The EC-funded TRANSFORuM programme invited Jean-Pierre Loubinoux to its Workshop on High Speed Rail in Rome, June 2014. The issues raised by the 2011 White Paper goal on tripling the length of the European high speed network include funding, capacity solutions and priority projects. With participants such as the OECD, the EIB, Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, NTV, Trenitalia… discussions were directed towards the main levers to enhance HSR modal share in Europe. Focus was particularly placed on:
- Cross-border links as a top priority project to be managed by the European Union in its strategy of linking Member States with regard to the existing network
- The need for more integration of HSR stations in the existing network as door-to-door travel times was a lever of modal choice and a strong way to compete with medium distance air mode
- The need for the EC to put the focus on efficiency rather than the means to reach it, such as competition. Several scenarios could lead to more efficient infrastructure managers and monopolistic operators, but one way has been agreed as the top priority: lessening the administrative burden caused by public control of the railway system in some Member States
- The need for a strong decision-maker and independent regulator not only on a European scale, which could be a final aim, but as a first step, in all Member States, that could regulate costs and resource allocation on competitive or monopolistic markets and thus, bring efficiency back to the fore
The minutes of the workshop will be released by the TRANSFORuM Workshop on its website http://www.transforum-project.eu/highspeed-rail.html.
A final conference with a presentation of the results and deliverables will be held in Brussels on 8 December 2014.