The Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) 2013-2020 policy evaluation, based on Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013, has been broadly influential in supporting the EU’s objectives to establish an efficient infrastructure that facilitates the internal market, territorial, economic and social cohesion. The goals of greater sustainability and increased benefits for users, on the other hand, require the substantial reinforcement of current measures.

On 26 May, the European Commission published an evaluation of the T-TEN planning and decision-making process in the Staff Working Document on the evaluation of the Regulation (EU) N° 1315/2013 on Union Guidelines for the development of a trans-European transport network. The evaluation was carried out almost halfway between the entering into force of the TEN-T Regulation in 2013 and the first key milestone of TEN-T policy – completing the core network in 2030. It assessed to what extent the implementation efforts have led to the results and benefits expected and whether implementation is on track for meeting the 2030 and 2050 milestones. It also looked at whether the objectives and related standards and requirements are still relevant and coherent given the EU’s environmental ambitions.

The TEN-T policy addresses the implementation and development of a Europe-wide network of railway lines, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports and railroad terminals. It shifted focus from a largely priority-projects-based approach to a full-network process. After the evaluation, changes went smoothly, and it did not disrupt the continuous development of transport infrastructure. However, key projects, notably the former priority projects with crucial geographical locations, remained vital to the overall European network. The intense focus on the practical side of the network reinforced the link between infrastructure and transport policy objectives and service quality. All this suggests that the EU’s 2013-2020 TEN-T policy succeeded in supporting the development of the infrastructure needed for the EU to meet its broader transport policy objectives.

The evaluation also highlighted a need for a thorough assessment of progress on implementing the projects, particularly the projects located on the core network completed by 2030. This assessment would enable the identification of possible measures to ensure the completion of the network on time and in line with EU standards.

The challenges to how Europe’s transport system is organised will increase TEN-T policy’s demand towards 2030/2050, including pressures to reach ambitious climate objectives, accelerate the digitalisation of transport and meet changing user expectations. Focusing only on a recalibration of specific standards or the requirements necessary would be insufficient for the overall objectives of establishing a green, digital and modal shift. The EC identifies that an integrated network approach centred on interoperability and increased efficiency while addressing all shortcomings is needed since it would help meet the objectives and milestones set out in the European Green Deal and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy.

Source: European Commission