Project Details

Title: External Costs of Transport and Land Equalisation
Priority: 2: Environment and risk prevention
Theme: Energy and sustainable transport

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 30th Jun 2014


Total budget: €1,543,662.66
ERDF contribution: €1,216,714.59

Lead partner

Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna Department of Architecture
Viale Risorgimento n. 2
40136, Bologna

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Simona Tondelli
      Phone: 0039.051.2093165
      Fax: 0039.051.2093156

Project summary

The reduction and/or internalization of the environmental, spatial and social costs caused by the transport sector are policy objectives which have been commonly assumed over the last decades (e.g. Directive 1999/62/EC, Directive 2006/38/EC). Within a market approach and according to the “polluter pays” principle, internalization is a way toward a comprehensive payment actually born by the transport users; in this “classic” vision, this is obtained by means of some additional/side pricing imposed to citizens/enterprises generating road traffic with private vehicles (e.g. road pricing: tolls, vignette, access fees; park pricing, vehicle/fuel taxation). However, incompleteness in the extent of the application of direct pricing and a missing or only partial link with modal policies, spatial planning and infrastructural decisions lead to failures of the internalization policies in terms of their ability to reach improvements of the sustainability of the transport systems over the time.

To foster the planning and investment approach to transport internalization (i.e. reallocation of public resources in the context of spatial planning, infrastructural decisions and modal policies) it is felt necessary to let available to Regions and Cities a knowledge base created from real experiences and a set of methodological and analytical tools to guide and support plans and policies definition.

Besides transport pricing policies, planning and investment decisions based on global transport costs are addressed as a “preventive” and more strategic approach to internalization, improving equity and sustainability of the transport systems.

Therefore, the ECOTALE project aims at integrating the traditional approach based on the “economic" (or market-based) internalization of external costs (i.e. pricing measures) by introducing criteria and policies for a wider internalization approach considering land use and environmental planning as well.

By means of disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches, ECOTALE promotes the exchange, sharing and transfer of policy experience, knowledge and good practices in the field of the internalization of external cost of transport and in the field of planning and investment decisions based on global transport cost, with regard to all the policy development phases from understanding the problem, to implementing and improving the solution.

ECOTALE will permit to develop and make available practical Guidelines, reflecting a spreaded and innovative perspective for transport costs internalization, with special focus on the relations between global transport costs and land use planning. Beside the formulation of policy recommendations, special efforts will be devoted to the adaptation of the proposed methodolgies and procedures to the various national/regional regulatory contexts, within an overall implementation-oriented approach.

Project achievements

ECOTALE – External Costs of Transport and Land Equalization - aims at a wider and more applicable approach to the internalization of transport costs, integrating the traditional pricing theory and propositions with elements and methodological suggestions based also on best available practices and considering land use and environmental planning as related and comprehensive policy context. To best tackle with these topics and objective, the project consortium has been created joining research centers (University of Bologna IT, Aaalto University FI), public administrations (Emilia Romagna Region IT, Mancomunitat de la Ribera Alta ES, City of Poznan PL) and structures with specific competencies (Institute for Urban Planning and Development of Paris Ile-de-France FR, Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority EL, Institute of Logistic and Warehousing PL, Central Transdanubian Nonprofit Company HU).

In the starting phase, project activities have been devoted to ground the project developments

to suitably defined technical, regulatory and policy contexts, collecting and making available state-of-the-art information on EU and national adrresses and regulation, modal policy contexts, main previus reference studies.

The outcomes of the above activities formed the analytical basis for the subsequent identification and critical selection of "good practices" of some remarkable reference in the perspective of estimation and internalization within a more general framework of modal policies and sustainable development of regional territories.

Several candidate cases have been identified and filed, according to evaluation and to selection criteria discussed and agreed during the 2nd joint thematic workshop (Helsinki, October 2012).

During the 3rd sem., the project work proceeded comparing the most relevant reference cases also in the peculiar planning-oriented perspective proposed by ECOTALE.

At the 3rd joint thematic workshop (Paris, April 2013),


cases have been discussed, in view to constitute the basis for the development of the internalization guidelines, for the possible best practice transfers and the local/regional implementation plans.

The overall good practices collection counts some 50 considered and reviewed cases, that face topics like congestion charge, LEZ/LTZ, parking regulation and pricing, road freight pricing, e-mobility, road network management (HOV and speed limit), infrastructure (use and funding), planning, habitat and landscape, misure based on incentives and taxing-tolling.

Subsequently, the regional/local bodies identified case studies for the practical exploitation of the lessons learnt, with transfer of practices and application of the project guidelines for internalisation, through adaptation processes (implementation plans) which also served as test for the refinement of the guidelines itself.

The 4th sem. has been mainly devoted to the case studies analysis and to the relationship between the


guidelines and their application in the case studies; these activities have been discussed during two joint thematic workshops – 4th Székesfehérvár (HU) September 2013 and 5th, Valencia (ES) December 2013. The definition of the guidelines has been managed to start in parallel the activity devoted to case study identification and local policy application, for an interactive progress among guidelines drafting and cases specification.

Dissemination is one of the aim of the project: meetings and the internet are used: dissemination events (8 organised and 4 partecipated) have started to diffuse ECOTALE findings at national level to technicians, decision makers and stakeholders also with the help of brochure; a project website is available and the newsletters with activity and results are send to all over the Europe in more than 20 countries.

The implementations plans and policy recommendations have been set up and will be completed in the last semester.





Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna Department of Architecture, Bologna ITALY Emilia-Romagna 0039.051.2093165
Emilia Romagna Region, Bologna ITALY Emilia-Romagna 0039.051.5273806
Aalto University Foundation (operating as Aalto University), Aalto FINLAND Etelä-Suomi +358 9 4702 4080
Institute for Urban Planning and Development of Paris Ile-de-France Region, PARIS FRANCE Île de France (33)
MANCOMUNITAT DE LA RIBERA ALTA, Alzira SPAIN Comunidad Valenciana +34 962414142
Thessaloniki Public Transport Authority (THEPTA), Thessaloniki GREECE Kentriki Makedonia +30 2310 483070
Institute of Logistics and Warehousing, Poznań POLAND Wielkopolskie 48618504936
City of Poznan, Poznan POLAND Wielkopolskie +48 61 878 55 54,
Central Transdanubian Regional Development Agency Nonprofit Company, Székesfehérvár HUNGARY Kozep-Dunantul 00 36 22 513 377
Central Transdanubian Nonprofit Company, Székesfehérvár HUNGARY Kozep-Dunantul +36 22 500 268


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