The Alpine regions are particularly sensitive to negative environmental and social impacts caused by the excessive traffic flow of freight and passenger transport through the Alps. In order to tackle this challenge the AG4 promotes the harmonization and implementation of coordinated modal shift policies with a focus on toll systems.

In order to have robust figures, it is important to provide a scientific basis for external costs in the Alpine Region, namely the so called mountain factors. Therefore, the EUSALP AG4 commissioned a study to evaluate and update these factors based on the analysis of existing research and monitoring studies.

The development of an integrated pricing system for freight transport is another element in the coordinated efforts for modal shift in the Alpine Region. There is generally agreement that achieving ‘fair and efficient pricing’ is a key step in rebalancing the use of different transport modes. However, the way this is turned into practice is far from straightforward. EUSALP AG 4 wants to take an integrated perspective and aims at the development of a comprehensive instrument mix which supports modal shift, considering pricing components that support a better level playing field between road and rail freight transport and a streamlining of policy approaches (integrated pricing). Overall, an integrated pricing approach should lead to a more transparent pricing for road and rail transport and, for both road and rail, should set incentives to pick-up innovative and low-emission technologies.


This strategic initiative aims at supporting the shift from road to rail by coordinating activities and policies that affect freight transport in the Alpine Region.
Specific aims of the studies were:

  • To provide a scientific basis for external cost in Alpine areas by updating the previous study GRACE (2006) and thus to validate and update the mountain factors for road and rail freight, with the focus on the Gotthard and Brenner corridor
  • To collect detailed information on policy-induced pricing components that influence road and rail transport
  • To develop a comparative illustration of them for supporting political discussions and communication
  • To provide preliminary recommendations to improve the instrument mix for balancing the transport modal split in the Alps


What has been achieved?

The over-proportional environmental impacts from freight and passenger transport were updated in a study on external costs in mountain areas as an important piece of information for the design of common policy instruments, especially for a common approach on pricing systems. The outcomes of the study were coordinated with the Working Group on Transport (WGT) of the Alpine Convention. Results of this initiative were used as common basis for the design of policy instruments and strategies.
In a second study, an overview of existing pricing components was produced which provides an overall analysis of existing policy-induced pricing components affecting the competitiveness between road and rail freight transport in and through the Alps with a focus on vehicles operating costs.
The results procuded provide a solid scientific basis including policy recommendations for implementing measures across EUSALP that promote modal shift in transport from road to rail.

Coherence with EUSALP Action Plan

The AP has a direct link to the modal shift objective of the EC Transport White Paper related to long-distance transport. This strategic intiative supports modal shift from road to rail as it supports an efficient pricing framework for transalpine transport. Also, it supports a harmonisation of pricing system and thus, overall, reduces environmental impacts of transalpine freight transport as traffic shifts between corridors are avoided.
Improved coordination and cooperation with other organisations, bodies and fora such as the Alpine Convention and the Suivi de Zurich process as recommended in the Action Plan has also been enforced through this strategic initiative.