Experience of the past cross-border cooperation in integrating public transport systems in the BSR needs to be taken into account. It is clear, however, that the existing knowledge on cross-border public transport approaches, operational models and replicable practice in the Baltic Sea Region is scattered and available only at the local scale. Thus, it has never been pooled together and presented in the macroregional (and European) transport policy content. No attempts have been made so far to disseminate and exchange good experience between the sites covered by the individual projects and initiatives, co-financed by separate cross-border funding programmes.
The Interface and Interface Plus Projects
The ‘Interface’ and ‘Interface Plus’ projects, co-funded by the South Baltic Programme 2007-2013, aimed to help revitalise cross-border passenger traffic without car as a comfortable, cheap and environmental friendly alternative to travel within the South Baltic area. The projects succeeded in introducing an integrated railway-ferry-bus ticket (www.intercombi-ticket.de) for the ride between the urban centres of Nyköping (Denmark) and Rostock (Germany), operated through an online booking system and supported by the dynamic passenger information system, the first cross-border facility of that kind in the South Baltic area. Also, interactive information boards were installed on board of ferries, ferry terminals and in tourism offices of Guldborgsund (DK), Rostock (DE), Karlskrona (SE) and Gdynia (PL). Triggered by the project action, new direct bus shuttle services between the main station and the port were established in Rostock and Gdynia, with more synchronised timetables for public transport services over the sea and land. Finally, some measures were carried out to upgrade the ferry services between Poland and Bornholm.
The TransPlan Project
Interconnecting public transport systems of the Helsinki metropolitan area and Harju County (EE) as a tool for further regional integration was also analysed in the Helsinki-Tallinn TransPlan project (Central Baltic Interreg IVA Programme). It resulted, inter alia, in joint policy advice and coordination of spatial planning measures related to a future Helsinki-Tallinn twin-city transport system as well as in a common knowledge platform (interactive web environment) on transport solutions which will be used in regional planning and education.
NSB CoRe Project
The Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme financed NSB CoRe project aims to improve the sustainable accessibility of the Eastern Baltic Sea Region to freight and passenger transport. In the part on long distance commuting, the project underlines the need to synchronise long distance transport to urban transport systems. This includes both infrastructure and ITS solutions that are developed on selected major commuting corridors. In ITS, the project operates as a platform for transnational applications to locally operating services. The outputs will contribute to interoperability by bringing the transport operators’ viewpoint and ITS solutions into logistics and passenger transport development on a transnational level. In policymaking, the project brings a transnational perspective into spatial planning in transport, as these are often carried out in little synchronisation between countries.