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Priorities for Vehicles of Essential User Groups in Urban Environments

European Union
Complete with results
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues


Background & Policy context

Many European cities face high levels of traffic congestion during peak hours, with consequent economic and environmental damage. Adding new lanes and/or parking space to meet this demand is usually not feasible or acceptable. Therefore, measures are needed which make best use of the existing network, while accommodating different policy objectives and securing public acceptance. One strategy is to improve public transport and restrain private vehicle traffic. However, the interests of essential user groups must then be considered.


The aim of PRIVILEGE was to establish a catalogue of measures addressing the traffic problems of congested urban areas. This included:

  • defining the requirements of essential user groups;
  • characterising measures for traffic prioritisation, in the categories of:
  • priority lanes;
  • priority road sections/areas;
  • parking;
  • signal control (but excluding road pricing);
  • identifying integrated packages of measures and the actions needed to implement them.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission; Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN; formerly DG VII)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


PRIVILEGE has defined default levels of priority to be accorded to different road user groups when they are competing for road space. It is recognised, however, that cities will need to adjust these weights according to local conditions. Public transport commonly receives the highest priority in the cities studied.


A catalogue has been developed which sets out 31 individual measures for urban road traffic priority management. This includes implications for fleet management, information management, enforcement and integration into the existing system. Skeleton plans for the introduction of various packages of measures have been devised. Specific city case studies have been developed, showing how a package of measures can be tailored to a given situation


The potential impacts of the various measures have been characterised, and implementation issues described. Critical local conditions and obstacles were identified. All this information is provided in a structured format as a guide to local authorities considering prioritising certain user groups.

Policy implications

In order to prioritise the use of the existing road network, regulations have to be considered, which result in restrictions in general road use. Thus, this is essentially a political issue, depending in part on social acceptance.


For a number of measures, the legal framework has not yet been put in place. This situation varies from country to country. Certain measures may therefore require legislative amendments (to remove barriers) or new local regulations before they can be implemented effectively.


As a result of interviews with local transport policy makers and practitioners, PRIVILEGE also found wide variations in the political and social acceptability of the various measures, including differences between countries. In all cases, public awareness campaigns to inform drivers and residents about the benefits of such schemes were found essential.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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