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Benchmarking European Sustainable Transport

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

Series of conferences

The BEST network was based on a series of six conferences over three years. Each conference addressed a specific topic related to benchmarking.

Recommendations to the European Commission

The findings and conclusions of the six conferences were used as the basis of reports and recommendations to the European Commission on how to maximise the potential benefits of benchmarking in implementing sustainable transport policies in Europe.

Links to Benchmarking of Benchmarking project (BOB)

BEST provided input to the three BOB pilots, and in turn, the results of BOB were fed into BEST.

Dissemination Activities

Several dedicated dissemination tools were produced for BEST, a project brochure, regular newsletters and a website. In addition, the project was presented at relevant events and articles about it were written for a range of publications.

  • Develop the potential of benchmarking at a European level in the field of transport.
  • Provide a European framework for benchmarking in the transport sector.
  • Raise awareness of the techniques and benefits of benchmarking in the transport sector.
  • Compare European benchmarking projects with those in other regions of the world.
  • Organise a series of six conferences over three years to address key issues for benchmarking in the transport sector.
  • Produce specific recommendations to the European Commission in relation to the development and application of benchmarking in fields covered by transport policy.
  • Provide input to the BOB1 project, a 'sister' project in which three practical benchmarking pilots were carried out.
  • The methodology for the project consisted of raising awareness and increasing applications of benchmarking to public transport by generating discourse through organising conferences and to share.
  • A shared, common vision of the performance improvement goals and objectives.
  • Open and committed high level support.
  • The commitment of all stakeholders in the process to progress and change.
  • A willingness to examine critically one's own practices.
  • The ability and willingness to co-operate and share information and expertise with others.
  • To be able to learn from others' best practices.
  • The flexibility to implement the necessary changes.
  • Procedures to monitor subsequent progress.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


Increased awareness of the potential of benchmarking in the transport sector:

The series of six BEST conferences, together with the project website and newsletter, helped to increase significantly awareness of benchmarking (methodology, benefits and barriers) among transport policy makers and other stakeholders in the transport sector. BEST provided expert and practical information about benchmarking methodology, keysuccess factors, benefits, limitations, and the challenges involved in benchmarking. Through the presentation of examples of successful benchmarking projects, participants learned about the benefits of benchmarking as well as the challenges and problems that can be encountered.

Increased understanding of the use of benchmarking in relation to policy:

BEST was a particularly innovative project because it addressed the issue of benchmarking in relation to policy. Before BEST, benchmarking was most commonly known in the transport sector as a tool to improve operations and production. Building on the successful experiences of benchmarking in other sectors and at other levels, BEST covered new ground by exploring the potential of benchmarking at the levels of policy and strategy. As a result of the debates and exchanges at BEST conferences, five types of benchmarking in relation to policy have been identified :

  1. policy on benchmarking;
  2. benchmarking into policy;
  3. benchmarking for policy;
  4. benchmarking of policy; and
  5. benchmarking of policy making.

The identification of these different types of benchmarking has led to a clearer understanding of why and how benchmarking should be used to support the development of EU sustainable transport policies.

The production of new material about benchmarking:

During the course of the project, new material about benchmarking was produced, particularly for the conferences, as well as for the website and newsletter. Approximately 60 original papers were produced for the BEST conferences, which provide an overview ofthe state of the art of benchmarking in the transport sector. Six BEST conference reports have also been produced, which provide summaries of the conference proceedings and conclusions. This has resulted in a valuable collection of case studies, papers and reports that can be drawn on by policy makers to support current and future benchmarking activities.

A comprehensive website on transport benchmarking:


Policy implications

BEST produced six sets of recommendations to the European Commission. Each set of recommendations related to a specific topic addressed by the BEST conferences (state of the art, criteria, methodology, policy etc.). For each topic, recommendations were made on the role of the Commission in the area of benchmarking in the transport sector, as well as proposals for further research and activities. In summary, the recommendations propose that the Commission takes an active role in promoting and facilitating benchmarking at a European level by:

  • adopting a policy that supports benchmarking as a tool to improve the quality, efficiency and sustainability of transport in Europe;
  • providing practical assistance(information, guidelines, help desk etc.) to benchmarking initiatives undertaken by authorities, operators and other organisations in Member States and Accession Countries;and
  • funding benchmarking projects directly related to specific EU policy objectives.

See also the recommendations to DG TREN: (


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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