High Speed Rail and Spatial Scenarios for Europe 2050
This presentation illustrated the likely impacts of high-speed rail projects on spatial development in Europe based on the ESPON project ET2050 (Territorial Scenarios and Visions for Europe) conducted in 2011-2014. The objective of the ESPON project was to develop a vision of the spatial structure of Europe based on scientific evidence by a large team of researchers of different European countries. The task of the German project partners was modelling the spatial development of the European territory until the year 2050 based on the structural and cohesion policy of the EU and further implementation of the Transeuropean Transport Networks. Three scenarios were compared namely Megas Scenario A (for promotion of large European metropolitan areas), Cities Scenario B (for promotion of major European cities are promoted), and Regions Scenario C (for promotion of rural and peripheral regions). High-speed rail was a major component of the Megas Scenario A. The comparison of the model results showed that the scenarios incorporating high-speed rail promoted economic growth but also increased the inequality between European regions and the energy consumption of transport. The conclusion is that promoting medium-speed rail connecting medium-sized cities would better serve the EU goals of equity and sustainability.