The White Paper Goals

High-Speed rail is an important theme in the European Commission’s 2011 White Paper. The 4th goal of the Paper states: “By 2050, complete a European high-speed rail network. Triple the length of the existing high-speed network by 2030 and maintain a dense railway network in all Member States. By 2050, the majority of medium-distance passenger transport should go by rail.” But as in all network activities, a lot of transport measures are interdependent. So much so that the other goals mentioned in the White Paper are intertwined with HSR (High-Speed Rail):

  • A fully functional and EU-wide multimodal TEN-T core network by 2030 with a high-quality capacity network by 2050 and a corresponding set of information services (goal n°5)
  • Connect all network airports to the rail network, preferably high-speed, by 2050. As well as ensuring that all seaports are sufficiently connected to the rail freight and, where possible, inland waterway systems (goal n°6)
  • By 2050, have close to zero fatalities in road transport. In line with this goal, the EU aims at halving road casualties by 2020. This will establish the EU as a world leader in safety and security in all modes of transport (goal n°9)

In that aim, the following intermediate objectives have to be achieved:

  • Triple the length of the existing high-speed network by 2030
  • Maintain a dense railway network in all EU Member states
  • Connect all airports to the rail network preferably with high-speed rail by 2030
  • Deploy an effective ERTMS system
  • Liberalize the transport sector by opening all passengers traffic to competition

The Choices to be made

The future vision of the European railway network, high-speed or conventional, cannot be realized without measures that will overcome the challenges and barriers towards the implementation of the aforementioned goals:

  • Diversity of HSR methods: How do we make a common action plan while developing different national railway models possible? How do we create a harmonious specific system?
  • Service and Speed trade-off: How do we balance between continuously seeking speed, quality and range of both off- and on-board services?
  • Capacities: How do we deal with both the scarcity of public funds and the lack of infrastructure that fosters competition between different transit projects?
  • Governance: What are the roles and limitations between inter- and intra-modal cooperation and competition?
  • Interoperability: How do we overcome national technologies and resistances in the implementation of European information, signalization, payment and management system?
  • Inter-modality: Where does competition start and coordination begin? What is the zone for implementation of inter-modal platforms? Which types of cooperation can be established?
  • Slow decision-making: How do public and political decisions within the transport system become economic reality?

Stakeholders´ Point of View

This transition needs to be done through both vertical and horizontal synergies, along with the decisions and actions to be made in a short and middle term. Lots of dimensions need to be taken into account, as a transport system is full of intertwined actors and organizations that need to move towards the same goals. Many different categories of key actors need to be identified and involved in the project:

  • Infrastructure management
  • Operators
  • Regulators
  • Public authorities
  • Academics
  • Industries
  • Security agencies
  • Financing sources
  • Users organizations
  • NGO/interest groups
  • Other modes’ organizations

TRANSFORuM combines face-to-face stakeholder events with online discussions and social media conversations.

Involving Stakeholders

TRANSFORuM provided the perfect platform for dialogue, connecting a variety of actors. This is very important, as nothing is possible without such exchanges and information sharing. TRANSFORuM initiated and facilitated such discussions. We were deeply convinced that there is hardly a better way than free discussions to move towards these common White Paper goals.

Through our range of communication tools (website, newsletter, interview, media…) and especially our focus on face-to-face meeting, TRANSFORuM was a great project for actors who are committed to the European transport system’s transition to a  effective, sustainable and harmonious network.

Our stakeholder selection rationale

The identification of manifold barriers and challenges in some early work packages highlighted the variety of stakeholders that needs to be involved in the pursuit of the White Paper goals. TRANSFORuM’s Thematic Workshops were an opportunity to give each of these stakeholder groups a voice in order to build together an efficient and effective strategic plan. The stakeholder categories we considered important in order to achieve a comprehensive representation and understanding of the sector’s concerns, interests, ambitions and momentum included:

  • Actors involved in dynamic innovation efforts, especially in the context of railway competition;
  • TEN‐T representatives for a better understanding on the integration of HSR in Europe’s long-term visions;
  • Representatives of regions and cities to help us identify success factors of HSR efficiency;
  • Railway industries (Alstom, Siemens...) to identify the required technological trends that could ensure a dynamic innovation process;
  • Representatives of funding programmes to highlight the action levers on the new possibilities in infrastructure financing solutions;
  • Representatives from established (traditional) and new railway operators;
  • Passengers’ associations;
  • Railway Actors Unions; to provide an overview of what strategy needs to be applied to promote high‐speed rail as an efficient transport mode;
  • Academics specialised in Rail Transport Economics

In other words, the achievement of the White Paper goals concerning HSR requires a coordinated message from all related actor groups to the European Commission in order to enable the Commission to devise appropriate policies

Our Team

Yves Crozet: Professor, University of Lyon (Institute of Political Science), Laboratory of Transport Economics (LET-ISH)

Christian Desmaris: Associate Professor, University of Lyon (Institute of Political Science), Laboratory of Transport Economics (LET-ISH)

Laurent Guihéry:Associate Professor at University of Lumière Lyon 2 – Laboratory of Transport Economics (LET- ISH)

For any comment, question, or issues about our team please email Cécile Chèze, research Manager at LET-ISH or +33 (0)4 72 72 64 40 (Fax : +33 (0)4 72 72 64 48)

To commit to the HSR theme and give us your feedback and/or resources, please write to

Thank you for taking part! Get our newsletter!