Policy-makers and transport planners are faced with a complex analysis in making decisions on future actions. They have to take account of various interest groups, multiple objectives that may be conflicting, different scenarios for uncertain future developments, a wide range of policy options and different models of likely impacts. The problem is even more complex at the broader European level. Therefore, there is a need for tools and guidance that can help to structure and support the decision-making process.
The objectives of the SAMI project were to:
- develop an approach for setting targets for transport policy;
- provide a methodology and supporting software for selecting and evaluating packages of policy measures to reach those targets.
SAMI developed guidelines, tools and software to assist the development of transport policy in complex situations. The main elements are:
- A conceptual approach for setting transport policy targets, first clarifying the issues and possible ways forward, and then evaluating stakeholder acceptance.
- A framework for assessing interactions between targets (such as conflicts between economic and environmental objectives).
- The definition of performance indicators for a range of policy issues and targets, covering both the achievement of targets and operational progress towards those targets.
- An optimisation method for determining the levels of implementation of individual policy measures (such as road pricing), within a larger package, that maximise specified social objectives.
- Scenarios, or images of the future, that describe alternative possible political and socio-economic contexts within which the impacts of policy options can be evaluated.
- A transport model with a short run time that allows the rough screening of the effects of a large number of policy variables on the European transport system. Output data include aggregate volumes of traffic flow and CO2 emissions in the target year of 2015. (This model will require further calibration before being used as a forecasting tool).
- An evaluation methodology and software for comparing different transport strategies (each based on a package of policy measures). This includes a number of approaches, such as multi-criteria analysis, the evaluation of uncertain or fuzzy data, and the determination of the acceptability of policy options against threshold criteria.
SAMI aimed to support decision-making on the Common Transport Policy, by providing tools that can be used for testing various strategies before implementation. In addition, the project compiled an extensive presentation of background information and methods developed in other research projects. The tools have mainly been tested separately, and their use as an integrated framework for strategic transport planning has still to be demonstrated.
The significance of SAMI lies particularly in the growing acceptance of the need for packages of policy measures. The formation of packages can be an extremely complex process, with many different combinations and variables. The structured framework provided by SAMI can help decision-makers to handle this complexity. It may also be useful in Strategic Environmental Assessment of policies and programmes of major investment.