- Country Profiles
- About TRIP
The European Union has repeatedly expressed its commitment to the principles of sustainable mobility. Member States and the Commission are working together to develop a transport system that provides access to people, places, goods and services in an environmentally responsible, socially acceptable, and economically viable manner.
Extensive research has been conducted in the EU to develop appropriate tools for practitioners and policy-makers to develop the concept of sustainable mobility and make it operational. For this, transport planning and policies need to be based on (and monitored by) adequate indicators, forecasts have to be developed by reliable models, and assessment methodologies have to be able to combine the social, economic and environmental targets of sustainable development.
Policy development needs to be based on transparent, consistent and generally accepted information and indicators, make use of state-of-the-art forecasting tools and use transparent methodologies consistent with the principles of sustainable development. Past and current research has developed supporting tools for transport planning, which will be further refined under FP6.
TRANSFORUM focused on policy support and assessment tools for the EU's Common Transport Policy (CTP).
The project addressed the need to verify the scientific consistency and transparency of policy support and assessment tools, and their ability to match the needs and expectations of policy-makers, users and stakeholders.
TRANSFORUM would facilitate this verification process by:
TRANSFORUM activities aimed to reach a future situation that we would like to describe as the TRANSFORUM vision of the future. Our vision contained the following elements:
In order to reach its objectives, TRANSFORUM organized a number of forum sessions during its 36-month lifetime. Additionally, a virtual forum (E-forum) for on-line discussions was organised. The forum brought together relevant scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders. To guarantee that the consensus-based assessment and validation was performed in a verifiable way, special efforts were made to develop a sound methodology to accompany the process.
The validation focused on a wide variety of different elements of policy assessment methodologies, such as common definitions, indicators, frameworks and methods proposed for pan-European use, refined/integrated transport-related modelling and forecasting tools, baseline forecasts produced for the short, medium and longer term, and the socio-economic assessment of selected transport policy options and packages.
TRANSFORUM intended to be a self-improving process, offering relevant conclusions on developing innovative tools to increase participation in transport decision-making and actively furthering the dissemination of knowledge and its exploitation prospects among researchers and those involved in policy-making.
The knowledge area of tools for transport policy support and assessment was fairly large. As other actions under FP6 addressed already certain specific parts of the transport sector and specific policy tools (for instance CIVITAS for urban transport and HEATCO for project assessment), TRANSFORUM focused on transport policies dealing with the interurban and international mobility of goods and passengers.
It screened and discussed the results and recommendations of research projects dealing with the three main technical elements supporting policy-making:
The project's core management team consisted of the project manager, a deputy project manager and the project bureau manager, and was responsible for the day-to-day course of the project, its successful execution and communication with the relevant Project Officer at DG-TREN. The broad management team included representatives of all partners and was responsible for the general course and progress of the project and quality assurance of the deliverables.
The TRANSFORUM project was not a research exercise in the traditional sense, but an innovative knowledge forum in which the fitness-for-purpose (FFP) of tools developed for transport policy support are being assessed. The process, in which this assessment took place, was characterised by communication between the EC and the Member States, between EU member states themselves, between policy-makers, policy analysts and transport modellers, through:
The actual FFP assessment method and the interaction were to be regarded as intermediate 'products' of TRANSFORUM. Therefore the products of this project were not only a traditional final report and printed documentation, but also less tangible items - above all the Forum Meetings - that were all about interaction rather than about producing a 'finished tangible product'.
Part of the TRANSFORUM approach was intended to facilitate a shift from separation of methodological development of transport related indicators, modelling tools and assessment methods towards a wider perspective of developing them together, complementing each other. This facilitation took place in TRANSFORUM by providing several finished and ongoing FP5 and FP6 projects the possibility to use the Forum Meetings as a platform for reviewing (intermediate) project results. In particular the project TRANS-TOOLS had the possibility to use the Forum Meetings as a platform for reviewing its model design. Suggestions to improve the project have been identified by TRANSFORUM and these were taken up by TRANS-TOOLS, within the limitations of the project's contract. Moreover, TRANS-TOOLS has used the Forum Meetings to discuss modelling issues with policy-makers.
For each of the three elements of policy impact assessment addressed in TRANSFORUM ('Assessment tools/methods supporting policy development', 'definitions and indicators' and 'models and scenarios'), recommendations on how to enhance the influence of policy assessment research on policy decisions have been formulated. Many of them can also be seen as points which need further examination in the future. Their uptake will help in reducing the current division of tasks between transport research and policy making towards a more integrated innovation activity.
Assessment tools/methods supporting policy development
To develop transport policy visions from the systems perspective. Basically, the ultimate purpose of the transport system is to serve the needs and expectations of its users, who in turn shape the system by their own behaviour and actions. This requires putting transport research and policies at the service of more general goals. The coherence of the transport system should be analysed with various goals in mind constantly monitoring the edges of transport related projects within a larger societal context. At these edges lie the richest opportunities for transport innovations and success.
To increase the effectiveness of stakeholder participation within European transport research projects. Stakeholder participation should be made more effective in order to:
Currently, the impact of most of the research results on policy decisions is rather low, if any. To strengthen this impact, guidance is needed at least in the following areas:
The legitimacy of assessments and the durability of the results are critical, especially in issues concerning sustainability, equity and competitiveness. Currently, public consultations are based on EC policy documents, like the 'mid-term review' (European Commission - 2006), and not on the underlying scientific assessments.
To present policy assessment outputs in a form that is simple, concise and clearly communicating key issues. Transport policy research projects might have more impact on policy decisions if their main outputs would be presented to decision-makers in a form that is clearly communicating the key issues. In most of the projects analysed in TRANSFORUM, transparency was lacking. There should be no room for doubt or misinterpretation in assessment results; results should be presented in a way that allows decision makers to identify clearly defined potential chances, benefits, costs, risks and uncertainties. This would help them to make judgements based on the gained understanding of key factors.
To mix theoretical and practical knowledge and people (e.g. researchers and civil servants) within research projects, may give their results a great advantage in the implementation phase. Systematic ex-ante assessments followed by ex-post evaluation of economic, social and environmental impacts performed in collaboration with research and civil servant communities should be a normal part of policy making procedures. However, the use of ex-post evaluation in the past transport policy has been rather modest.
To establish innovation networks, targeted at cooperative policy formulation and mutual learning of researchers and civil servants is recommended as an essential task for the future. The process could be fostered by establishing dynamic discussion and assessment Forums or information events, between research projects, European and national civil servants/policy-makers on a regular basis. In addition, reserving extra funding for project activities after the completion date (for maintaining websites, organising policy-makers’ meetings/ seminars etc.), might help the dissemination activities to reach beyond the research community. Furthermore, local transport authorities often play an important role in policy implementation and therefore best-practice knowledge transfer should be supported.
On indicators and definitions
To make use of a common set of definitions and indicators. To achieve consistent, transparent and accepted assessments, policy-makers, civil servants and researchers ideally make use of a common set of definitions and indicators, which describe the achievement of policy objectives, the implementation of policy measures and the development of relevant external influencing factors.
To use core indicators developed in TRANSFORUM as a starting point. TRANSFORUM has developed a proposal for a set of (core) indicators for transport policy research. This set was derived from a systematic analysis of policy objectives, policy measures and relevant external influencing factors. The following groups of indicators have been identified:
Both European and national policy-makers, civil servants and researchers are recommended to use this set of core indicators as a 'back-bone', in their assessments of transport policy.
To further elaborate common indicators. The TRANSFORUM set of common indicators is not yet complete and completely elaborated. Therefore it is suggested to further develop it, by further define in detail the suggested core indicators including suggestions for data collection etc. To encourage the use of common indicators, the European Commission is recommended to initiate a project with the goal to study and remove obstacles from using and further developing common indicators in transport policy impact assessment.
To codify measurement for data collection of core indicators. In order to make data available for the measurement of at least the core indicators, it is recommended that the European Commission proposes to the Member States to organise the data collection for these indicators and to codify the required data collection into the existing Community legislation in such a way that the minimally required data are collected.
On transport modelling and scenario's
To systematically develop a shared agenda of present and future modelling needs. Policy-makers do not define models, but have policy questions that should be answered. They are not familiar with nested logit models, nor should they. During the past two decades the drivers for model development have been more or less based on changing contents of policy questions and needs within the policy process. However, in order to identify the real drivers of model development a more systematic approach is necessary, It is recommended that policy makers and researchers should develop a shared agenda of present and future needs. EC policy-makers are to be invited to go into dialogue with model developers about their policy questions and related indicators, their experiences with transport models during the assessment of policy etc. Such discussions shall enrich the results of TRANSFORUM regarding the transport model development and provide a better understanding of preferred steps towards transport modelling development.
To make a roadmap towards transport model development. By means of looking back at previous research on transport modelling and the lessons learned, it is possible to define the preferred model developments and investments required, to achieve the objectives as identified in the developed shared agenda of modelling needs. TRANS-TOOLS is currently a very important development inside the European Commission. However, the question remains if TRANS-TOOLS is the final result of the transport modelling research area. TRANSFORUM developed a first outline of a roadmap for the future development of TRANS-TOOLS. The roadmap supports the improvement of the model in the sense that those issues are tackled that belong to both the scientific and policy-maker needs.
To create a common reference scenario. An important step towards a more unified application of European and national models, would be the creation of a common reference scenario. A common reference database (ETIS) is already available. However, a common reference set-up in one or more generally accepted scenarios is being missed at the moment. The Commission should invest in this and should support a follow-up project of the SCENARIOS, SCENES and THINK-UP projects. A think-tank that develops such scenarios is recommended.
To enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of pre-processing data and post processing of model results. As stated before, efforts should be made at making the models more easily understandable. Transport models should be suitable for analysis of key policy items using the common set of indicators as suggested earlier. It is desirable to have models operational in which appropriate indicators can be calculated in relation to the different impact categories and policy goals as safety, emissions, noise, land use and economic performance. Gaps identified, such as core indicators on equity and safety and security, should be addressed in the transport models development in coming research programmes. Development and maintenance of databases is necessary in order to guarantee the availability of appropriate data. For example, harmonised data is not always available. Model development should be aimed at improving the possibilities for efficiently presenting results in a simple and understandable way.
To create a set of complementary European and national models, and eventually make a commonly accepted transport model. European and national models should not compete with each other, but should complete each other. Therefore, initiatives should be taken to understand the discrepancies between European and national transport models.
To guard the validity of transport models. Validation is required to have a commonly accepted transport model. The validation can be performed by specific assessments and/or by linking valid models in a system of qualified models. As mentioned before, TRANS-TOOLS is potentially the model that fulfils an important role here. However to avoid developments, that might prove to be inadequate, further validation of the available tools remains important and an organised constant reconnaissance of possible alternatives is recommended.
To disseminate knowledge of and experiences with transport models. A fundamental understanding of the models is not always clear. Often the models are taken for granted to easily. Therefore, typical items related to working with transport models, such as model uncertainties, should be transferred to other modelling experts and policy-makers to obtain a more common approach of this issue.
To create open architectures, blueprints and frameworks to ensure that many can follow the diverse paths identified in the road-mapping phase, while maintaining a harmonised approach. Even though an open source approach has drawbacks in terms of quality control, a move in this direction is needed to ensure the applicability and development of models across multiple agents and countries.
To make accurate agreements about model ownership. After the lifetime of TRANSFORUM and TRANS-TOOLS a gap in continuity for the model community will occur. However, according to the representatives of the Commission and JRC/IPTS it is not sure if JRC/IPTS can fill this gap as there is no real owner of the model and therefore (possible) no real maintenance of the model. It is recommended to give attention to this issue, for instance by the Commission in invitations to tender.
Final Report (459 Kb)
Newsletter, Issue 1 (168 Kb)
Newslettre, Issue 2 (778 Kb)
Newslettre, Issue 3 (797 Kb)
Centrum dopravního výzkumu
CETE LYON ; Institut National de Recherche sur les Transports et leur Sécurité ;
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas
Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, Directoraat-Generaal Rijkswaterstaat, Adviesdienst Verkeer en Vervoer; Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research
The United Kingdom
Mr Jan Van der Waard
Ministerie van Verkeer en Waterstaat, Directoraat-Generaal Rijkswaterstaat, Adviesdienst Verkeer en Vervoer
PO Box 20901
2500 EX The Hague
Tel: (+31) 70 4567152
Fax: (+31) 70 4567576
TRIP is funded by the European Commission's Directorate General for Mobility and Transport under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7).