How can cross-border integration be measured?

Based on the analytical framework developed in the Metroborder project, cross-border integration can be studied according to two complementary perspectives (interaction and convergence) and different domains, including economy, transportation, population, policy and urbanisation.

Indicators of cross-border integration

Domain Interaction Convergence
Economy (1) Cross-border commuting (2) Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita

(3) Labour force
Transportation (4) Cross-border lines of transportation  
Population   (5) Population density

(6) Residents' citizenship
Policy (7) Structures of cross-border cooperation  
Urbanisation (8) Functional urban areas (8) Morphological urban areas

(1) The "cross-border commuting" indicator measures the number of commuters who crossed international borders in 2006 as well as the evolution of the phenomenon between 2000 and 2006. Please note that the spatial units of reference could not be harmonised and thus vary greatly from one case study to another (see maps for more details).

(2) The "GDP per capita" indicator measures the gross domestic product at purchasing power parity (PPP) in the border regions (according to NUTS 3 level) divided by the population. This indicator is available for 2000 and 2006 as well as for the period 2000-2006 (average annual growth rate). One should note that for the case studies that involve high levels of cross-border commuting, the GDP per capita figures have been overestimated, as they do not take into account the cross-border workers as part of the population of the country where the wealth is created.

(3) The "labour force" indicator corresponds to the ratio of the workforce (employed and unemployed) to all of the corresponding population in the region (NUTS 3 level). Although the dates of reference may vary slightly from one case study to another (+/- one year), the labour force participation rates in 2000 and 2006 as well as their evolution between 2000 and 2006 are available.

(4) The "cross-border lines of transportation" indicator, which takes into account the rail or bus cross-border connections in 2010, is twofold. The theoretical average speed between the main urban centres is calculated by dividing the air-distance by the time that is required to travel between link the different poles by public transport. The frequency of linkages takes into account all connections between the different urban centres weighted by the number of cities.

(5) The "population density" indicator represents the number of inhabitants per square kilometre in 1982, 1990, 2000 and 2006 (+/- one year depending on national population census dates). In order to measure demographic evolution, average annual growth rates are available for four different periods: 1982-1990, 1982-2006, 1990-2000 and 2000-2006. Due to the high level of heterogeneity of the spatial units of reference, these data are represented as isopleth maps. The number of inhabitants can be added as a second value for the municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants.

(6) The "residents' citizenship" indicator measures the number of residents in a border region who are nationals of a neighbouring country. The percentage of foreigners in 2000 and 2006 as well as the average annual growth rate between 2000 and 2006 are available. According to their availability, these data are mapped using different scales (LAU 2, LAU 1 and NUTS 3 levels). The number of foreigners can be added as a second value when there are more than 150 foreigners per spatial unit of reference.

(7) The "structures of cooperation" indicator shows the perimeters of cross-border cooperation institutions existing in 2010.

(8) The "functional and morphological urban areas" indicator allows us to map the urban setting of each cross-border metropolitan region in 2010. These data have been produced according to the framework of the ESPON FOCI project by IGEAT (the Free University of Brussels). Morphological urban areas (MUAs) are defined as agglomerations with a population density of no fewer than 650 inhabitants per square kilometre. Municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants are also included. Functional urban areas (FUAs) are defined by their commuting zone, calculated on a municipal level (LAU2 level). A FUA consists of one or more MUA(s) and the surrounding area in which 10% of the workforce commute towards the MUA(s).

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