Dr. Morfoulaki Maria, CERTH-HIT, Myrovali Glykeria, CERTH-HIT, Chrysostomou Katerina, CERTH-HIT


Based on a dedicated examination of 11 hubs in SEE (Rail4SEE project) the paper tries to develop city clusters and to conclude in key messages that can feed future policy as for strengthening intermodality and rail use in the area.


South East Europe is an area undergoing radical changes the last years; its countries, although fragile from the recurrent effects of economic crisis, are timidly moving on a recovery path and are trying to catch up with the rest European countries. A flagship field that needs improvement so as to provide better living conditions to citizens is this of transportation. Mobility is vital for the area, both for the growth of city hubs and for the revitalization and stimulation of transnational trips that will give rise to a virtuous cycle in SEE countries’ economies. Tackling the low use of PuT in SEE, from the one hand through supporting high speed and long distance connections among the hubs (transnational level) and from the other hand through developing a coherent and stable intermodal PuT network (urban and national level) although sounding ambitious, it is however, attainable.

Based on a dedicated examination of 11 city hubs in SEE (Bologna, Venice, Trieste, Ljubljana, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Thessaloniki, Sofia, Zagreb and Bucharest) and on the early results of “Rail4SEE – Rail Hub Cities for South East Europe” project (South East Europe programme, Regional Policy's Territorial Cooperation, EU), this paper tries to develop clusters of cities that present similar characteristics and to conclude in key messages for those clusters that can feed future policy actions aiming to strengthen intermodality in the area. Albeit not trying to force a “one-size-fits-all” strategy, best practices exchange among hubs belonging in the same cluster and possible synergies between hubs presenting competitive rail connections rank among the targets of the clustering procedure that represents the core axis of the current paper.

Clusters of hubs are defined as sub groups of the examined hubs which in current status substantiate a synergetic operational scheme for green & seamless transportation of passenger in SEE and/or groups of hubs which in accordance to their future investments plans are compatible in scope, priorities and time schedule of their future investments and can create the basis for joint development of new, modern intermodal rail based PuT services of high penetration to passengers. The collection of data and the brief analysis of the involved hubs is the preliminary step before the clustering. The clustering of the 11 hubs, taking into account issues such as currently provided transportation services, additional provisions to passengers (ICT and non ICT provision, timetables harmonization, ticket integration), existing governance and financial schemes and potential future improvements brought by the realization of ongoing and future plans, is made on a three level approach; urban (city hub integration), national (city hub accessibility) and international level (city hub interconnectivity).
The gaps in offering seamless intermodal rail based transportation in the study area highlighted vividly the areas that need further enhancement. The paper closes with key messages derived from the whole analysis as regards the future needs of each hub and the necessary investments that can contribute to the development of a seamless passengers’ intermodal public transport network rail based in SEE.


Association for European Transport