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42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
The European Union aims at reducing interregional disparities by developing the trans-European Transport Networks (TETN). Through the construction of new transport links such as motorways and high-speed railways the accessibility of peripheral regions within Europe is to be increased. The improved accessibility should in turn allow the concerned regions to attain a broader potential of markets and suppliers and thereby reinforce their position in the competition for new economic activities and population. The Egnatia motorway can be classified as one of the most ambitious priority projects of the TETN-programme. Following the alignment of the old roman Via Egnatia, the new Egnatia motorway is expected to become `the backbone of Northern Greece`s transport system. The new motorway is to extend from Igoumenitsa on the Adriatic coast to Kipi on the north-eastern edge of the Aegean Sea, adding up to a total length of 680 kilometers. 394 kilometers have been completed so far, another 189 kilometers are currently under construction, the remaining 97 kilometers are ready to be tendered. A total of 3.2 billion Euro of funding have been approved in order to make this ambitious infrastructure project possible. In light of these significant investments, a quantitative analysis of the expected effects of the Egnatia motorway project is called for. The Institute of Spatial Planning (IRPUD) in Dortmund carried out a series of corresponding research projects dealing with the changes in accessibility due to infrastructure improvements. The Egnatia motorway represents an illustrative example for demonstrating how the impacts of new transport links can be assessed using geographic information systems. Two different dimensions are taken into consideration. First, the travel time reduction is assessed by generating isochrones prior and after the opening of the motorway. Second, the effect on the accessibility of the adjacent regions is analysed. The corresponding accessibility calculations are based on the assumption that the potential for economic activity at a given location is a function of both its proximity or 'travel time' to other economic centres and its economic size or 'mass'. These two analytical steps lead to a differentiated assessment of the motorway`s effects. It will be shown that according to the isochrone approach, the impacts in term of travel time reduction are remarkable. However, the expected increase in (potential type) accessibility is relatively small.
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