ESPON EGTC STISE: Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in the Strategic Urban Region Eurodelta

The Strategic urban region Eurodelta comprises the lower river basins of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. The area is polycentric, comprising a network of metropolises with medium-large cities and cross-border regions. In its capacity of an entrance gate for goods and persons to Europe, it has developed into a densely populated and economically strong area. This role has brought economic prosperity but also major territorial, environmental and liveability issues.

The Strategic urban region Eurodelta faces indeed major challenges: energy transition, climate adaptation, accommodation of economic and demographic growth, ensuring connectivity and accessibility of urban networks, and sustainable land use. Decarbonising the transport sector plays a crucial role in tackling these challenges. The analysis should consider the research area against its surroundings.

Sustainable economic growth has a high degree of urgency. The economy is shifting, from linear to circular, from fossil to clean, from industrial to knowledge and towards more shared, digitalized and automated services. The greening of mobility in the Strategic urban region Eurodelta (SURE) contributes to the EU’s sustainability goals and to more attractive and sustainable urban regions.

  • the modal shift towards railway and waterway transportation of passengers and goods,
  • better inter-metropolitan connections by railway,
  • and a more sustainable land use (limiting urban sprawl, providing higher urban densities, mixing of functions, while also integrating green-blue networks).

More concretely, the objective of this activity is to satisfy the stakeholders’ knowledge needs by answering the following policy questions:

  1. To which extent are the local, regional, national and international flows of persons and goods affecting the sustainable growth of SURE region? How could cross-border movement of people and goods develop in the period until 2030 and 2050, regarding different scenarios of societal, economic and political trends?
  2. To which extent do current or expected transport infrastructure and spatial policies (national complemented by regional) in the SURE contribute to EU (transport) targets for sustainable growth for 2030 and 2050?
  3. What could be done policy wise, but also with concrete actions to better contribute to EU (transport) targets for sustainable growth for 2030 and 2050? By which policies and actions, at which level and scale?
  4. In particular, how can cross-border and inter-metropolitan cooperation contribute to achieving these targets?
    • Task 1: Methodological framework and needs analysis
    • Task 2: Analysis of network and policies of the SURE area
    • Task 3: Case studies on three cross border regions
    • Task 4: Policy recommendations to achieve sustainable metropolitan growth
    • Task 5 – Proposals for cross-border and inter-metropolitan cooperation

Lead partner: Tractebel Engineering S.A


  • UGent-amrp
  • CE – Onderzoek, Advies en Consultancy voor Duurzaamheid B.V
  • Goudappel Coffeng B.V

Period: 1 year (2020-2021)