Sie sind hier: Start > 



Trans-European Networks and Sustainability in Europe


Klaus Spiekermann and Michael Wegener

The Maastricht Treaty states that the trans-European networks (TETN) are to increase the economic and social cohesion of the European Union. However, all characteristics of this giant investment programme indicate that, in contrast to the objectives of the Treaty, their main purpose is to link the economic centres of Europe and so enhance the global competitiveness of Europe. It is therefore likely that the trans-European networks will increase rather than reduce the existing differences in accessibility and economic potential between the central and peripheral regions in Europe.

In a self-funded project for the Network of European Communications and Transport Activities Research (NECTAR) accessibility indicators for different levels of implementation of the trans-European high-speed rail networks were calculated and visualised in three-dimensional accessibility surfaces.

The comparison of accessibilities before and after the completion of the trans-European high-speed railway network confirm the above hypothesis. The high-speed rail lines mainly benefit the large cities in the centre of Europe. The gains in accessibility of the central regions are much larger than those of the peripheral regions; the peripheral regions lose both in absolute and in relative terms.


Accessibility by rail 1993


Accessibility by rail 2020


Spiekermann, K., Wegener, M. (1996): 'Trans-European Networks and Unequal Accessibility in Europe'. European Journal of Regional Development (EUREG) 4/96, 35-42.

© 1996 Klaus Spiekermann, Michael Wegener, IRPUD