The project was funded under the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development or EESD subsection of the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) which addresses the urgent need for sustainable forms of transport in cities in Europe as an alternative to the car and to complement existing forms of public transport. EDICT is situated under the City of Tomorrow Key Action of the programme which aims to develop new technologies and systems to complement what already exists and to help guide decision-making processes.
EDICT brought together researchers and transport authorities in four partner cities (Cardiff Wales, Eindhoven and Almelo Netherlands, Huddinge Sweden, and Rome Ciampino Italy) and six follower cities across Europe in the evaluation of the technical, environmental, social and economic benefits of a novel Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system. Practical assessment of user and community benefits was accomplished through test track demonstration in Cardiff. The results will be disseminated widely to provide information on best practice for assessment and introduction of PRT systems to improve future transport in Europe.
The specific objectives of the EDICT project were:
- To demonstrate and evaluate in a European Capital City an innovative form of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) which can offer effective and sustainable transport.
- To study the opportunities for PRT for practical improvement of both transport and the environment in four European Cities with significantly different characteristics via scenario analysis and pre-planning for full application, including an integrated simulation.
- To assess the environmental impact of PRT systems compared to other forms of transport. This work will include energy, emissions, noise, visual intrusion, separation issues, etc.
- To assess the key social, economic, and cultural issues in the introduction of PRT systems in Europe, via analysis, discussion with potential stakeholders and citizen consultation both informally and via carefully constructed surveys. This will include an examination of institutional barriers to innovation.
- To assess and recommend best practice for the evaluation and introduction of PRT to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of transport systems for the City of Tomorrow.
A common European assessment framework was developed for the project, specifically designed for the evaluation of personal rapid transit systems. This identified two main streams of assessment activities, as follows:
- The assessments of the impacts on the policy objectives (grouped into transport efficiency and quality of the transport system, safety and security, accessibility, environment, economy, and integration with other policies), and
- The practical feasibility analyses (grouped into distribution and equity, public acceptability and stakeholders support, financial and funding, technical and legal, political context and decision making process).
The assessment activities relied heavily on modelling and simulation activities. These are aimed at estimating the demand for PRT system and the impacts on the mobility patterns in the affected area as well as at testing different management strategies for the system. Data collection activities and interaction with stakeholders and the public were an essential part of the assessment process as they provide the necessary inputs to modelling and assessment. Finally, actions of local communication were also part of the assessment process in the individual sites as they raise awareness and diffuse knowledge on the innovative system. This was a key objective for all the local projects.
The local assessment plans:
Local evaluation was based around the following three different ideal cases in relation to the priorities attached to policy objectives within the EDICT partner cities:
- the 'transport problem' case, where there are identified existing problems of increasing traffic congestion and pollution;
- the 'sustainable city' case, where the project is not problem driven, but driven by environmental and lifestyle goals and local development plans which derive from the vision of a sustainable 'City of Tomorrow'; and
- the 'innovation policy' case, where the project is not problem driven but driven by the goal of creating new opportunities through launching an innovation process (i.e. maximising the potential of the university campus).