Quality Public Transport Systems in Medium Size Cities: Socio ? Economic Development and Urban Regeneration Impacts, Funding and Implementation Advances
M Vougioukas, EuroTrans Consulting, GR; G Sammer, ITS-BOKU, AT; A Monzon, UPM, ES, E Evans, Cambridgeshire County Council, UK; G Ambrosino, ATL Adviser, IT
Evaluation methodology and results on indirect benefits of Quality Transit systems in 5 Medium-size cities; impacts on socio-economic development, cohesion and urban regeneration, towards addressing funding and the new EU regional policy instruments
Medium-size Cities in Europe (defined as having population of up to 250000) and their inhabitants are facing increasingly traffic congestion and mobility problems and in addressing these they are considering the introduction of new Quality Transit systems: Tramway, Light Rail (LRT), Guided Busways (GB) or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Other cities have implemented such schemes with considerable success. The introduction of Quality Transit Systems (QTS) is a costly investment which usually needs a complete re-organisation of the urban road network and in most cases an operating subsidy, which are seen as main obstacles to selection and implementation. Medium-size cities face additional problems of funding and road-space re-allocation for new Transit systems, given the relative high investment costs required for their normal budgets and their usual restricted road networks.
However, apart from the direct mobility, environmental and energy-efficiency positive impacts, such Quality Transit Systems have quantifiable and significant indirect positive impacts on social and economic development, cohesion, urban regeneration and reduction of global warming. Quality Transit Systems may be a catalyst for sustainable urban and regional development, providing employment opportunities and a multiplier effect. These indirect effects should be taken into account in the planning and evaluation of such systems and in transport policy.
In Medium size Cities, where the implementation of such investments is particularly difficult, the long and difficult process of development and implementation can be facilitated if these indirect additional benefits are taken into consideration from the outset in policy and decision making.
The TranSUrban (Transit Systems Development for Urban Regeneration) project, co-funded by the European Union within the framework of INTERREG IIIC Inter-regional Co-operation Programme, investigated the above issues over the period 2005-2007, in five European Medium size cities: Volos-Nea Ionia Magnesia (Greece), Cambridge (UK), Livorno (Italy), Valdemoro (Spain) and Linz (Austria).
The overall aim of TranSUrban was to examine the development and operation of Urban Transit Systems: Light Rail Transit (LRT) / Tramway / Guided Busway (GB), Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), in Medium?sized Cities, through innovative strategies towards sustainable development, cohesion and urban regeneration.
The paper presents the methodology of TranSUrban for evaluating the indirect benefits of new QTS and the evaluation results. The evaluation methodology includes extended cost-benefit analysis and ?sustainable development analysis?. The results of the evaluation are given in terms of urban regeneration impacts, employment creation, socio-economic development and cohesion, sustainable development, aesthetics and governance in Medium-size Cities. It is concluded that the indirect benefits, if properly assessed, quantified and justified, may well support the development of new Quality Transit Systems in Medium-size Cities.
The results of the project for the five case cities are assessed in relation to the needs of financial institutions and funding agencies in the European Union and other initiatives and policies of international organisations and city authority networks. In particular, it is argued that the evaluation methods developed and applied in the TranSUrban project can form the basis for the assessment and quantification of the total socio-economic development benefits including urban regeneration, which are required to support investment appraisals under the new Cohesion Instruments, such as JESSICA (Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas). JESSICA, a new policy initiative of the European Commission supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), aims to help the authorities in the Member States of the European Union exploit financial engineering mechanisms to support investment in sustainable urban development in the context of cohesion policy, and to provide new opportunities to Managing Authorities responsible for the next generation of cohesion policy. The paper proposes a framework for policy analysis which aims to facilitate adoption of the financial engineering principles and practices of JESSICA in establishing and operating Urban Development Funds for the co-funding and implementation of Quality Transit Systems in Medium size cities.
Finally, the TranSUrban project partners and relevant bodies have signed a Declaration on ?QUALITY URBAN TRANSIT SYSTEMS, SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND URBAN REGENERATION? which calls (on the basis of the socio-economic development, cohesion and urban regeneration benefits) for investments in Quality Transit Systems to be encouraged and supported by national governments and the European Union institutions, including alternative forms of co-financing such as the new regional policy instruments and financial engineering, structural funds, the Cohesion Fund, Public-Private Partnerships, land value capture due to enhanced accessibility, joint development and trans-modal cross funding.
The TranSUrban project results can also facilitate the policy options of the recent EU Green Paper ?Towards a new culture for urban mobility? and a way forward is indicated.
Association for European Transport