Three keys for Transport in the Atlantic Arc

Source: ESPON
Source: ESPON

A brief by Tamara Guirao, CAAC Coordinator

The Atlantic coast has the particularity to be composed mainly of medium-sized cities (and ports and airports) distributed fairly evenly throughout the region. The cities of the Atlantic coast are marked by their geographical location, away from the main centres. So as to avoid an archipelago effect , the Atlantic Strategy should assume this configuration,  aiming to promote the secondary connections with cities, making them real connection nodes in a design of the territory based on a hub and spokes’ arrangement.

Thus, the Atlantic strategy should not be limited to improve the connection of the Atlantic territory with the European Centre (accessibility) but to improve the same between Atlantic regions and cities (contactability) and within the Atlantic urban nuclei (mobility), in order to ensure the efficiency and the capillarity of the transport network, taking into account that:

  • In order to ensure the consistency of the system and smooth flows, the Atlantic Strategy should envisage a complete track. So, it becomes evident that the Strategy ought to promote a modern urban mobility, by enhancing the logistics /goods movement and aiming to provide high quality public transport (in terms of prices, population access, servicing), and favouring non-polluting transport/travel modes.
  • Accessibility continues to be the sine qua non condition to achieve a full and integrated development of the Atlantic Arc. This area, gate to Europe, continues to be faced with a peripherisation of the territory which blocks exchanges and synergies with the rest of the continent. In the same way, for the central-peripheral two-way connection to become real, the Integrated Strategy cannot be limited to the coastal areas. The initiatives to be undertaken in the field of transportation must ensure the viability of the fluxes in the interior of the Atlantic regions, involving cities as connection nodes.
  • In this regard, the concept of contactability becomes fundamental. Understood as the possibility to move from one city to another, attend a meeting and be able to return to the city of origin on the same day, this “immediate” connection is missing in the Atlantic Arc, where travel between cities -when possible- overpasses ten hours, as shown in the FOCI Project (Future Orientation for Cities – ESPON 2010).

The implemention of a Transport Strategy based on this three dimensions (mobility, accessibility and contactability) responds to a greater solidarity between different territorial levels to reduce the development gap between regions (both at European and national level) and within regions (between the sub regional territories and within them) and cities, in favour of a balanced and sustainable development of the European territory.

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