Baltic Sea Region Territorial Monitoring System

Urban connectivity by rail

Indicator definition

Urban connectivity by rail in 2011 for domestic and international travel. This indicator is defined as the number of cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants that can be reached within 2 hours (domestic) and 5 hours (international) train travel times.

Indicator importance

Connectivity is seen as the fourth key driver of urban competitiveness in the State of European Cities Report (2007) along with innovation, entrepreneurship and talent. Connectivity refers to communication and exchange of goods, people and information between cities and incorporates the aspect of accessibility (transportation) and access to information infrastructure. This indicator measures the connectivity of cities with other cities by different modes of transport for domestic and international travel. The higher the number of cities is that can be reached, the higher the urban connectivity is and thus the better a city is integrated into domestic and international city networks, enabling exchange of people and goods.

Findings

Generally, cities located in the southern range of the BSR (from Bremen and Hamburg in Germany, via Berlin towards Upper Silesia in Poland) enjoy higher urban connectivity compared to those in other parts of the BSR, due to their closeness to other destinations in Central and Western Europe. The Capital Cities are also those enjoying generally the highest connectivity compared to other cities in the same country. Cities in Belarus and Northern Scandinavia are only loosely embedded with other cities, due to their long distances to other cities and generally poorer and less dense transport networks. Interestingly, the territorial patterns between car and rail are quite similar, only with cities in Belarus and Eastern Poland suffering from poorer train services compared to car. Introducing international air services boosts connectivity of many cities (compared to domestic air, but also compared to the other modes), adding a wide range of possible destinations for many cities in Scandinavia and in the Baltic States; however, most of these air services go through the airport hubs of the respective national capitals.