The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee has published the study carried out by VVA on Transport infrastructure in low-density and depopulating areas. The study highlights the key features of these areas, which often display unique demographic and geographic traits, and assesses the challenges concerning the provision of efficient and fair transport policies.

This study investigates the key challenges and trends concerning the provision of transport policies and infrastructure, providing a comprehensive assessment of relevant transport policies and projects implemented in these areas. Finally, it provides policymakers with an array of policy recommendations aimed at overcoming the identified challenges and gaps.

The geographic scope of the study extends to all EU Member States, with a key focus on depopulating and low-density areas, including rural areas, islands, remote, peripheral and mountainous regions. Special attention is paid to the main societal groups affected by transport shortage in all abovementioned areas. In fact, the quality of services and well-being of these areas depend also on the condition of transport infrastructures.

The key findings of the study indicate that the Regional and Cohesion Policies comprise the bulk of EU support to transport policies and projects in low-density and depopulating areas, especially those projects funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). With the exception of some references and exemptions granted to sparsely populated areas and outermost regions, EU Regional Policy does not have a specific strategic approach to low density and depopulating areas.

The study also uncovers that road infrastructure receives the highest share of EU funding – both in terms of total and average budget. In the framework of Cohesion and Regional Policy, traditional modes of transport still have a significant weight in EU policies in low density and depopulating regions.

Read the full study here.