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Sustainable Transport in Europe, and Links and Liaisons with America


Sustainable Transport in Europe, and Links and Liaisons with America

Background & policy context: 

There is a significant difference in transportation behaviour and policy between Europe and North America: North America is more focussed on economic growth and energy supply, whereas Europe is more concerned with environmental issues in a broader spatial context. Consequently, the North-American orientation is more towards technological solutions, whereas the attention in Europe is more focussed on policy interventions for behavioural change, supported by technology. Clearly, in a Transatlantic setting of sustainable transport policy there is not only a need for comparative study on policy achievements, but also a need for solid data and information systems (including eco-efficiency in the transport sector), through which comparative research can be undertaken.


The objectives of the STELLA project are:

  • to create a platform for the exchange of scientific information and experience as well as to facilitate research cooperation among European and North-American transportation researchers and experts;
  • to foster a better understanding of the common and different causes and backgrounds of mobility behaviour in both Europe and North America, particularly with a view to the impacts of transportation policy, land-use policy, environmental policy, and economic policy;
  • to shape feasible conditions for applied comparative research in both Europe and North America regarding behavioural motives, innovative strategies and policy assessment in the transportation sector with a view to the achievement of sustainable transport.
  • Building and Managing the STELLA network
  • Creation and Management of the Focus Groups
  • Organisation of different meetings:    
    • Organisation of the Genesis Kick-off meeting
    • Creation of the Policy Issues Forum and organisation of the Policy Issues Forum meeting
    • Organisation of the Cross-sectional meeting among Focus Groups
    • Organisation of the Videoconference
    • Organisation of the Topical Users Meeting
    • Organistion of the Completion Workshop in Washington
  • Designing and Maintaining the STELLA website with the possibilities for interactive discussion and communication
  • Setting up and Maintaining the STELLA database/membership list
  • Continuous creation of links with the industry, public bodies and related initiatives
  • Publication of STELLA findings
  • Formulation of a policy research agenda and a future Transatlantic research cooperation plan


Institution Type:
Institution Name: 
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding:
Key Results: 

The STELLA Focus Groups 2002-2004 activities, together with the complementary STELLA activities (Policy Issues Forum in 2003, STELLA Video Conference in 2004, Topical User Meeting in 2004, STELLA completion meeting in 2005, and the continuous STELLA web-discussions) have explored and identified novel policy research issues and policy research questions on sustainable transport. Moreover, a questionnaire circulated among all participants of the STELLA network allowed us to define the peculiar policy research issues, which were deemed important by each Focus Group. The related outcomes have highlighted the potential and the need for new policy research directions on issues of interest for Transatlantic cooperation. In general terms, they can be summarized under three main categories of policy issues: strategic policy issues, social well-being and human behaviour issues, and policy handles and policy research.

Policy implications

A subsequent network activity would have to address four major research themes which may act as pillars for future Transatlantic transport research collaboration:

  • Life style, spatial mobility and transport externalities
  • Open markets, technological change and (inter)modal logistics in transport systems
  • Performance and barriers in transport systems
  • Policies, institutions and regulatory systems in the transport market.

Finally, three mutually complementary and strategic action lines are proposed for concrete and operational Transatlantic collaborative modes in the transport and communications field:

  • Establishment of effective network initiatives
  • Creation of joint information bases
  • Implementation of joint research collaborations.

Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus

Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat Bonn

Centro Ricerche Applicate All' Economia e Alle Scienze Sociali; Universita' Degli Studi di Siena (IT)

The Netherlands:
Free University Amsterdam, Economic and Social Institute

United Kingdom:
University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Economic & Social Institute
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV
Contact country:
(+31) 20 598 60 90
Fax Number: 
(+31) 20 598 60 04