The European Commission is engaged on a long-term mission to improve the Trans-European Network for Transport (TEN-T) so that it operates in an efficient and seamless manner, irrespective of location. In July 1996 the European Parliament and Council adopted Decision N° 1692/96/EC on Community guidelines for the development of the Trans-European transport network. These guidelines comprise roads, railways, inland waterways, airports, seaports, inland ports and traffic management systems which serve the entire continent, carry the bulk of the long distance traffic and bring the geographical and economic regions of the Union closer together.
The European Parliament and the Council adopted Decision N° 1346/2001/EC in May 2001 as an amendment to the TEN-T guidelines regarding seaports, inland ports and intermodal terminals. It also specifies in detail the criteria of projects of common interest in relation to these infrastructures.
Enlargement of the European Union brings to light the need for accessibility and development of priority infrastructure for Candidate Countries / New Member States. The intention of the Commission was to revise the TEN-T Guidelines more fundamentally in 2004, to take account of Enlargement and expected changes in traffic flows.
Critical to the co-ordinating and promoting role is knowledge of the performance of the TEN-T. At the trans-European level this translates into examination of all the effects of investing in and using the network in relation to policy objectives, in order to monitor the guidelines related to the TEN-T. Such information must reflect policy objectives in terms of regional development and accessibility, as well as other factors such as mobility, modal balance, environment, safety, interoperability and intermodality. Member States maintain national statistical databases to monitor the implementation of transport infrastructure and monitor the progress of their national Transport Masterplans. Levels of network detail and scope vary with the transport context and policy priorities of each country.
The central issue was to develop a consistent performance-based framework that will provide a cost effective (and acceptable) basis upon which to measure policy measure effectiveness at a trans-European network level. What is needed at a European level is a concise set of indicators, (in measurable standard terms), that can be used at a 'network element' scale. This set of indicators should evaluate and monitor the performance of the TEN-T net
The project brief was to develop a set of indicators covering all modes (road, rail, inland waterways, airports and seaports) within the Trans-European Network in the EU-15, Switzerland and Norway, and the TINA network in the Candidate Countries (as they were at the time of the project, i.e. the New Member States which joined the EU in 2004 plus Romania and Bulgaria). These indicators were to form a performance-monitoring framework for the European Commission.
The objectives of the INDICATORS project were to study the technical, institutional, legal, and contractual aspects related to the establishment of a consistent monitoring mechanism to evaluate trans-European infrastructure and demand.
In keeping with the role of the EU and the Community guidelines and priorities for development of the Trans-European Network, the performance indicators in the INDICATORS project serve in the following specific domains for strategic infrastructure planning and evaluation:
- Network monitoring (monitoring the implementation of the guidelines, including development of the TEN-T network, safety, mobility, and environmental impacts);
- Network planning (revision of the trans-European guidelines to reflect priorities and needs).
The performance indicators surveyed cover the following application contexts:
- Sector: Passenger, Freight
- Mode: Road (car, bus, lorry), Rail, Airports, Inland waterways, Seaports; Intermodal
- Area: National transport network and links forming part of the Trans-European transport network, including networks for the (then) Candidate Countries for Accession.
Performance indicators identified are quantifiable at the spatial transport network level of corridors, main sections (links), and nodes (terminals) on the TEN-T network.
The specifications from the client (EC DG-TREN) called for the development of a consistent performance-monitoring framework taking into account technical, institutional, legal and contractual aspects to evaluate trans-European transport. The project approach was structured around the following five tasks:
- Task 1: Development of indicators to measure the performance of individual projects, corridors, infrastructure programmes or the network.
This task included a review of the organisation at national level for monitoring and evaluating transport networks (involving a questionnaire for each of the 29 countries involved), an assessment of current evaluation procedures used in the Commission on TEN-T, examination of the current databases used by the EC, a review of the state-of-the-art on EC-funded projects and a review of the actual organisation and procedures of data-collection for the current databases of the European Commission.
- Task 2: Detailed classification, assessment and selection of indicators.
This included classification and definition of indicators according to policy objectives, relevance, comparability across countries and modes, and possible uses, characterisation and definition of them, consultation of national administrations and stakeholder groups, and definition of detailed procedures.
- Task 3: Assessment of the indicators' usefulness by means of ‘real life’ case studies.
This task included the characterisation and identification of bottlenecks on the road and rail networks and a case study applying some of the indicators to the road and rail networks in the Pyrenees region (France/Spain).
- Task 4: Study of the operational and organisational aspects of the functioning and administration of the monitoring system.
This included analysis of costs, expertise requirements, status, and institutional relationships, definition of minimal common technical rules for the operation of geographical information systems (GIS), and identification of specific provisions required for monitoring and evaluating the development of the networks in the Accession Countries.
- Task 5: Refinement of the list of indicators and setting out final recommendations in view of the establishment of the monitoring system.
Based upon the material collected from the European Commission and Member State authorities, the INDICATORS team undertook a pragmatic approach to develop and continuously refine a typology of goals and objectives, establishing relationships between the goals, objectives, and measurements of transportation system performance.
Recognising the differences in transport policy objectives and priorities between Member States due to different environmental, population, and socio-economic contexts, no particular priority is given to certain goals or corresponding objectives. Objectives proposed were classified into eight categories according to the following trans-European policy themes:
- Optimal use of capacities,
- Intermodality and interoperability,
- Economic viability,
- Environment, and
- Modal balance.
The main result of the project was the development of 28 priority indicators for the TEN-T (all transport modes) to measure progress with respect to the eight policy goals listed above. These are not listed here, but are summarised in the Executive Summary of the Final Report and are treated in more detail in the Final Report and Annex 1 (all downloadable from this site).
Other key results are as follows:
The current Infrastructure Reporting mechanism to report on the status of the TEN-T network forms the starting point for development of a full-scale monitoring mechanism. Basic infrastructure data, currently collected, through biannual surveys of Member States can be expanded to include data required for the estimation of Performance indicators required for a better picture and assessment of the TEN-T and the degree of achievement of trans-European objectives and priorities. The use of performance indicators would provide needed depth to assess investment priorities and gaps in the network. There is a need for a consistent reporting and monitoring mechanism for the TEN-T.
The project confirmed that collecting and maintaining data to support performance-based planning programs in Europe is a critical obstacle. The vast majority of national transport authorities surveyed indicated that their data collection resources are limited. In the area of freight movements, these constraints are even more apparent. Freight shipments are more varied in content, and vary more over time, than passenger movements, so accurate data co
Development of performance indicators is not a single 'snapshot' exercise. The European Commission should adopt plans for the continuous update, refinement, and development of performance indicators. Regular updates of the indicators coupled with the development of more intricate and sophisticated levels of performance indicators, as data availability (particularly among Candidate Countries) improves, should be a priority. As the European policies and guidelines evolve and with the proposal of a major revision of the guidelines by 2004, the emphasis would be more in adopting intricate performance indicators to provide support. The importance of continuing close co-operation between European entities and organisations (in particular DG TREN and Eurostat), and Member States and Candidate Countries for Accession should be emphasised.
On the basis of the project findings, the following steps are envisioned as a follow-up or a road map to apply and implement a consistent and harmonised trans-European monitoring framework:
- Data Collection and Standardisation:
Minimum quality levels should be defined for the actual collection of the data in order to make data reliable and comparable. Definition of the quality of data-collection for the various indicators fell outside the scope of this project but needs serious attention. In cases where national authorities differ in the interpretation and estimation of performance indicators, despite the existence of available data, efforts should be made by international organisations and/or Eurostat to achieve a degree of standardisation in the development and estimation of indicators.
- Pilot survey of TEN-T applying the performance indicators and supporting data:
National authorities should carefully review the identified lists of indicators and provide a critical assessment on the time period for adoption and use of each indicator in question. A pilot survey to collect the data on the TEN-T is necessary for the estimation and validation of the recommended performance indicators. Short-term indicators with high data availability can be the basis for the pilot surveys. The pilot survey could perhaps focus on a selected group of high-priority international corridors, according to certain criteria.
- Specification of concrete target statements for trans-European transport policy:
The lack of specific target statements related to the current TEN-T Guidelines can be a source of vagueness and non-specificit