The TAQI project will create a regionalised, transnational, up-to-date emission data information base for long-term planning decisions, such as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) by linking environmental data with spatial information. Through EU enlargement the eastern region of Austria with its adjacent regions in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary has developed a new significance in Central Europe. The project area is undergoing major economic and infrastructural changes. Transit traffic is increasing to unprecedented levels on the most heavily loaded roadways in Austria. Since air pollution does not stop at national borders, strategies at national level are insufficient to stabilise and reduce air pollution. Therefore, regarding environmental and economical policies, spatial planning and health politics, strategies have to be extended to co-ordinated cross-border measures. There is the need for defining new goals for the future especially for economic and environmental matters and spatial planning in order to maintain a sustainable way of regional development. The transnational TAQI project is addressing these challenges by discussing and implementing several measures at cross-border level. The project originates from a co-operation of the majority of the project partners in former projects and the awareness of political and administrative bodies that relevant problems are better tackled in a transnational context and co-operation.
A central goal of TAQI is to develop strategic considerations to improve air quality. The implementation of the EU environmental directives for air quality requires supplementary basic research on air quality topics including joint elaboration of measures for transnational reduction of emissions, dispersion modelling of air mass movements as well as arrangements for sanitation. An up-to-date regional emissions register database of all SNAP categories (Systematic Nomenclature for Air Pollution) based on harmonised data will be used as basic research instrument for spatial planning decisions. Joint monitoring and intercalibration exercises (equalisation of national air monitoring systems) reduce measurement failures and increase comparability of measuring systems of different nations. Additionally, training programs for technicians increase the transfer and exchange of know-how and experience. A unique transnational, up-to-date online air pollution database available online at www.airce.info provides regionalised information on air quality in order to increase awareness of the relevance of air quality. This Internet platform informs the public on the current situation of air pollution in the project region. It also provides background information on the most severe air pollutants, radioactivity, main polluters, meteorology, and health aspects. Increasing the awareness of the public facilitates the implementation of measures. The project enhances the environmental knowledge and disseminates the project results in order to also define strategies on reducing energy consumption.