One way of easing road congestion is to develop the efficient end-to-end moving of goods using two or more forms of transport in an integrated transport chain. Each mode of transport has its own strengths and weaknesses concerning capacity, flexibility, energy consumption, safety and environmental impact. So modes should be combined in a way that plays to the strengths of each, building a transport chain that is overall more efficient, cost-effective and sustainable. Another approach is to shift goods off the road network altogether and onto other transport modes. Marco Polo, an EC programme proposed in 2002, will help shift more freight off the roads and onto short-sea shipping, rail and inland waterways. The idea is to fund projects for new non-road freight services and support the launching of freight services or facilities of strategic cross-border European interest. Marco Polo, with a budget of Euro 115M, is scheduled to run from 2003 to 2007.
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