The Future for Competition and Ownership in European Transport Industries
PRESTON J, University of Oxford, UK
This paper reports on work undertaken by two parallel European Commission Fourth Framework projects, SORT-IT (Strategic Organisation and Regulation of Transport- Interurban Travel) led by the University of Leeds and MINIMISE (Managing Interoperability by
This paper reports on work undertaken by two parallel European Commission Fourth Framework projects, SORT-IT (Strategic Organisation and Regulation of Transport- Interurban Travel) led by the University of Leeds and MINIMISE (Managing Interoperability by Improvements in Transport System Organisation in Europe), led by consultants Heusch/Boesefeldt, based in Aachen, Germany. These projects both looked at two tasks, Strategic 1.4.23 and 1.4.24, the objectives of which were respectively:
To develop policy measures addressing the organisation of the European transport system in order to improve the efficiency of the transport sector and thus enhance the implementation of the Common Transport Policy.
To design measures to promote interoperability and interconnection, economic efficiency and spatial co-ordination of pan European transport systems.
The work began in January 1996 and was largely completed by June 1999. The aim of this paper is to provide a personal interpretation of the findings of the two research projects. It builds on a paper presented at last year's conference that outlined some interim findings of the SORT-IT project (Beaumont and Preston, 1998), which in turn built on an earlier paper presented to the World Conference of Transport Research (Preston, 1998). The paper draws on the 8 SORT-IT and 14 MINIMISE Deliverables listed in the Appendix.
Both SORT-IT and MINIMISE focused on long-distance inter-urban travel by air, rail, road and water for passengers and freight. Although there were overlaps, SORT-IT focused mainly on task 23, which examined system organlsation, whilst MINIMISE focused mainly on task 24, which examined interoperability. The SORT-IT approach was based on over 200 interviews with key decision makers and the development of models of costs and productivity, demand, competition and market barriers so as to determine the key features of system organisation that affected transport performance. SORT-IT's approach could be characterised as an empirical, inductive methodology. The MINIMISE approach was based on an analytical framework applied to seven sectoral ease studies, so as to identify impediments to interoperability and suggest policy measures (events) suitable to overcome these impediments. The impact of key events was then evaluated. MINIMISE's approach could be characterised as being based on a rational, deductive methodology. It was hoped that the two distinct methodological approaches would complement each other.
This paper takes the following format. In section 2, the rationale for intervening in transport markets at the European level is examined, and the key milestones in European transport policy are briefly outlined. In section 3, the key findings and recommendations with respect to strategic organisation are discussed, based largely on the work of SORT- IT. Section 4 presents the key findings and recommendations with respect to interoperability, based largely on the work of MINIMISE. Lastly, section 5 identifies some policy priorities and considers the implications for future research.
Association for European Transport