27 November 2023

How Interreg kicked off green transport corridors

Written by Elena Kolosova
The regions worked together to bring the regional perspective to the development of the EU transport corridors. Through transnational cooperation, they created long-lasting connections to roll out green transport solutions. We take a look back at 25 years of Interreg Baltic Sea Region cooperation in the field of green transport.
Connecting regions along transport corridors

Interreg projects significantly contributed to the development of transport corridors in the region.

Ann Irene Saeternes, Monitoring Committee member from Norway, Eastern Norway County Network

“Transport has always been high on our agenda. We joined the transport corridor projects TransBaltic, TransGovernance and Scandria2Act.

Now, we are a member of the Scandia Alliance, which evolved into a permanent network in the TEN-T Scan-Med corridor. Of course, the Öresund connection and the Fehrmannbelt connection are important to us and we need to be there and be part of it. As Norway is on the outskirts of the Baltic Sea and Europe, it has been very useful to work together and push the national authorities to think of the corridors from a broader perspective.”

Greening transport corridors

At the beginning of the 2000s, projects initiated a forum between public authorities, private companies, and research institutions to respond to increasing transport flows within, to, from, and through the Baltic Sea region. Regional authorities and transport associations developed recommendations for a common transport strategy, including the focus on green corridors in the European context.

Wiktor Szydarowski, Head of the ESPON Programme, has accompanied the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme in various roles from an early start in 1998

“Together with the Swedish government, we contributed a lot to the concept of green corridors, which was a very novel idea back then. We managed to provide a lot of rationale that was taken up by the European Commission.”
New business cases for greening transport

From 2009 to 2014, projects helped develop a network of green multimodal transport corridors as a component of the transport system in the Baltic Sea region. Projects developed business cases for greening transport, such as blocktrain operations, regional motorways of the Sea, and a biogas corridor for road-based freight transport.

Jens Kurnol, Monitoring Committee member from Germany, Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development

“The transport corridor projects were also very beneficial for us, especially the Scandria projects. This cooperation also evolved into a long-lasting association.
If you look at the transport corridors examples also in other parts of Europe, they were also kicked off by Interreg. Without Interreg, I think there wouldn’t be cooperation among the regions along the corridors. The development of transport corridors would be more related to long-distance transport instead, reflecting more the point of view of capitals. Involving the regions, like we do in Interreg, gives another perspective to these transnational EU networks, it’s not only getting from point A to B, it’s about bringing whole regions onboard.”
Coherent and adaptive transport corridors

In 2016-2021, projects mobilised local, regional, and national authorities, and the transport industry to improve the planning of transport corridors and make it more coherent, cross-sectoral, and adaptive. They worked on shifting to sustainable modes of transport, such as railway, inland waterway, and river-sea shipping. They advanced the development of interoperable clean fuel systems across the countries of the BSR. Regional and local authorities developed further the concept of urban nodes as an interface between urban transport and trans-European transport.


Teresa Marcinów, Monitoring Committee member from Poland, Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy

“I have noticed that organisations that are active in transnational programmes are more curious and courageous when they try to get the best solutions for their regions. In this context, it is impossible not to mention small infrastructure improvements, planning investments, e.g. in tourism routes, or testing new mobility or transport solutions. Those investments are real and they often initiate bigger projects financed from national and regional resources. For example, the EMMA, EMMA extension and Combine projects helped prepare ground and test solutions in inland waterways and combined transport in Kujawsko-Pomorskie region.”
Shaping the future EU’s transport policy

Projects connected to the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions, Baltic Sea States Sub-regional Co-operation, STRING, a green megaregion in Northern Europe, and other transport networks, and increased the intensity of the transport dialogues. Projects contributed to shaping the future EU’s trans-European transport network policy and advocated for regional needs in the new funding period of the Connecting Europe Facility and other funds.


Wiktor Szydarowski, Head of the ESPON Programme

“We created a network of networks: first, it was a transport cluster funded by the Programme. We wanted to overcome the competition between Interreg projects who shared the same audience. We wanted to create something together and jointly present the solutions to decision-makers. Then, we continued this work with a project platform BSR Access.”


This year, our Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme is celebrating its 25th anniversary. For more examples of #MadeWithIBSR project results and testimonials of great people who have helped shape the regions with us,  visit our birthday celebrations page!

Want to know more about the projects that helped develop transport corridors and continue investing into new mobility solutions? Flip through the project examples below:


Developing a transnational network of hydrogen refuelling stations for trucks
The project HyTruck helps public authorities design a network of hydrogen refuelling stations for large trucks, bringing the region closer to zero–emissions in road freight transport.
Read more about the project


Sustainable and Multimodal Transport Actions in the Scandinavian-Adriatic Corridor
The project Scandria2Act successfully established a formal cooperation of regions at the Baltic Sea for modern transport along one of the nine European transport corridors, which will help those regions to contribute to shaping the corridor and to benefit from it economically in the long run.
Read more about the project


Enhancing freight Mobility and logistics in the BSR by strengthening inland waterway and river sea transport and proMoting new internAtional shipping services
In the Interreg project EMMA, waterway administrations, business support organisations and ports together with shipping companies, logistics businesses, and research organisations jointly raised inland waterway transportation higher on the political agendas in five countries around the Baltic Sea.
Read more about the project


North Sea Baltic Connector of Regions
In the project NSB Core, spatial and transport planners and other experts representing local, regional and national authorities from six countries developed a joint vision on how to ensure better integrated and accessible eastern and southern parts of the Baltic Sea region.
Read more about the project


TENTacle - Capitalising on TEN-T core network corridors for prosperity, growth and cohesion
The Interreg project TENTacle equipped public authorities and industry around the Baltic Sea with recommendations on how to benefit from the core transport network corridors in order to boost prosperity and growth around the Baltic Sea.
Read more about the project

BSR Access

Access to clean, efficient and multimodal transport corridors in the Baltic Sea Region
The platform BSR Access connected traditional infrastructure nodes and smart transport solutions to further develop the TEN-T Core Network Corridors, and contribute to sustainable growth in the region.
Read more about the project


Product Validation in Health
The Interreg project ProVaHealth engaged 14 health laboratories, improved their access to start-ups as well as small and medium-sized enterprises, and scaled up the challenging health innovation in the Baltic Sea region.
Read more about the project

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