Moving from Command and Control ? the Potential for Economic Instruments

Moving from Command and Control ? the Potential for Economic Instruments


S Grant-Muller, ITS, University of Leeds, UK


The SPECTRUM research has focused on assessing the potential for greater use of economic instruments in managing the transport system and whether there are wider implications, for example in terms of equity and the environment.


The European Commission is increasingly looking at what the consequences of moving from a ?command and control? approach in managing the transport system to one that is led by economic forces might be. This is also an issue that has come to the fore at the local and urban level with a growing number of both trials and implementation of economic instruments as a means of managing transport and its impacts. At both large scale interurban and the urban level, this raises a number of questions such as: what the impacts of a greater use of economic instruments may be, for example from an equity perspective, whether economic instruments can be used as a substitute for current regulatory (or physical) measures and whether economic instruments can be successfully teamed with regulatory and physical measures to achieve more efficient management of the system.

SPECTRUM is a large three year project funded by the EU as part of the fifth framework. The main goal of the research is to define a theoretically sound framework for introducing economic instruments either alongside or as substitutes for physical and regulatory measures. The focus of this paper will be to give an overview of the work of the project to date in achieving this goal. This includes work to define the transport environment and categorise different transport instruments. A number of transport and other social objectives have also been defined in order that the success of different instruments can be measured against these. These objectives lend themselves to indicators that have an inherently quantified or qualitative nature. Further work has led to more specific detail on the measurement and treatment of the indicators which has practical relevance for use in the transport context. Within the SPECTRUM project they are being specifically used in the series of urban and interurban case studies to investigate the way in which economic instruments work in synergy with, or complement, or can be substituted for regulatory and physical measures. An overall assessment framework has been proposed, based on welfare economics and recommending that impacts are monetised where possible and included in a cost benefit analysis (CBA). A range of case studies have been undertaken for both interurban and urban contexts and different geographical scales (local, regional, national and European). The selection of case studies allows for comprehensive information about the applicability of the assessment framework and the range of relevant policy measures. Initial results from case studies have already given an indication of the potential and impacts from moving towards greater use of economic instruments and a broad summary will be given here, whilst more detailed reporting on the case studies is the subject of other papers.


Association for European Transport