Despite the crisis caused by COVID-19, the AG4 was finally able to carry out its 13th AG4 Meeting via web conference on April 28th. The meeting was organized (but not hosted) by the Action Group Lead team in Innsbruck, of which Patrick Skoniezki took the role of moderating the session. As an introduction, Patrick displayed the Alpine Platform of Knowledge (PoK) for Mobility and Transport for all the AG4 members. This interactive and user-friendly tool is freely accessible to everyone. It gathers mobility-related data for the Alpine Region that has been collected in the course of AG4´s activities in the past few years.
The usual round of introductions by each member did not take place due to the circumstances, which is why the Lead team provided a short update of major EUSALP and AG4 happenings. For instance, there has been a range of events attended by the AGL such as the EUSALP Communication Workshop and the EUSALP Annual Forum. The lead also informs about the finalization of the CrossBorder Project.
As the time for the finalization of the new Work Plan has almost arrived, the draft was shortly presented and looks as follows below. Activities by group members in the period of 2020-2022 ought to be conducted under three thematic areas:
- Thematic Area 1 – Smart clean logistics and combined transport to support modal shift
- Thematic Area 2 – Accessibility on local and regional transport links on the secondary network
- Thematic Areas 3 – Smart and low-carbon mobility & innovative public transport solutions
Under thematic area 3, the group will focus on integrating alternative fuels more strongly into the transport sector. For implementing this target as effectively as possible, the French region of Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur has been conducting a survey together with In Extenso Innovation Croissance. The survey aims at identifying best practices, the different choices made by countries concerning alternative fuels, and the share of alternative fuel-vehicles in the different regions of the Alps. The survey is supposed to serve as a basis for AG4 to find a common position and hence be able to influence policy-making.
In addition to the activities under the thematic areas, four horizontal activities have been defined: monitoring; assuming a more active role in policy development, tracking AG4 funding opportunities, and external communication of AG4 activities and results. These are to be understood as central principles running in parallel with all other activities. Funding for activities under the new Work Plan will mainly be obtained through AlpGov 2, a program focused on the implementation of Alpine governance mechanisms of EUSALP.
As effective implementation plays a very central role under AlpGov 2, AG4 together with Climonomics have been working on the formulation of a political statement. It formulates a clear standpoint of the action group and entails research-based recommendations for politicians. The objective of this project is to gain political mandate for follow-up activities.
AG4 is continuing its regular cooperation with the iMONITRAF! network. The revision of the Eurovignette Directive, which was in full progress at the time of the meeting, is a major project conducted within this partnership. iMONITRAF! is currently working on updating traffic scenarios for the year 2030. The goal is to highlight the need for regionally coordinated policy approaches for the purpose of adequately dealing with Alpine transit traffic. As was the case with the political statement, the target audience are political-decision makers, as well.
Based on the methodology for systemic project assessment developed over the past few years, AG4 has been collecting proposals for projects in interconnecting public transport operation as well as infrastructure of combined- and passenger transport. By September, the group wants to have selected “EUSALP AG4 Projects” that have a certain macro-regional importance and comply with general EUSALP objectives.
Another initiative discussed at the meeting is the Youth Alpine Interrail-Pass. Two years ago, the CIPRA Youth Council and CIPRA International brought the following offer into being: a train ticket purchasable by young people for 144€ and usable for the entire Alpine Region for the duration of one month. In this manner, they provide for a marketable sustainable mode of travelling, as an alternative to cheap flight tickets.
Apart from the already mentioned collaborations, AG4´s activities have been complemented by the efforts performed by the Alpine Convention Transport Working Group over the past few years. They pursue very similar goals to those of AG4, while putting the focus more strongly on the reduction of transport demand. Last but not least, an update on the work conducted by Arge Alp was presented.
Even though discussion was able to take place only to a limited extent, members were able to update each other on finished and ongoing activities and the quality of the information exchange was definitely satisfying. What is clear is that AG4 members´ willingness to keep up with their efforts in the following direction is given: to support the shift from road to rail transportation, to promote the combination of different transport modes and between different rail networks, and to develop cooperation and greater integration between existing bodies in the field of transport.
The 14th AG4 Meeting will take place in Nice on the 7th and 8th of September 2020.
For further information on contents and presentations, please do not hesitate to contact the EUSALP AG4 Lead Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
 Climonomics promotes transition processes towards a "green economy".
 iMONITRAF! is a network of Alpine regions with the aim to harmonize modal shift policies in different states.
 CIPRA = Commission Internationale pour la Protection des Alpes (International Commission for the Protection of the Alps)
 Alpine Convention is an international treaty aiming at the protection and sustainable development of the Alps.
 Arge Alp is a cooperation between different territorial bodies promoting cross-border cooperation in the fields of ecology, culture and economy