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Sustainable mobility requires appropriate infrastructures: challenges with the construction of modal-shift infrastructures.
Shifting passenger and freight transport to sustainable transport modes requires the implementation of smart incentive systems as well as the development of high-quality infrastructures. Especially for rail transport, the further extension of infrastructures is necessary to avoid bottlenecks and time losses. For freight transport, this includes the construction of further combined transport terminals to facilitate intermodal solutions but also the further development of major railway lines. Some crucial projects have already been completed, with the Gotthard base tunnel being one major milestone. Other projects like the base tunnels on the Brenner and Lyon-Turin routes are still under development.Infrastructure development in the sensitive Alpine environment however leads to some specific challenges, especially regarding impacts on nature and landscape. But also, potential social conflicts need to be considered as all new infrastructures in the narrow Alpine valley have impacts on existing settlement structures and land-use.
Europa Bridge / © Rosel
Intermodal terminals and ports for combined transport
The principle of combined transport is that long-distance, mainly international transports are subdivided into a long-distance leg on rail (or sea) and a short-distance leg on road for the local distribution of goods. The hubs of such logistic chains are multimodal terminals or seaports, mostly at a central location within a region. Combined transport is more sustainable than transport on road only. However the time and cost of transshipment and still inefficient bundling of goods, are obstacles to combined transport. To guarantee efficient multimodal logistic chains, investments in terminal infrastructure and technology are necessary.
Base tunnels across the Alps to support modal shift
Cost-intensive large-scale infrastructure tunnel projects are con­sidered fundamental by the EU as well as Switzerland to cope with increasing traffic volumes on the transalpine corridors. With the construction of tunnels, the impacts on nature and landscape and noise are reduced to a minimum. At the same time, significant time savings on long-distance routes are achieved. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a major railway project in Siwtzerland which opened in 2016 with a route length of 57 km. The Brenner Base Tunnel, when opening in 2026, will be the longest railway tunnel in the world with a total length of 64 km between Austria and Italy. The Lyon-Tu­rin high-speed railway line will better connect the two cities and link Italian and French rail networks. The core of the project will be a 57 km base tunnel predicted to open in 2025.
Friuli Venezia Giulia: enhancing cooperation among nodes and connections to the TEN-T
FVG is rich with multimodal infrastructures, with three ports and four railroad terminals. Yet, the existing infrastructural and ad­ministrative bottlenecks prevent to exploit their full potential. FVG region is com­mitted to enhancing cooperation among nodes and their connections to the TEN-T corridors in order to support modal shift to sustainable means of transport.

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Why stakeholder involvement is a crucial factor for developing sustainable mobility solutions in the Alps.
The transformation of Alpine mobility towards more sustainable modes and services leads to several trade-offs: new infrastructures need to be developed which shift environmental impacts to other areas (e.g. noise impacts from neighbourhoods along motorways to settlements along railway lines), new services have differing impacts on remote regions and not all regions and citizens see the same need for changes. Thus, the development of new infrastructures and services as well as the prioritisation of projects always needs a careful communication as well as a close involvement of stakeholders to find acceptable solutions. Several smart ideas on stakeholder involvement and the avoidance of social conflicts have been developed in the Alpine Region in which citizens generally have a close relationship to their environment and cultural heritage.
Traffic participants / © Alessandro Cristofoletti, Alpine Convention
Trentino: Opposition to the southern access routes of the Brenner Base Tunnel
In Trentino, different organizations have expressed their opposition to the construction of new infrastructures to develop the southern access routes of the Brenner base tunnel. Actions to face up the conflict are underway, for example involvement of municipalities and the rail infrastructure company responsible for the projects, launch of an Observatory, monitoring of the ongoing activities and the provision of more and transparent information on the project.
Lyon-Turin base tunnel: Public debate and perception of the new base tunnel
From its initial announcement in the 1990s, the construction of the Lyon-Turin segment of the new European high-speed rail network found fierce opposition from the inhabitants of Susa Valley, Italy, one of the areas to be cut across by such infrastructure as well as, later on, from inhabitants of the French Maurienne Valley. Local groups have set up manifestations and opposition movements in an organized way and have thus influenced the planning process in a crucial way. In France, the national government has thus decided in 2009, to prioritise the project in a specific way: the trans-border section had been specially supervised under the government’s Démarche Grand Chantier (major worksite programme) which underlined, for the public authorities, the exceptional nature of the project. Such an approach had not been seen since the building of the Channel tunnel. An observation post was set up to give more body to the approach and to involve local stakeholders and citizens.
Bavaria: Conflicts related to infrastructure development
In Bavaria, major road and rail infrastructures are currently developed, with the planned extension of the A8 motorway Munich-Salzburg as well as the rail access lines for the Brenner axis. These infrastructure projects lead to various fears in the population, including an increase in noise pollution, effects on landscape and nature as well as the loss of agricultural land. These fears need to be taken up in planning processes through public involvement processes.