At the end of 2021 the European Commission published a proposal for revising the Union guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN-T Regulation (EU) No 1315/2013).
The TEN-T Regulation is an EU legal framework which governs the development of a Europe-wide network of railways, roads, inland waterways, maritime shipping routes, ports, airports, and railroad terminals. The objective of TEN-T is to support stronger social, economic, and territorial cohesion in the EU by closing gaps, removing obstacles and technical barriers in trans-European transport routes. It aims to make European transport greener, interoperable, and more inclusive, meeting the aims of the EU Green Deal.
The TEN-T Regulation has been an important EU law for improving accessibility of transport infrastructure for persons with disabilities, persons with reduced mobility and older persons. Although it has been difficult to assess the effectiveness of accessibility requirements in practice, the original law has recognized accessibility of the trans-European transport network for all users, including for persons with disabilities.
The new proposal provides a solid basis for further improving accessibility of intermodal transport for persons with disabilities, therefore we very much welcome this revision. However, to be effective and practical, the final text of the updated law must add more concrete requirements for development and funding of TEN-T projects, including:
- Quantitative or qualitative indicators, targets, and timelines for improving accessibility of the TEN-T network.
- Clear references to relevant EU accessibility law such as the Rail Accessibility Regulation (TSI-PRM) or the European Accessibility Act, the EU Digital Rights Strategy 2021-2030, and the UN CRPD.
- Accessibility and disability-related requirements when setting additional priorities for inland waterway (Art. 23), maritime (Art. 27), air transport (Art. 34), multimodal transport (Art. 38) infrastructure, or for urban nodes (Art. 41).
- Accessibility and interoperability requirements for vehicles, vessels, aircrafts, and rolling stocks which use the TEN-T infrastructure.
- Requirements to earmark funding and prioritization of projects to improve accessibility of the TEN-T network, as well as increase transparency how TEN-T spending is affecting accessibility (improving or creating more barriers).
- Requirements for publishing accessible data on accessibility of TEN-T projects.
- Assurances for meaningful involvement of organizations with disabilities in setting priorities for the TEN-T network development and involvement in projects.
- Accessibility requirements for development of infrastructure in third countries supported by EU that connects to the TEN-T network.
Further steps and information:
- There is an open public consultation by the European Commission for giving feedback to the published proposal with the deadline of 4 April 2022. You can access the consultation survey via this link.
- EDF will also reply to this consultation.
- We will also update our exiting position paper on the TEN-T and use it for advocacy towards the European Commission, Parliament, and Council during the coming negotiations.
- Some national governments have already started consulting national stakeholders, and we encourage organizations with disabilities to provide feedback to ensure strong advocacy for improving accessibility of the TEN-T network.
EDF Analysis of the European Commission Proposal for revising the TEN-T Regulation
The complete analysis of the current proposal text can be found among EDF publications.
Mher Hakobyan – Accessibility Officer