CBPT study update: Interreg facilitates cross-border public transport development

Interreg funding helps initiate cross-border collaborations and, if the collaboration continues after the Interreg project finishes, facilitates the establishment of structures for cross-border public transport service (CBPT) development. This topic was recently the subject of a presentation given at the invitation of the Interact Sustainable Transport Network and the slides of which can be found here.

The study’s toolbox and case studies illustrate the range of options and access points available for using Interreg to develop or improve CBPT service provision and show that not only cross-border but transnational Interreg projects can prove very useful.

  • The case study on the bus connection Maastricht (NL) – Aachen (DE) illustrates how different Interreg, and other EU funded projects, may be combined to improve cross-border transport at regional level. EasyConnect, MaaS and EMR Connect are all examples of projects focusing on different service improvements, such as interoperable ticketing.
  • The bus connection Zittau (DE) – Bogatynia (PL) is a result of the TRANS-BORDERS Interreg project. The project, co-funded by the transnational Interreg Central Europe programme included the establishment of a working group within which potential partners met and received advice on the framework conditions for setting up the line (needs, funding, etc.). This project, therefore, enabled participants to meet and work out how to create an easily accessible and attractive offer that could overcome the many legal and financial obstacles.
  • Modern distribution channels are important to improve accessibility of CBPT services. The railway connection Berlin (DE) – Kostrzyn (PL) is benefitting from the Interreg project RailBLU which creates incentives to switch to rail for cross-border transport. It consists of comparative analyses and strategy development, as well as work on digital distribution channels and optimising shuttle transfers to and from railway stations.
  • The small-scale, Interreg funded project ‘Marketing Mozart Express’ was able to enhance the marketing of the CBPT service in question and establish durable cooperation channels between all relevant stakeholders. The project made the service more visible and passengers using the Mozart-Express between Reit im Winkl (DE) and Salzburg (AT) now benefit from better on-board services, such as free WLAN and a content portal with, amongst other elements, information about the region and excursion destinations.
  • One example of a cross-border cooperation structure’s use of Interreg is provided in the report’s inventory of obstacles: a small-scale Austria-Germany Interreg V-A project implemented by the EUREGIO Salzburg-Berchtesgadener Land-Traunstein carried out a comprehensive analysis of CBPT services (bus and rail) and examined the legal and organisational framework for establishing a cross-border transport and tariff association (EUREGIO-Verkehrsverbund / Tarifverbund). This association shall become capable of jointly ordering the means for public transport and applying a uniform tariff system covering the cross-border area. In this context, the study examined the establishment of an EGTC as potential solution.
  • The case study on the ferry connection between Zimnicea (RO) and Svishtov (BG) shows the benefits Interreg can have at programme level. As the territorial analysis for Interreg Romania-Bulgaria 2021-2027 showed that the main challenges related to crossing the Danube River are related (i) to the poor accessibility of ports and (ii) to the low quality of domestic connections. This is providing valuable and relevant information to the development of CBPT.