Cross-border cooperation in the EU addresses the needs of border areas and has been helping to remove obstacles between them for more than 25 years already. To support this policy, quantitative evidence needs to be developed, especially in the areas of transport infrastructure endowment and accessibility. By using passenger rail timetables in combination with geospatial data on stations and population density, a new working paper highlights the diversity of border areas regarding the availability, speed and frequency of cross-border rail services. In addition, it compares these services to domestic services linking the border areas to their hinterland.

The paper shows that, in many cases, cross-border links are less frequent and often slower than domestic connections of similar length. In some border areas, efficient rail connections enable cross-border commuting, while in many other areas, low speed and frequency of services severely limits the attractiveness of rail as an efficient regular travelling mode.