The FORESIGHT for TRANSPORT project was launched in 2001 under the 'Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme' (1998-2000) of the European Community with the main objective to organise and run a strategic dialogue in the form of a foresight exercise on the influence of non-transport factors and policy on mobility and transport.
The FORESIGHT for TRANSPORT project had three strategic objectives:
- To set up and run a strategic dialogue with the participation of experts from different disciplines as well as representatives of business and industry, policy-makers and interest organisations that identifies the critical external factors that influence mobility and transport policy and specifies the contextual scenario conditions within which these developments take place.
- To use the input from the strategic dialogue to specify the impact of external developments and associated trends on mobility and the transport system and elaborate the concept of the transport impact pathway.To develop a procedure for monitoring external developments and their impact on transport in the future.
The following four policy areas delineate the original scope of the project: EU enlargement, Energy and Environment, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Decision-Making in a Multi-Level Governance Context.
The time framework of the foresight exercise was the time between now and 2020+ distinguished between the short-term (2004-2009), medium-term (2010-2019) and long-term (2020+). The geographical scope has been the enlarged European Union.
The project was implemented following the foresight methodology and related tools.
Its implementation entailed the organisation of thematic expert panel consultations on the topics of enlargement, environment and energy, multilevel governance, information and communication technologies and time dynamics, a Delphi survey involving 165 experts around Europe as well as the establishment of a meta-database system with information on indicators that can be used to monitor developments in fields of relevance for transport and mobility.
The implementation of the project entailed the organisation of thematic expert panel consultations on the topics of enlargement, environment and energy, multilevel governance, information and communication technologies and time dynamics, a Delphi survey involving 165 experts around Europe as well as the establishment of a meta-database system with information on indicators that can be used to monitor developments in fields of relevance for transport and mobility.
The results of the project are documented in eight scientific deliverables.
- Deliverable 1 - the project's inception report - presents background information on the foresight method and the areas addressed by the thematic expert panel consultations.
- Deliverables 2 to 6 report on the results of the thematic expert panel consultations.
- Deliverable 2 deals with the subject of enlargement.
- Deliverable 3 with environment and energy.
- Deliverable 4 with information and communication technologies.
- Deliverable 5 with multilevel governance and
- Deliverable 6 with the time dimension.
All consultation documents are available in English, French and German.
- Deliverable 7 is a report on the impact of external developments on mobility and the transport system. External developments are defined as all those factors that fall outside the direct realm of transport policy and the transport market. On the basis of the results of the thematic expert panel consultations these were classified as belonging in eight dimensions, namely, demographics, attitudes, social (policy) developments, institutional arrangements, science and technology, politics, the environment and the economy.
- Deliverable 8 is the project's monitoring system. The technical tool is accompanied by a manual as well as a feasibility plan on the further use of foresight in the transport field.
In summarising the project's substantive findings we begin with the thematic areas which provided the starting point of the analysis. The EU enlargement will impact on the volumes of traffic, the transport market and the organisation of the transport sector as well as infrastructure development.
The impacts will however differ considerably depending on the institutional and socio-economic basis of the enlargement and alignment process. The strongest positive effects in terms of
Four generic substantive conclusions can be drawn from the FORESIGHT for TRANSPORT project:
- First, all desirable and possible future scenarios foresee a combination of measures, at different levels and regarding different policies and not transport policy alone. It is equally important to distinguish between short- and long-distance transport as well as passenger and freight transport and to take action with regard to all four.
- Second, positive changes are expected to come about through incremental learning and less through revolutionary shifts. This is true for changes in attitudes and behaviour but also transport technology and the transport system more generally. The last years have witnessed significant debates regarding decoupling, the impact of technology or the evolution of motorisation. It is telling that the experts consulted by the FORESIGHT for TRANSPORT study take overall a rather 'conservative' attitude regarding forecasted changes in this respect, downplaying their speed as well as their success potential in the short- to medium-term.
- Third, the above also means that changes will come about gradually and will begin to manifest themselves in the medium-term (i.e. after 2010) rather than in the short-term. The precondition is, of course, that steps in the right direction are taken in the short-term and not later. Most policies influencing the transport (supply) system take between 5 and 10 years to show an effect. Those (non-transport) policies that influence mobility and transport demand have a shorter time frame (3 to 5 years) however they are also often much more inert, thus transformation is much more difficult to bring about in the first place.
- Last but not least, transport policy does not operate in a vacuum and indeed its success is significantly dependent on the more general societal context. Intermediate variables as set out by the critical transport impact pathways are what determine how transport and non-transport factors impact on mobility and the transport system and ultimately their degree of impact. In this latter respect and as shown by the transport impact pathways, transport impacts are mediated through a range of intermediate variables - within transport policy but significantly also in the external environment and at the interface between transport policy and the external environment.
Considering the difficulties of implementation of several transport policies that seek the