Vital Nodes

Building a lasting expert network that delivers evidenced-based recommendations for Vital Urban Nodes along TEN-T Corridors.

As a result of increasing freight traffic, urban nodes need to cope with challenges such as congestion, poor air quality, noise and road safety risks. The objective of the initiatives is to improve European interconnection, while developing sustainable mobility within cities. It specifically addresses the multi and intermodal connection between long-distance and last-mile freight logistics.




The TEN-T – the Trans-European Transport Network – is the main action plan for a comprehensive transport infrastructure development throughout the European Union. In the future, urban areas will have to respond to growing mobility needs, increasing freight transport and new logistics concepts, while ensuring transport modes’ seamless interconnection. At the same time, they have to tackle issues such as urban/peri-urban congestion, poor air quality, exposure to noise and road safety. This is key to ensuring a more sustainable development of Europe's urban areas.


Urban nodes have become an integral part of the development of the TEN-T network. 88 urban nodes have been identified. These nodes ensure the connection between the different transport modes, as well as the connection between long-distance and peri-urban/regional and intra-urban freight transport.




The challenge is to ensure the commitment of a wide variety of stakeholders – from different government levels to indirectly concerned players such as companies or citizens – and to create understanding of the nodes’ potentials. Main aspects are in particular:


  • Connecting TEN-T infrastructure within nodes (through ports, airports, railway stations, logistic platforms and freight terminals).
  • Ensuring access to these nodes and the seamless connection between TEN-T and peri-urban/regional and intra-urban infrastructure.
  • Aspects which may benefit from promotional action at EU level. These aspects include the integration of mobility and land-use planning, the impact of major TEN-T infrastructure developments on citizens and urban/peri-urban functions, the "greening" of cities – in particular the decarbonisation of its transport system – and the introduction of innovative mobility solutions.


Vital Nodes will explore forward-looking practices, which both enhance transport solutions and stimulate synergies with other urban functions.


More information can be found at


The Vital Nodes project is funded by the Horizon 2020 Programme.


11/2017 - 10/2019


Rijkswaterstaat – Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Netherlands

Trafikverket - The Swedish Transport Administration, Sweden

The Flemish Department of Environment & Spatial Development (Departement Omgeving), Belgium

Uniresearch, Netherlands

Ecorys, Netherlands

Rupprecht Consult – Forschung & Beratung GmbH, Germany

Polis, Belgium

Eurocities, Belgium

Interregional Alliance for the Rhine-Alpine Corridor EGTC, Germany