A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator
The Atlantic Arc is not only Europe’s largest maritime sea front, but also meeting point between it and the rest of the world. With connectivity being a greater challenge in this area, actions in the Atlantic Arc must be routed towards the total fulfilment of its role as transmitter. So as to improve the transport system, three dimensions must be taken into account: accesibility, contactability and urban mobility.
The transport policies in the Atlantic Arc should aim to tackle the effects of periphery, working to improve the connection of the Atlantic territory with the European Centre. In this sense, the concept of “gateway of Western Europe” should be preferred to that of periphery, notion which strongly sets this region. Knowing that trade is done mainly by sea, the Atlantic Arc holds a specific position as Europe’s interface that must be supported. Modern goods and passenger transport infrastructures are therefore essential to the maintenance of the trade of Europe abroad.
So as to be consistent, the transport network can not be limited to a star configuration, but it should take care of the connections between Atlantic regions and cities themselves. As shown in the FOCI Project (Future Orientation for Cities – ESPON 2010), this contactability is quite reduced within the Atlantic Arc. This not only contributes to a weakening of exchanges between the different actors, but it reduces the attractiveness of the region towards investors. Currently, in contactability terms, the real gap between Atlantic cities is significantly higher than geographical distance.
Therefore, contactability can also be adressed to improving the connections of the ports and the port cities with the hinterl and. The composition of the Atlantic Arc causes the maritime activities to be concentrated in the coast and does not give way to land-sea and sea-land synergies to carry forward to the interior
Sooner or later, transport flows have to go through cities. If the cities must be the nodes that facilitate the accessibility of the territories, the urban nuclei must be able to permit a fluid circulation of goods and people throughout. Thus, a full and coordinated urban mobility with the rest of the modes must be encouraged. Hence, in order to ensure the efficiency and the capillarity of the transport network, the organisation of urban mobility is fundamental to avoid bottlenecks that will compromise the whole system.
In conclusion, proposals on transport networks for the Atlantic Arc must take into account the specific nature of the Atlantic urban mesh to prevent an “archipelago” effect of the fact of a “standard” application of the concept of metropolitan areas. To ensure territorial cohesion and equity of access, the plan of the TEN – T must aim to promote the secondary connections with (accessibility) and between (contactability) the Atlantic cities, true nodes of connections, in a “hub and spokes” design of the territory. A plan that should be supported by consistent urban mobility plans that take into account the flows of the Atlantic Arc. Special attention has to be paid to port infrastructure and port cities, so as to ensure smooth flows and local ownership, willing for an Atlantic Arc which is open to the world and the gateway of Western Europe. CAAC also supports the recognition of an 11th Atlantic corridor, ensuring the sustainability of the concept of motorways of the sea.