Key policy messages and conclusions
KEY POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS
The development of sustainable transport policies involves reconciling environmental, social, and economic objectives. The development of the transport sector is fundamental for facilitating the free movement of people and goods, which is crucial to the social, as well as to the economic dimension of European integration. regional policies should foster measures for the transport sector that will help meet the European commitment to a low-carbon economy (20-20-20 European targets).
These Policy recommendations will be grouped into six categories:
• integration of land use and transport planning,
• integration in the framework of urban mobility,
• internalisation of external costs,
• public awareness and promotion,
• and public transport and mobility services.
All these recommendations aim at increasing the sustainability of transport.
- Sustainable and integrated planning approach: land use and transport
• The integration of transport into general land use planning; joint spatial and transport planning is key to a balanced urban development. However simple and evident it may sound, it is one of the most complex processes to achieve because there are many local constraints and organisational and cultural barriers. Traditionally, urban planning has functioned independently responding to several logics (architectural, economic, social, etc.) where the priority was the construction of buildings, urban development, and infrastructure. Mobility needs were only to be solved ‘after’ these priorities, in mobility engineering practices. This has led to dramatic damage to the structure of cities, has encouraged the use of cars and induced a very high increase in mobility demand that is very expensive to meet, not only in economic terms, but also from a general social and environmental perspective. Evidently, the past will continue to represent a severe barrier to charting a different course, but it is now very important to adopt this new approach, even if this means a change in the traditional ways of thinking, modifying the way institutions are organised, overcoming cultural barriers and shaping behaviour and, frequently, modifying deep-rooted interests. An integrated approach means conceiving the structure of the city and the distribution of services and social functions over the territory in such a way as to find the best way or reconciling the general social costs generated by the distribution of social functions and those linked to new mobility-induced needs. This requires an overall vision of the land as a ‘living organism’, where mobility is one of the vital functions as well as the ability to consider the whole set of related social costs. For all these reasons, this Topic is key to a balanced future development of Regions, including their mobility system, and should be pursued by policymakers and awareness on it should be raised.
• More new living environments and important new land developments must be designed taking into account the transport systems, even in non-conventional ways (see for example the car-free housing experience, such as in Hamburg and Bremen); a new urban planning paradigm must be adopted to improve liveability and achieve a lifestyle that is less dependent on private cars and fossil fuels.
• This approach has to be pursued over a long-time period and can be profitably exploited when this vision is able to converge the different political and social positions; it is important to achieve the widest possible consensus on these processes among policymakers, citizens and stakeholders: even if difficult, this result can be achieved with a large civic participation at the early stages of the planning and design processes. The participative approach is very time consuming and requires much effort in the first phases, but it does make the later implementation phases easier.
• The development of general and complex planning instruments, like the General Urban Plan, or the Urban Mobility Plans, can be a very important means of starting participative processes, which will ease the management of significant changes in the future. For this reason, it is important to increase the strength of SUMPs as a way of tackling transport-related problems in urban areas more efficiently and to reconcile the social, economic, and environmental dimensions. In addition, in order to have a greater impact, the development of SUMPs should focus on all modes of transport: public and private, passenger and goods, motorised and non-motorised, including parking policies.
• A key contribution to a more sustainable mobility is, as mentioned above, the reduction in mobility needs. Among all the mobility motivations, one of the most important (and less appreciated by citizens) is the systematic mobility between home-work and home-school. New organisational schemes and incentives both for work and learning, which reduce mobility needs, can be really effective in achieving a better balance. Consequently, policymakers have another important tool to achieve two different objectives at the same time: improve the quality of life, avoiding transport use or travelling altogether, and decrease the mobility demand.
These policies must be implemented, particularly at the regional level, even if some aspects, namely the defining of the criteria for the adoption of plans or new rules on teleworking are subject to national legislation.
- Integration into the framework of urban mobility
• Urban mobility must be conceived and managed as a whole. The Integration of different modes of transport and services is key to achieving a better modal split and to allow people, especially in areas where the public transport and services offer is high, to give up using their individual cars.
• Provide an integrated approach to transport: In the planning and operational stages, consider all modes of transport. Go beyond the conventional public transport systems, look into walking and cycling modes, shared modes and pay special attention to other critical components of the transportation system, such as urban goods distribution.
• Traditional mass transit systems are not always the right solution to all problems, even in large cities; The needs of modern mobility change over time. Public transport may attract users if it diversifies its offer with smart services and new formulas.
• Keep in mind that congestion and pollution are not the only problems related to an excessive number of cars. The public space that cars take up every day is a structural problem, especially for the urban environment. The attention of policymakers must be focused not only on persuading citizens to change their modal choices towards sustainable transport concepts, but also on reducing the number of circulating cars, which necessitates adopting a proper urban design together with smart solutions and new mobility services that can allow people to live without a car. This will free up public space which can then be allocated to more important and socially productive functions.
• Mobility management can provide mobility planners and policymakers with useful tools and solutions to develop innovative solutions designed to complement traditional public transport services and make them more flexible and sustainable (car sharing, bike-sharing, home-to-work and home-to school travel plans, support for seasonal public transport tickets, etc.).
Most of the policies addressed are related to urban mobility and the need for cooperation between regional and local municipal authorities or wide-area government bodies. Sometimes, at national levels, the legislation that defines regulations for new transport services is incomplete (car sharing is a clear example of this point). National policymakers should ensure coherency between the general legislation framework and the transportation tools and techniques that local policymakers and practitioners can use.
- Internalisation of external costs
• Increasing the offer of public services is not enough to ensure the internalisation of external costs. A balanced restriction policy based on the progressive internalisation of the external costs involved in car use must be adopted, to make the use of public transport more sustainable and increase demand. Several methodologies can be used depending on the specific situation, (this represents a key point of any mobility policy.)
• In regional settings, it is more difficult to define policies to internalise external costs than in the typical urban environment. For this reason, regional investment choices should consider alternatives to constructing road infrastructures as the only means of meeting increasing mobility demands, as this will increase all the costs. They should consider investing in cheaper infrastructure for alternative modes: bicycle paths between villages, comfortable bus stops, etc.
• Limiting the use of cars often requires strong political will, but positive results can be achieved in a short time; the problem is less complex if policies like the ones mentioned above have already been implemented.
Policies aimed at internalising external costs are quite difficult and can only be developed with a strong political consensus. As pointed out, it is mainly a matter for large urban areas and cities, so cooperation among local and regional administration is essential.
- Raising public awareness and promoting alternative modes
The cultural dimension of transport must not be neglected or under-estimated. Changing attitudes and social perception can help change mobility behaviours and have long-lasting effects. Of course, this process is a long one and its results are not immediately measurable, but can be effective, especially when targeted at younger generations. A strong political and administrative engagement in this aspect is of paramount importance in order to really exploit the potential of the mobility services provided (both public transport and other complementary solutions) and ensure the effective use of the resources allocated to them. Public authorities and officials have an important function as role model here. They should act as ‘trendsetters’ and not preach the contrary of what they do themselves.
• Such initiatives can be costly, but several formats can be adopted, including ‘active citizenship’ initiatives to limit cost and maximise the results.
• The involvement of private partnerships in these kind of activities is very important in order to reach a wide audience including employees and ensure the collaboration of companies and private stakeholders in the implementation of real measures.
Raising Public awareness and promoting different behaviours must be pursued at all levels, local/regional, national, and European employing different strategies and instruments. It should involve the different stakeholders as much as possible.
- Public transport
Public transport remains the backbone of any alternatives to using private cars, even if forms of public transport car vary greatly in large cities and small-medium cities or provinces. Public Transport must be the focus of attention for urban planners and policymakers, and must be:
• Well adapted to the mobility needs and able to follow changes in these needs over time;
• Flexible and integrated with other forms of mobility;
• Provide an ‘integrated network’ both physically (access to services, intermodality, timetables) and ias well as in terms of services (integrated tickets and seasonal tickets, passenger’ information, contact points);
• Efficient: only a high degree of efficiency can enable cities to maintain high quality public transport services in the face of increasing costs. Efficiency can mean a lot of things, but it is important to underline the role played by innovation in general and ITS systems in particular.
• The availability of economic resources to fund the public transport system is currently of paramount importance. Several examples can be inferred by the collected Good Practices, but in any case the (difficult) solution which can be found is always a balanced mix of different ingredients:
• Specific resources from taxation (possibly specific);
• Internalisation of external costs for balancing the marginal cost of car use and part of the costs borne by public transport users;
• Efficiency for reducing (or at least keeping the increase to a minimum) the unitary cost of the supplied service;
• Promote and build confidence and a positive image of public transport among citizens.
All these policies should be developed at the regional level specifically, since the regional authorities are normally responsible for public transport. Nevertheless, most of the problems are related to large urban areas, where the cooperation among several different local and wide-area institutions is of paramount importance in order to achieve the desired results. Lastly, the legislation concerning the resources available to public transport is a specific Topic to be dealt with at national level.
- Intelligent Transport Systems
• ITS will play a significant role in the future in qualifying public transport and improving mobility. For this reason, the widespread use of ITS should be promoted. In particular, at least some aspects of ITS should be addressed through adequate policies at different levels.
• The use of open standard specifications and implementation tools for the ITS environment with an active involvement of European institutions.
• The adoption of standards at the different required levels to ensure interoperability of the different services across Europe and regional territories. This problem comes in many different shapes, and we can mention some of them as examples. The interoperability of charging devices for electric vehicles is a problem of ensuring standardisation/compatibility with respect to infrastructures and service payments and it certainly has to take on a European dimension. Electronic Ticketing is an important issue for the improvement of public transport quality and intermodality; the technological standards and the interoperability of the fares system must be defined at the regional level (and possibly at National level for integration with the railway system). It is evident that this process has to involve policymakers at different levels depending on the required actions.
• The use of innovative techniques for ITS such as floating car data should be promoted further, bearing in mind that these kinds of applications have at least a national dimension and can open new markets for new services. Therefore, their wider technological use should be supported through the defining of rules to market these services, allowing the possibility for Public Administrations to access and use these data for the purpose of traffic monitoring and control. Moreover, communication and interoperability standards at the national level are needed to avoid barriers and distortions in this new market.
• Moreover, it is important to foster the cooperation between the players of the automotive electronic systems and the players operating in the ITS market at the European level, since the trend will surely be towards integrating the facilities offered by the on-board electronics with the intelligent solutions provided by ITS. To be exploited, this integration needs technological and communication standards; this process often meets resistance from the automotive sector, which is inclined to adopt only proprietary solutions and neglects the interfaces with the rest of the world. A strong effort is needed at the European level to push for common standards and procedures.
• The development of ITS is imperative, but their application is often constrained by the legislative framework, which is different from country to country and can be more or less delayed a well as the possibilities that ITS can offer. Setting a clear legislative framework for many aspects related to the use of ITS (ranging from aspects concerning privacy and the use of positioning information, to the possibility of using automatically acquired images, and so on) should be a priority. In our opinion, the main rules should be defined with the involvement of different European institutions.
In relation to the Good Practices selected and analysed within the INTERREG IVC Programme, the types of actions mentioned in this report could be divided among the regional, national, and European level as follows.
At a local/regional level
- Improve and support city-to-city cooperation (workshops, cooperation in networks of cities and stakeholder forums, awareness campaigns, etc.)
- Special professional training
- Foster innovation and spin-offs through regional innovation policies
At a national level
- Contribution to policy doctrine
- Preparation of guidelines on specifically important Topics
- Policy formulation
- Financing program criteria
- Improvement of the existing legislation
- Promotional campaigns and branding
- Training and D&D
At a European / international level
- Policy formulation
- Financing of program criteria
- Preparation of Green and White Papers
- Setting of regulations
- Standardisation and interoperability (vehicles, infrastructure, communication, information and payment systems, security)
- Promotional campaigns and branding
With the purpose of enhancing the capacity of the projects to produce results with a significant capitalisation (transfer) potential, some measures can be taken:
- It is important that the calls for proposals define the minimal requirements for the projects. In particular, , certain points and activities should be mandatory for the selected Good Practices and policies:
- Transferability analysis to determine the constraints and the pre-requisites for transfer;
- Impact analysis (even if qualitative, but in line with guidelines or methodology) to determine their transfer potential
- A comparison with the state-of-the-art at the European level or related to a particular environment comparable to analyses undertaken by the Good Practices / policies,
- The projects should focus on the most significant Good Practices (naturally related to the project objectives and teams of partners and should avoid selecting ‘marginal’ Good Practices.
- The project partnerships should be homogeneous and coherent with the projects objectives.
- Exchanges/synergies among similar projects are important.
To improve the selection of Good Practices by each project, a ‘two step’ selection process could be adopted: to allow the projects to develop the proposal according to the methodologies mentioned with a (at least) partial coverage of the costs, and then in a second stage selecting the best projects.
- For specific Topics that are considered particularly important for the European regions or strategic at the EU level, thematic calls specifying the focus the projects might be of interest including additional requirements for the terms of transfer.