Urban Nodes are a constitutive element of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) and foster the integration of the network into urban circumstances like spatial structure, economy and regional development.
According to regulation 1315/2013 of the EU, article 3 (p), "urban node means an urban area where the transport infrastructure of the trans-European transport network, such as ports including passenger terminals, airports, railway stations, logistic platforms and freight terminals located in and around an urban area, is connected with other parts of that infrastructure and with the infrastructure for regional and local traffic."
The structures of Urban Nodes are polycentric and not defined by administrative borders. Instead they are functional areas including the hinterland of a city and the peri-urban-areas with flexible borders depending on local, regional and European developments. Any transport infrastructure, enterprise, manpower and administrative level therein are part of the node.
Within the functional area the status as an Urban Node can represent an important locational factor. Considering that it is necessary to create awareness or just the knowledge of being part of an Urban Node. Therefore the communication and cooperation via joint events and the exchange of experience within a node and between different nodes are crucial aspects of the further development. The implementation of nodes needs a place based and integrated approach.
Urban Nodes have great potential as main hub for connecting the regions to the core network corridors as well as forerunner for distributing and deploying alternative fuels and other innovative technologies. They can be centers for new inter- and multimodal logistics concepts and structures along the corridors. Special attention is paid to the fostering of connections in public and freight transport, the elimination and avoidance of bottlenecks as well as the reduction of harmful effects for urban areas by reducing emissions and securing the quality of life. It is possible to create various positive effects for the economic development of a region. A first selection of Urban Nodes is defined in regulation 1315/2013 of the EU, Annex 2.
Public and private partners in an Urban Node have the possibility to acquire direct EU-funds for the implementation of transport infrastructure and for cross-cutting issues. The partners can use the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), the Cohesion Fund as well as other specific European programs, which support the regional development. These include for example HORIZON 2020 and the Interreg-Programs. The funding sources shall always be coordinated with Multi-Level-Governance structures so that partners of every scale level are involved.