The EU has established policy goals to achieve a more sustainable transport system. The complexity of meeting the mobility needs of all its citizens requires a clearer vision and an effective and coordinated governance approach. It is important for policy makers and local governments to coordinate competences among different stakeholders at different levels within a clear and proper policy framework.
In order to increase transport sustainability, with specific actions on public transport, different approaches were already adopted, among which the establishment of specific authorities. These authorities (Public Transport Authorities–PTAs or Organising Authorities–OAs) act in the public interest and ensure a well-functioning integrated transport system within their territory, but competencies and tasks are often different, making it difficult to identify a successful MODEL. PTA as entity can be centralised (office in the local government) or decentralised (separate public owned company) depending on political choice.
The EPTA proposal aims at increasing public transport sustainability focusing on environmental, energy and economic aspects through the identification of a MODEL of PTA as a powerful tool of governance.
As a strategy the use of 3 leverages such as Quality, Efficiency and Efficacy will be applied to the 7 key activities related to public transport sector governance: Regulate, Plan, Tender/Award, Integrate, Promote, Manage, Control. The key concept is that these 7 activities should be concentrated in a single body able to support policy makers and involve relevant stakeholders. Good practices across Europe will be identified, collected and transferred into regional development policies, to produce, as final result, a transferable and customizable MODEL to be adopted for the successful implementation or re-organization of a PTA.
The consortium is made of 11 partners (PTAs, a Region, Local Governments, a Network and a University with Internationally recognised key expertise in public transport) from 9 EU Regions and 1 from Norway.
The project is designed to include partners representing the main competences involved in mobility governance and embrace different perspectives on the issue. The EPTA structure provides an ideal context for exchanging experiences and good practices regarding PTAs activities and mission.
The work planned includes:
- Exchange and sharing of experience on how to develop and operate a PTA through a series of training courses and workshops.
- Consolidation and transfer of good practices among involved areas.
- Promotion of policy tools and regulatory guidelines at local, regional, national levels for PTA establishment and organization.
The project outcomes and durable results include: experiences exchange to increase skills and awareness among key policy makers on PTA MODEL for improving sustainable, economic and energy efficiency in public transport. Positive social side effects will also result as indirect added value.
EPTA proposal was approved under conditions by the Monitoring Committee (MC) on 15/12/11.Lead Partner (LP) and Coordinator (CO) provided all the additional documentation/clarification requested by JTS, in tight collaboration with all partners. The revised application form was finally approved at the end of Jan 2012 and Subsidy Contract was signed on 16/02/12.
Project activities fully started at the end of February 2012, with a minor delay comparing to the official project start date (01/01/12). Partners will be able to recover any delay during project lifetime, without any negative impact on the implementation of the planned activities. EPTA kick-off meeting(KO) was arranged by LP in Bologna on 28-29/02/12,and was mainly focused on project structure and activities,partners role and assigned tasks, administrative and financial issues and deadlines.All partners attended the meeting,ensuring the presence of both technical and administrative staff, in order to make sure that all different project issues tackled during KO are well understood. Immediately after KO partners quickly began to work on the project, whose activities are now in progress and almost all the due outputs were produced (or at least drafted) despite the minor delay in project start-up.
EPTA has well structured management procedures, based on simple daily activities and good communication among partners. LP and CO kept frequent contacts with both JTS and partners for ensuring an efficient project coordination. Moreover 2 key internal working documents were issued/drafted during this period: D0 (Inception Report), an additional deliverable stating main project "rules" and procedures,and D1.1 (Internal Quality Handbook) that will be officially released at the beginning of the next reporting period.
EPTA partners also pay a special attention to project promotion and dissemintation activities, in order to raise awareness on the tackled issues both among international technicians and the general public. Responsible partner POLIS developed EPTA logo and overall visual identity, realized the Dissemination plan (D2.1) and revised partners Local Promotion Plans. POLIS also listed a series of international conferences that could be interesting for EPTA partners, both for presenting the project and for improving their knowledge of project related issues.
Thanks to this key input,all partners (also the less experienced ones) were able to identify more than 50 GPs all around Europe, that were collated by UNIABDN in D3.1 (Case studies collection), to be finalized in the upcoming reporting period. At the occasion of 1st EPTA workshop (WS1) in Aberdeen (May12) partners already started to discuss about local and European experiences and to evaluate the possibility of adopting these for their feasibility studies. In order to enhance exchange of experiences activities, in Aberdeen also Staff Exchange (SE) idea and structure was presented and discussed in order to be "tailored" on local needs and specific site characteristics.