In the context of the European Green Deal’s goal to reduce transport-related greenhouse gas emissions by 90 % by 2050 , current discussions focus on a potential shift from air to rail on short-haul connections. The aspects to be considered in this context are manifold and include future investment and policy design. Here, external costs of both rail and air development, future noise exposure, and the integration of new technology options resulting in efficiency improvements should be taken into account. Further, it is important to optimise complementary aspects of interconnected air-rail travel chains, such as faster airport access times, additional feeder options for airlines to hub airports, or more airport capacities for high-revenue long-range connections.

The Modus project focuses on some of these aspects by assessing the performance of a multimodal, integrated European transport system. The analyses include the identification of factors that influence passengers’ journey decisions. Among other elements, price, travel times, and service quality have a crucial influence on modal choice. The variations in travel times or market shares are investigated across four different scenarios, ranging from a significant shift of traffic from air to rail to a more decentralised and remote air transport network. One of the scenarios assumes scheduled collective travel of under 500 km within the EU to be carbon-neutral by 2030 . Accordingly, in order to assess feasible modal shares of air and rail in European connections, careful consideration of related external costs is required, such as for construction and maintenance of infrastructure. These aspects will be subject to future research at Bauhaus Luftfahrt.

Four European transport scenarios for air-rail cooperation

Four scenarios depicting the modal share development of air and rail within Europe were developed within the Modus project and provide insight for recommendations for the further development of these transport segments.

Source: Paul, A., Cook, A., Bolic, T., Gurtner, G., Schmalz, U., Valput, D., . . . Setta, F. (2021). Demand and supply scenarios and indicators. Taufkirchen,
Germany: Bauhaus Luftfahrt. Retrieved from https://modus-project. eu/2021/12/16/discover-our-deliverable-3-2-demand-and-supply-scenarios-andperformance- indicators/

Emission costs of different transport modes

The environmental impact assessment of different transport modes needs to take into account several aspects, as highlighted by the European Environmental Agency for the transport segment up to 500 km.

Source: European Environment Agency. (2021). Transport and environment report 2020 – Train or plane? Luxembourg: Publications
Office of the European Union. Retrieved from https://www.eea.

Modelling and assessing the role of air transport in an integrated, intermodal transport system. 

This project has received funding from the SESAR Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 891166. https://modus-