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Estimation of potential transport demand for a Trieste-Rijeka direct train passenger service

Building on discussions held during a public event at the CEI headquarters on 26 June 2023, which focused on the quest to quantify the potential demand for a direct passenger train service between the Italian city of Trieste and the Croatian city of Rijeka, a comprehensive study has been conducted by Professors Raffaele Pesenti, Andrea Stocchetti and Pietro Lanzini from the Department of Management at Ca' Foscari University.

The research was funded by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region in the framework of the Regional Law 18/2011 – DGR592/2022 – Operational Plan of Central European Initiative - Friuli Venezia Giulia Region 2022/2023.

As to the key findings and methodologies employed in this study, the estimation of the potential transport demand for this specific train service presented several challenges. These included a lack of historical data which hindered the use of statistical models for forecasting and fragmented data such as estimates, forecasts, and surveys from previous studies.

The study allowed the setting up of multiple scenarios, resulting in a range of annual demand estimates for a direct Trieste-Rijeka train service, with the most probable range falling between 28,400 and 36,000 passengers per year. However, it's important to note that due to the current absence of a direct train service along this route, the launch of the service could itself generate additional demand.

Based on current tariffs and the most likely forecasts, the service was projected to generate an initial annual turnover ranging from 386,000 to 489,000 EUR.

In conclusion, the study revealed that while challenges exist in forecasting demand, the findings suggest a strong case for enhancing connectivity between these two cities and the broader Trieste - Ljubljana - Zagreb - Rijeka quadrilateral. Additionally, the study underscores the importance of integrated services and improvements in last-mile connectivity to maximise the benefits of such a rail link.

The study is in synergy with the experimental pilot activity that will be concretely implemented in 2024 with a direct passenger train service between Trieste Villa Opicina and Rijeka. The latter will be jointly operated by the Slovenian Railways and Croatian Railways, partners of the SUSTANCE project, led by the CEI-Executive Secretariat and funded by the Interreg Central Europe Programme.


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