STISE - Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in the Strategic urban region Eurodelta


Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in the Strategic urban region Eurodelta: a step forward towards cross-border MaaS

Workshop on 2 June 2022 in Lille

ESPON recently concluded a research simulating passenger transport demand for 2030 and 2050, which calls for action in relation to the mobility fragmentation and inefficiencies across borders. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) is a very desirable policy topic, yet, remaining somewhat latent for policymakers, particularly when it comes to its cross-border dimension. This workshop revolves around the idea of Eurodelta-wide MaaS that was born during the ESPON Targeted Analysis 'Sustainable Transport Infrastructure in the Strategic urban region Eurodelta'. The ‘Megaregion Eurodelta’ is a cooperation network formed by Brussels and other metropolitan regions in Flanders, Northwest France, the Netherlands and North Rhine-Westphalia.

Undoubtedly, there is a strong potential to attain a desirable efficiency in MaaS, where Eurodelta cities and regions gain social and environmental benefits but do not diminish entrepreneurial opportunities and commercial gains. Yet, the EU R&D domain is often risking to outweigh the role of private MaaS operators, unwittingly creating allocative inefficiencies. Eurodelta stakeholders have concluded that MaaS is not an exclusive policy domain but a market reorganisation that can be facilitated by public intervention.

The workshop will address the questions: can MaaS become a viable concept for interregional passenger mobility across borders in the Eurodelta? Where are the bottlenecks, administrative, spatial or technological? Where is public intervention best positioned to fertilise the MaaS market? The workshop is aimed at passenger transport policymakers, network incumbents and service providers at urban, peri-urban and cross-border scale in the Eurodelta.

Presentations by:

Vassilen Iotzov, ESPON EGTC

Stefanie van den Bogaerde, Tractebel Engineering (BE)

Pierre van de Leemput, Tractebel Engineering (BE)

Martijn de Kievit, Goudappel (NL)

Frenk Bekkers,  Province of South Holland (NL)

Tjalle Groen, Mpact (BE)

More information about the seminar and registration



The Strategic urban region Eurodelta (SURE) comprises the lower river basins of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. A polycentric area, 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.

Within 3 hours of travel, over 50 million people can be reached. This makes it a global hub for goods, services and knowledge. This role has brought economic prosperity but also major territorial, environmental and liveability issues.

For instance, transport is responsible for a substantially large share of CO2 emissions in the region, with further increases forecasted, while EU ambitions and national climate debates or policy plans point to the need for a drastic reduction of them.

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 area has four internal national borders (NL-DE, NL-BE, BE-FR, DE-BE) that European integration and globalization have tended to abolish. These borders are crossed by people, goods or services and national and regional/local policy makers feel the urgency to collaborate more closely on policy solutions to address this wide range of flows and achieve more sustainable development.

The analysis considers the research area against its surroundings, but not in a static way. International flows can concern transport and secondary spatial flows to and from megacities in the ring around the SURE, like London, Paris or up to Frankfurt and Hamburg. This can give a measure of the strength of the relationship between the SURE and these cities.

Finally, responding to current events, it has become clear again that crises can affect transport severely. The COVID-19 crisis affects drastically, besides the health of people, free movement of persons and has a huge impact also on free movements of goods with the sudden and unexpected recurrence of borders. It could also bring an economic crisis. On the long term, we may face more sanatory crises, economic crises and crises of other kinds, e.g. energy or digital crises, which may affect cities, cross-border movements and transport. 

Policy questions

  • 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? 
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • In particular, how can cross-border and inter-metropolitan cooperation contribute to achieving these targets?

Expected results

The main outcomes of the service shall be the following:

  • Territorial evidence on the current and possible future impact of flows of persons and goods on the sustainable growth of urban regions within the SURE region as a whole (and with its surroundings as much as possible)
  • Evidence on the contribution of current and estimation of the expected contribution of future territorial policies regarding sustainable transport infrastructure in the SURE to EU sustainable growth (including air quality, climate and energy targets).
  • Evidence on how cooperation (cross-border, inter-metropolitan, inter-regional, inter-governmental) and governance contribute to achieving EU (transport) targets for sustainable growth for 2030 and 2050.
  • Conclusions on the necessary policy, including governance and cooperation, perimeters in the SURE in the context of sustainable transport.

Map the research findings according to your needs and interests:

Passenger transport:   

Freight transport:


  • Province of Zuid-Holland (NL) - Lead Partner
  • The Municipality of The Hague (NL)
  • The Flanders Region (BE)
  • The Metropolregion Rheinland (DE)
  • The Province of Gelderland (NL)
  • The Metropole Europeenne de Lille (FR)
  • The Municipality of Amsterdam (NL)
  • The Brussels-Capital Region (represented by, the Brussels Planning Agency) (BE)
  • The Regionalverband Ruhr (DE)
  • The International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) - Observer
  • The network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas (METREX) - Observer 


  • Tractebel Engineering BE (Lead Contractor)
  • CE Onderzoek - Advies en Consultancy voor Duurzaamheid BV (NL)
  • Goudappel Coffeng BV (NL)
  • Ghent University (BE)
  • Rupprecht Consult (DE)
  • Lahmeyer Deutschland GmbH (DE)
  • Tractebel Engineering FR (FR)


€ 269.160,00


September 2020 – August 2021


  • Inception delivery: 21/10/2020
  • Interim delivery: 22/03/2021
  • Final delivery: 21/09/2021



ESPON STISE Final Report.pdf

  • Acrobat Document | 5.65MB