The various parts of the urban transport system, such as bus services, traffic control systems and parking areas are designed and controlled by various independent organisations. Competitive pressures, institutional and legislative obstacles may inhibit integrated or co-ordinated working, leading to sub-optimal efficiency of the system as a whole. Services may be excessively duplicated, and policies to promote collective transport, such as combining higher quality bus services with bus priority measures and parking payment systems may be hindered. Therefore, the greater integration of actors such as local authorities, fleet operators and technology providers is an important goal.
INTRAMUROS aimed to provide a methodology to help the different actors involved in Urban Transport Systems (UTS) to assess and improve their level of integration and co-ordination.
The project has produced and site-tested a multi-criteria decision support tool, which helps UTS organisations identify areas where greater co-operation is possible. The current situation in a city is assessed against best and worst case scenarios according to selected criteria and objectives. A set of indicators relating to cost, operational performance, environmental impact, socio-economic effects and safety consequences has been developed. The criteria can be weighted according to the value judgements of individual actors in each city, although default weights provide a useful means of cross-city comparison. The assessment helps users to prioritise potential changes to the UTS. At the same time, it is a tool to enhance co-operation between the local actors.
A survey together with investigations at six test sites showed that:
- most organisations perceive the need for co-operation, and some are installing institutional arrangements and common procedures as a result;
- competition between operators often acts as a brake on technical and financial integration;
- the efficiency benefits of public-private partnerships have been demonstrated.
The INTRAMUROS decision support tool provides city and regional traffic planners with a means of comparing quantitatively the relative benefits of different local strategies for improving the co-ordination and integration of the UTS. It has been designed as a flexible tool that can be applied to any city situation, or even for cross-city comparison in support of national and European policy making.
The project concluded that there is no single organisational, financial and legal structure that will best encourage transport integration for all the different types and sizes of urban areas in Europe. An activity-based organisation, where actors have powers extending over different transport modes and across wide geographic areas, may be regarded as the most likely to induce better transport integration. However, such a structure cannot be imposed abruptly, and this major transition may not be as sensible as lesser modifications to existing structures.