The White Paper Goals

Long distance freight transport experiences rapid growth. As the potential for improved vehicle efficiency is somewhat limited in this segment, a modal shift from road to rail and waterborne transport will constitute a key strategy in order to simultaneously mitigate climate change, reduce oil dependency and relieve congestion in the road network.  Accordingly the following goal is set up in the 2011 Transport White Paper:

“30% of road freight over 300 km should shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. To meet this goal will also require appropriate infrastructure to be developed.”

Smoothly working intermodal solutions will be a cornerstone in achieving this, since first and last miles will often still be performed by truck transport.

The Choices to be made

Several issues need to be addressed in order to reach the goal set up in the White Paper. Long-distance freight increasingly consists of international shipments. To create a truly internal market for rail and waterborne transport administrative and physical barriers need to be overcome. It is also imperative that appropriate physical infrastructure, e.g. trans‐European networks and intermodal hubs, can be realised without unnecessary delay. To raise adequate funding to accomplish this may , however,  not be an easy task against the background of an aging population in Europe.  It may therefore be asked if it is needed to also reallocate some funding within the infrastructure budget, from roads to railways and waterborne transport. In any case funding of infrastructure will most likely continue to be a bottleneck. This means that using the available funds in an efficient way is of outmost importance, and here differentiated pricing may be used to get the most added value out of a certain network. Combining pull and push measures is necessary to stimulate the modal shift needed, but making the users pay the full cost of externalities will also enhance the possibilities to finance infrastructure.

Stakeholders´ views

In order to arrive at feasible recommendations that will reach the targets, it is necessary to take on board the views and expert knowledge of the key players in long distance freight markets. Transport service users are the ones that in the end decide which transport modes that will be utilized. Their view on the key criteria that successful modes need to fulfil is therefore crucial. Service and infrastructure providers as well as public bodies like the EC can then contribute with key knowledge on how these transport service criteria can be met in an efficient way. There are yet other stakeholder groups that need to be consulted as well, e.g. regional governments, NGOs and the citizens concerned. A key issue throughout the project was to analyse how barriers to adoption and implementation of policies may be overcome. In this process the views and standpoints of stakeholders were necessary to consider in order to arrive at recommendations balanced policy packages.


A key feature of TRANSFORUM was the emphasis on stakeholder dialogues in order to arrive at policy recommendations that are feasible to implement and yet effective in reaching the goal. During the duration of the project a series of forum meetings was held, each with a limited number of selected stakeholders. These events were complemented with interviews to get in-depth expert knowledge that cast light on the feasibility of different policy instruments.  To initiate a dialogue with a wider group of stakeholders we used on-line discussions and social media, and we presented TRANSFORUM results at conferences and seminars in different parts of the union. TRANSFORuM combined face-to-face stakeholder events with online tools such as the freight survey, which we ran in late 2013.

Our stakeholder selection rationale

Intermodal transport is a complex process involving many types of actors and stakeholders at different levels. If all relevant stakeholders do not work in the same direction, a significant modal shift will be difficult to achieve. Therefore we strived to involve several categories of stakeholders. In some cases interest organizations for stakeholder groups have been invited, which also improves dissemination spread. Incumbent stakeholders obviously needed to be consulted, but it was also of great importance to include new stakeholders that may come up with new innovative transport solutions. Furthermore, the conditions for railways and waterborne transport differ significantly between different parts of the union. Therefore a geographical spread of stakeholders has been an additional objective in the selection process. The actor/stakeholder categories we have invited to the workshops and for interviews comprise:

  • Railway operators
  • Operators of waterborne transport
  • Infrastructure managers
  • Hub operators (including ports)
  • Intermodal operators
  • Logistics service providers
  • Customers
  • Transport equipment innovators
  • NGOs
  • Universities
  • Institutes/consultancies
  • Public  authorities


Jonas Åkerman is Head of research at the Division of Environmental Strategies Research ( fms), at KTH in Stockholm, and has a PhD in Infrastructure. Since 1994 he has mainly been working with interdisciplinary scenario studies focusing on sustainable transport. He has led several Swedish scenario studies, and has participated in four Framework Programme projects.

Bo-Lennart Nelldal is adjunct professor in railway traffic planning, PhD, and has been a leader of the rail research group at KTH for more than 20 years. He has also in parallel worked at the Swedish State Railway both with freight and passengers.

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