The Effectiveness of National Transport Strategies As a Means to Promote the Development of More Sustainable Transport Systems

The Effectiveness of National Transport Strategies As a Means to Promote the Development of More Sustainable Transport Systems


H Gudmundsson, Danish Transport Research Institute, DK; M Tight, M Kimble, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds, UK


This research looks at the development of national level transport strategies and seeks to assess how effective such strategies are in promoting the development of sustainable transport systems.


High level integrated policies, plans and programmes are a common feature of transport strategy development in many countries and provide a framework for the detailed implementation of transport infrastructure and facilities. Examples can be found in Europe in the UK, the Netherlands; Sweden, Norway and Denmark as well as further afield in North America and other regions of the world. A key feature of many of these plans, particularly those produced most recently, is a focus on environmental targets and the promotion of more sustainable transport systems. Such strategy documents also promote the need for ongoing monitoring and assessment of various indicators in order to judge how well the plan is developing according to the specified aims, objectives and targets. There is limited research available which looks at the success of such high level strategies, particularly in terms of promoting the achievement and delivery of sustainability improvements. Deficiencies in this respect might be due to changes in economic or political circumstances, but potentially also to inadequacies in the way the ?high level? plans and programmes themselves are conceived or managed. Other studies have looked in more detail at the role of specific elements like performance objectives, which are widely held to be key components in successfully delivering results. This work focuses particularly on role of such strategy statements to promote transport sustainability.

The paper reports on research emerging from the IMPACT (IMplementation Paths for ACTion towards sustainable mobility) project which is part of the Swedish TransportMistra programme, which is funding research with a focus on the promotion of more sustainable transport systems. The specific research questions addressed by the paper are how high level plans and programmes contribute to shape subsequent (or already ongoing) implementation processes, in particular the development of more sustainable transport systems; how the plans and programmes have been supported through use of decision support tools, and how successfully such mechanisms are applied. Decision support tools may include, for example, assessment procedures and models, targets and monitoring programs, management-by-objectives schemes and incentive structures, performance plans, evaluation studies, independent reviews, and several other elements. The paper contains a number of sections, specifically a review of existing ?high level? plans and programmes in the UK; a typology of ?implementation support mechanisms? typically employed by them and a proposed methodology for how to research and assess their role in the actual implementation processes. The research reported is specifically focussed on the development of high level transport strategy in the UK starting with the 1998 White Paper on Transport and following through the 2000 10 Year Plan and subsequent documents. The principal research methods employed and reported on in the paper are document analysis and will investigate the use of implementation support mechanisms in the UK?s push for ?integrated transport?.


Association for European Transport