How to cope with the increase in cross-border flows?

Qualitative and quantitative enhancement of the cross-border transport supply

  • Creation of cross-border observatories

Detailed knowledge of cross-border movements would contribute to a better identification of needs in terms of road and rail infrastructure  for example, the need to create or reinforce a particular service on saturated routes. It would allow national governments as well as local authorities to establish their transport policy and cross-border spatial planning on reliable data, rather than relying on intuition or using the lack of statistics as a justification for inaction. 

  • Involvement of users in the definition of needs

The active participation of users (actual and potential) in the definition of their needs can contribute to better organisation of public transport provision. This type of consultation is currently almost non-existent. Targeted surveys of users, websites incorporating facilities for users’ suggestions, and regional conferences on mobility are all tools that can be used for more effective transport planning.

  • Consideration of cross-border public transport in planning documents

Efficient provision of cross-border transport also involves a systematic cross-border component in national and regional planning documents (such as the French SCOT, PDU, or ‘contrat d’agglomeration’, the British ‘general plan’ or the German ‘Bebauungsplan’) on both sides of the border. The development of a cross-border component in land-use and development planning for border areas would allow the identification of existing services in neighbouring countries, resulting in better interoperability of transport services, and thus a greater cohesion and continuity of cross-border areas.

  • Informing the public about transport provision

Effective communication on services, connections and existing fare structures is another decisive factor in the attractiveness of public transport. There is a need for improvement in the transmission of information to users on the multimodal transport offer, for example with the creation of cross-border information centres. Joint tariffs on cross-border lines and the use of vehicles with a real cross-border identity can be implemented within campaigns to inform citizens and raise awareness of such services on both sides of the border.

Organising cooperation in an appropriate legal framework

  • Clarifying the roles of key actors and harmonising their approach at the institutional level

The responsibility for and the organisation of public passenger services are defined by the domestic law of each territory or grouping of territories. It also regulates the relationship between operators and organising authorities.
The use of a legal framework (including the signing of cooperation agreements) or the creation of a cross-border transport authority can harmonise the approach of different stakeholders. Local authorities in border areas have many tools at their disposal (EGTC, LGCC, European district...) allowing them to create cross-border transport authorities to manage cross-border services.

For further information on legal instruments, please consult:
Factsheet on legal instruments for cross-border cooperation [en]
Section on legal instruments in the Members' Area [fr]

  • Seeking funding sources

Because of their interregional and international dimensions, many projects involving the creation of or investment in cross-border transport networks and services represent too large a financial undertaking for local authorities alone. It is therefore advisable to acquire a critical financial mass in order to support cross-border transport initiatives.

It is also important for local authorities to consider "co-financing” by organising capital rounds, and thereby mobilizing all relevant levels of governance, to ensure the financing of large-scale projects. The use of EU structural funds within the 2014-2020 EU Cohesion Policy objectives is also possible, as well as the opportunities offered by EU funds earmarked for the Trans-European Transport Network by the MOVE Directorate-general (European Commission) and loans from the European Investment Bank.