The development of transport policy at a European level raises new issues
for the evaluation and decision processes. First, the addition of another
policy level places a premium on overcoming the conflicts inherent in the
policy-making process. Second, it requires an integrated evaluation that
goes beyond localised project and infrastructure investment appraisal.
Third, it requires a transport policy to be linked with other European
TENASSESS had two main objectives:
- to characterise policy processes and identify implications for decision-making on the Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) and the Common Transport Policy (CTP);
- to develop and test decision support tools.
TENASSESS found that many of the problems with CTP development relate to the variation in policy processes between Member States. The following aspects have specific importance:
- the distribution of responsibility between national and lower levels;
- the extent of master planning and evaluation frameworks for transport;
- the degree of stakeholder (including public) involvement in decision processes.
This leads, particularly, to conflicts over the relative role of European, national, regional and local levels, the trade-off between economic and environmental objectives, and the rate of deregulation and restructuring of the transport market.
A policy assessment model has been developed for assessing the effectiveness of different policy measures and projects against CTP objectives. The model helps users to make explicit the extent to which an option fulfils stated objectives, and the influence of wider socio-political considerations on an otherwise 'objective' decision. The critical feature is a transparent weighting system that shows how different decision-makers rate specific policy objectives and project impacts. The model has been tested and refined on a series of case studies.
Another software tool has been developed to help anticipate barriers in the implementation of transport infrastructure projects and policy initiatives. Through interactive gaming, the user is able to understand where to concentrate efforts to deal with likely problems. The analytical model was based on case study evidence and then tested on further case studies to show that it is robust.
TENASSESS concluded that the goal of sustainable mobility requires a more integrated approach to transport policy. This can only be realised by organisational reforms - the responsibilities of different political levels need to be clarified, and stronger procedures introduced for strategic co-ordination.
A clearer distinction is needed between policy and infrastructure plans. Policy plans should be enhanced to include measurable objectives and performance indicators. Infrastructure plans should show a closer consideration of strategic policy goals, e.g. through the process of Strategic Environmental Assessment. The links between national and European policy plans should be made explicit, so that variations in national strategies can be understood and co-ordinated where appropriate.
Mechanisms should be established to make effective the participation of citizens in decision processes on transport policy. Information dissemination and project-specific public enquiries are insufficient to build trust in radical changes. Communication with the public should be entrusted to an organisation that is not involved in the decision process.
Many of the barriers in TEN-T and CTP implementation have emerged in the area of financing. TENASSESS recommended that the evaluation of costs and benefits of different options should be separated from the question of how to arrange the funding. Nevertheless, the expert appraisal of projects should address these issues in parallel, with input from potential financiers. Where partnerships emerge to share the financial burden, the sharing of risk should be specified alongside the sharing of costs.