republic, RRG Spatial Planning and Geoinformation, Oldenburg i.H., Germany, Mcrit, Barcelona, Spain, the University of Oulu, Finland, TRT Trasporti e Territorio, Milan, Italy and the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

The project addressed the following key policy questions from a European point of view:
-What are the differences between accessibility at three different levels (global, European and regional) considering the four modes road, rail, water and air?
-What is the link between accessibility at different levels and for different modes of European regions and their economic development? How has this link changed over time? Does the strength of this link differ across the EU?
-What could be the territorial impact of rising energy prices on the future development of road, rail, water and air transport?
-What could be the impact of various transport scenarios on climate change, access patterns and economic development?

In addition the project looked into the regional dimension of accessibility often neglected in previous studies of accessibility:
-How does accessibility/connectivity look like at the regional level?
-In which type of regions is the level of European accessibility very different from their regional accessibility?

From these key policy and research questions the main objectives of the project were derived:
-to take up and update the results of existing studies on accessibility at the European scale using most recent available network and socio-economic data,
-to extend the range of accessibility indicators by further indicators responding to new policy questions and further developing the quality and validity of the existing indicators,
-to extend the spatial resolution of accessibility indicators by calculating, besides European accessibility, also global and regional accessibility,
-to explore the likely impacts of available policies at the European and national scale to improve global, European and regional accessibility in the light of new challenges, such as globalisation, energy scarcity and climate change.

The project extended the state of the art of accessibility analysis in Europe:
-It took up and updates the results of existing studies on accessibility at the European scale using most recent available network and socio-economic data.
-It extended the range of accessibility indicators by further indicators responding to new policy questions and further developing the quality and validity of the existing indicators.
-It extended the spatial resolution of accessibility indicators by calculating accessibility indicators for both the global and the regional scale.
-It explored the likely impacts of available policies at the European and national scale to improve global, European and regional accessibility in the light of new challenges, such as globalisation, energy scarcity and climate change.

To achieve this, the research in the project was divided into seven Tasks:
-Task 1: Methodology/indicators
-Task 2: Network and socio-economic data
-Task 3: European accessibility: travel
-Task 4: European accessibility: freight transport
-Task 5: Regional accessibility
-Task 6: Impacts of accessibility
-Task 7: Policy implications

The project started from the standard accessibility indicators developed in ESPON 1.2.1, ESPON 1.1.1, ESPON 2.1.1 and ESPON 1.1.3 and the ESPON Accessibility Update and extended these to first freight accessibility and global accessibility and then to the regional/local level of intraregional accessibility in regional case studies. By exploring several alternative ways of calculating regional/local accessibility indicators and comparing them with European accessibility indicators, the added value of more detailed accessibility indicators was assessed.

The results of the project are
-a consistent set of European network and regional socio-economic data,
-a database of various accessibility indicators at NUTS-3 level,
-evidence on the relationship between accessibility and regional development (GDP per capita, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by transport),
-case studies of regional accessibility in different types of regions,
-exploratory research on Europe-wide regional accessibility,
-policy-relevant findings, policy conclusions and suggestions for further research.

Geographical coverage of the analyses were NUTS-3 or equivalent regions in all countries participating in the ESPON 2013 Programme plus countries of the Western Balkans and larger regions in neighbouring countries and the rest of the world. Smaller areas were used in seven regional case studies (see Figure): EURAM Mediterranean Arc Euroregion, Northern Italy, Bavaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Scandinavia and Finland.

TRACC case study regions


The results of the project in compact form are contained in:

Spiekermann, K., Wegener, M., Kveton, V., Marada, M., Schürmann, C., Biosca, O., Ulied Segui, A., Antikainen, H., Kotavaara, O., Rusanen, J., Bielanska, D., Fiorello, D., Komornicki, T., Rosik, P., Stepniak, M. (2015): Transport Accessibility at Regional/Local Scale and Patterns in Europe. TRACC Executive Summary and Final Report. Luxembourg: ESPON.

The detailed results are contained in:

Spiekermann, K., Wegener, M., Kveton, V., Marada, M., Schürmann, C., Biosca, O., Ulied Segui, A., Antikainen, H., Kotavaara, O., Rusanen, J., Bielanska, D., Fiorello, D., Komornicki, T., Rosik, P., Stepniak, M. (2015): Transport Accessibility at Regional Scale in Europe TRACC Scientific Report. Luxembourg: ESPON.

The results of the seven case studies are available at the TRACC project page of the ESPON website verfügbar.

Results of the case studies of TRACC are contained in a special issue Transport Accessibility at Regional Scale in Europe of the jorunal EUROPA XXI of the Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences.