The European Commission’s General Directorate Mobility & Transport (DG MOVE) follows a challenging objective: to develop transport policies that benefit all sectors of the Community. The European Commission’s White Paper on Transport (2011) addresses the challenges related to this mission by – among other things – presenting a 'vision for a competitive and sustainable transport system'. This vision includes targets such as decreasing the transport sector’s Green House Gas emissions by 60% until 2050, to develop an 'efficient core network for multimodal intercity travel and transport', to foster sustainability and competitiveness of the European air and maritime transport markets, and to support 'cleaner urban transport and commuting'. In the ‘Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050’, the transport sector’s contributions to the objective are summarised by the key words 'fuel efficiency, electrification and getting prices right'.
Decisions concerning transport policy measures elaborated by the European Commission (DG MOVE) that are proposed by the European Union, have important long-term implications for society, the environment and the economy. Transport policy measures can sequester capital for decades and result in manifold effects, both beneficial and detrimental. Policy measures may thus have large impacts, all the more if taken at the European level.
The key objective of the HIGH-TOOL project was to develop an open source, high-level strategic assessment model for use by EU policy makers and policy analysts to assess economic, social and environmental impacts of transport policy measures: The HIGH-TOOL model. The model has two purposes. It can be applied to strategic assessment of transport policy options, and to support identification of policy options for further analyses by more detailed assessment instruments.
To answer a key user requirement, the HIGH-TOOL Baseline needed to be aligned with the EU Reference Scenario 2013.
The HIGH-TOOL model was developed sequentially under careful consideration of user requirements. The model development was divided into three stages: prototype, pre-final version and final version. Three User Workshops were conducted in order to gather user requirements in terms of scope of policy measures to be evaluated, scope of output variables, usability and operability of the system and the User Interface. The prototype and the pre-final version of the model were presented to the future users in these User Workshops.
The assessment tool was developed on the basis of existing tools (e.g., Vaclav, NEAC, TREMOVE), and was, where necessary, complemented by new models. The core of the model are transport demand models for passenger and freight, which are supplemented by models for demography, economy, vehicle stock, environment and safety.
The model development was accompanied by an extensive validation and testing approach: Robustness tests were carried out to ensure that the model works correctly in the presence of invalid inputs, and significant effort was spent to calibrate the HIGH-TOOL modules to the EU Reference Scenario 2013. Furthermore, sensitivity checks were carried out, and the model was tested through application to case studies.
During the runtime of the project the HIGH-TOOL model was developed: an open source, high-level strategic assessment model for use by EU policy makers and policy analysts to assess economic, social and environmental impacts of transport policy measures.
The HIGH-TOOL model has a global scope. However, the main focus is attached to Europe, and particularly to the Member States of the European Union. The spatial scope is the level of NUTS-2 for all EU Member States (EU28), Norway and Switzerland, NUTS-0 for EU neighbouring countries, and country bundles for intercontinental transport. In total 314 modelling zones are considered.
The tool’s timeline are 5-years steps from 2010 to 2050. The year 2010 is the base year of the HIGH-TOOL model.
The HIGH-TOOL model represents an integrated assessment tool and comprises following modules, which interact sequentially with each other:
- Economy & Resources
- Passenger Demand
- Freight Demand
- Vehicle Stock
Passenger demand is differentiated by following modes: air, rail, road (passenger car and powered 2-wheelers), and long-distance coach. The urban demand sub-module additionally considers urban bus, urban tram/metro, cycling and walking. The demand differentiation by trip purpose covers business, private, vacation, and commuting trips. The freight transport modes are air, rail, road, inland waterways, and maritime transport. The demand is considered for NST-2 commodities (52 commodity groups).
The passenger and freight transport demand is further distinguished by vehicle types and fuel types. The model considers 60 vehicle types and 17 fuel technologies.
The key data reference for the base year data of the HIGH-TOOL model is the ETISplus project. The forecasts of the HIGH-TOOL Baseline are aligned with those of the EU Reference Scenario 2013.
The policy impacts are assessed by the HIGH-TOOL model with regard to a number of variables concerning transport (e.g., transport demand, modal split), vehicle stock (e.g., road vehicle stock by fuel technology), economy (e.g. GVA, GDP per capital), environment (e.g., emission of CO2, NOX and particulates), and safety (e.g., number of fatalities, injuries, costs).
The HIGH-TOOL model is the only free and open source transport demand and policy assessment tool available at the European scale, and as such provides a significant innovation. As a basis for further developments, the HIGH-TOOL model provides ground for manifold further innovation in the future.
As a user-friendly strategic assessment tool to support the European Commission with the selection of beneficial transport policies for the EU and with the assessment of transport policies’ economic, environmental and social impacts, the HIGH-TOOL model has a high level of policy relevance. The model was developed in close cooperation and interaction with the European Commission to ensure that user requirements are met at the utmost level.
Thus, supporting decision-making, the HIGH-TOOL project has an impact on EU transport policy and the achievement of the political targets as specified in the White Paper on Transport.