EU strategy for the Alpine Region

Rolling highway (ROLA) © Land Tirol
The EU-Strategy for the Alpine Region (EUSALP) is the fourth macro-regional strategy endorsed by the European Council in 2016 with the objective to promote sustainable economic and social prosperity of the Alpine Region through growth and job creation, by improving its attractiveness, competitiveness and connectivity, while at the same time preserving the environment and ensuring healthy and balanced ecosystems.

48 regions from five EU member states (Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Slovenia) and two non-EU countries (Switzerland and Liechtenstein) are gathered under EUSALP, representing about 80 million inhabitants. The strategy involves policymakers, civil society, economic stakeholders, science and citizens.
It is implemented by nine Action Groups under three action-oriented pillars:

1. Economic Growth and Innovation
2. Mobility and Connectivity
3. Environment and Energy

The Action Group 4 Mobility (AG4) operates under the 2nd pillar ‘Mobility and Connectivity’ and focuses on the promotion of inter-modality and interoperability in passenger and freight transport. In January 2016 the AG4 lead was awarded to the European Region Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino which mandated the task to its member Tyrol for the following three years.
Styria: Dense traffic and HGV in
high touristic regions
The Upper Enss-valley between Liezen and Schladming/Dachstein and the Salzkammergut are the highes touristic regions in Styria. During hight touristic times in Summer and Winter these regions suffer on dense road traffic and heavy goods vehicles which avoid the detour via toll charged motorways. Due to the precious nature (Natura2000) and landscape protection an extension of the road network should be avoided. An effective reduction of HGV and road traffic needs common actions of all Alpine transit regions and common measures to shift road transport to public transport and active modes or to toll charged routes..


The Alpine Region: a sensitive area under high transport pressure

Alps as recreation area / © Alessandro Cristofoletti, Alpine Convention
The Alps are an extremely sensitive environment located in the heart of the European continent. Special geographical features cause particular constraints regarding connectivity, accessibility and transport infrastructure. Transport is one of the main causes of climate change – almost thirty percent of all greenhouse gases in the Alps can be attributed to transport – and both passenger and freight traffic volumes are rising continuously. Road transport in particular causes negative externalities such as air pollution, noise and traffic congestion. This makes mobility one of the biggest challenges for the social, economic and ecological development of the Alpine regions. A coordinated approach giving way to a coherent strategy is required to tackle these challenges in order to ensure a sustainable development for the Alps.

The Vienna Declaration of the UNECE Conference on Transport and the Environment (Vienna 1997) defined “sensitive areas” as a field of action requiring sustainable transport development. Sensitive areas are valuable for different reasons. These areas include rare landscapes and habitats, unspoiled areas, intact cultural historic landscapes and nature protection zones. These areas are valuable because of their material advantages, such as contribution to the purification of water and air, maintain biodiversity, protection against dangers, alleviation of climatic impacts, like for example floods etc. There are also non-material benefits, for example stress reduction, leisure time recreation and enjoyment of nature, sense of identity and home, etc. for the individual and society as a whole (T&E 2005). The Alpine Region and their traffic corridors of international relevance are sensitive areas regarding all kind of traffic emissions.
EUSALP Action Group 4 Mobility (AG4)
To promote inter-modality and interoperability in passenger and freight transport.
The AG4 offers a platform to coordinate and harmonise the activities of Alpine regions and countries for a sustainable transport and mobility system. Its mission is to build a common understanding of transport policy and mobility, to define common objectives and to launch specific activities and projects.

In order to address the most important challenges and opportunities concerning mobility in the Alpine Region, the AG4 works towards the following objectives:
To promote inter-modality and interoperability in passenger and freight transport in particular by removing infrastructure bottlenecks, bridging missing links, modernizing infrastructure as well as coordinating timetables and interconnecting transport information.
To support modal shift from road to rail. In order to tackle environmental and social challenges caused by excessive traffic flows of freight and passenger transport the AG4 promotes the harmonization and implementation of modal shift policies with a focus on toll systems.
To develop cooperation and greater integration between the existing bodies and structures in the field of transport to avoid duplications of work and to encourage the alignment of funding. Strong links have already been established with the Alpine Convention, the Suivi de Zurich Process, as well as the iMONITRAF! Network.