Potential accessibility of regions and their development potential in a "united" Europe - spatial coverage, length of travel and the border effect (EU-ROAD-ACC)

Date: 2015-02-18 - 2018-09-17

Supervisor: Piotr Rosik

Contractors: Tomasz Komornicki, Marcin Stępniak, Barbara Szejgiec-Kolenda, Sławomir Goliszek

No.: UMO-2014/13/B/HS4/03397

The main objective of the EU-ROAD-ACC project, which is of a cognitive nature, is to analyse the interdependence between the level of potential road accessibility and socio-economic development of the region in a "united" Europe, with accessibility studied 1. on a range of scales; 2. for various lengths of travel; 3. taking into account the border effect.

A supplementary objective, which is of a methodological nature, is to propose study methods to calculate transport accessibility indicators using the potential model, including methods for:

  1. Calculating accessibility for different spatial coverage (European level, level of European macroregions and groups of countries, and the national level);
  2. Estimating accessibility for short and long travel by differentiating the beta parameter in the exponential distance decay function;
  3. Evaluating the role of borders taking into account the border effect with a focus on the external border of the Schengen area.

Research hypothesis: Analysing the impact of transport infrastructure (including roads) on the level of socio-economic development of regions should involve multiple variants. Depending on the spatial coverage of study, length of travel and the border effect, the impact of accessibility on the region's development potential may show high differences. When investigating the interdependence between accessibility and socio-economic development in various parts of Europe, the differences in the impact of the spatial coverage and the border effect are determined by geopolitical and cultural factors. As regards the impact of the length of travel, the relevant factors include the level of infrastructure development (density of the system of motorways and expressways) and density of the settlement network.

The project is of an interdisciplinary nature, combining multiple aspects from seemingly distant fields, such as economics and econometrics (regional development potential, econometric modelling, regional production function), transport geography (potential accessibility) traffic engineering (distance decay function, traffic speed model, the shortest travel path), and geopolitics (the impact of the external border of the Schengen area, consequences of border queues, potential in European macroregions and groups of countries, anthropogenic barriers). Thus, not only will the new knowledge be relevant for the individual fields of science, but – given the multidisciplinary nature of the project – it will create new perspectives of analysing accessibility in Poland. Indirectly, by promoting "a united" Europe without barriers, the project could become a carrier of European integration, enlargement of the Schengen area and the EU, which is particularly important considering the threats to democratic processes in some countries neighbouring on the EU. The planned publications in journals from the ISI Master Journal List would be the first publications by Polish authors addressing accessibility issues in empirical terms on a European level.

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