Attitudes Towards Transport Policy in the Light of the Results of a Long-term City Transport Policy Study



Attitudes Towards Transport Policy in the Light of the Results of a Long-term City Transport Policy Study

Authors

SAMMER G, Universit~it f'fir Bodenkultur, Austria

Description

The success of measures ill traffic policy does not only depend on the technical quality of these measures themselves but is, in democratic countries, also strongly dependent on the political acceptance of all involved parties, i.e. stakeholders. Local ci

Abstract

The success of measures ill traffic policy does not only depend on the technical quality of these measures themselves but is, in democratic countries, also strongly dependent on the political acceptance of all involved parties, i.e. stakeholders. Local citizens, politicians, local tradesmen, traffic planners and other experts, as well as representatives of the local media must be regarded as being involved in or concerned with local transport policy. While the acceptance of transport measures by most of these groups depends primarily on their attitudes towards the local transport policy, the policy makers, i.e. the politicians, also include their "perceptions" of the public's and other groups' attitudes in their decision making. These perceptions, however, may be erroneous.

Transport planning practice shows that, while in many cities, transport plans with environmentally friendly aims have been proposed and in part practically resolved, they have only slowly been implemented. Above all the omission of measures to limit private car traffic is conspicuous -- a great proportion of the measures originally proposed has not been implemented.

It is recognized that the technical and organisational instruments for implementing transport policy measures are in fact quite adequate for achieving environmentally acceptable transport solutions. The causes for the deficiencies in implementation are therefore probably due to one or more of the following:

* insufficient awareness of the problem and of public attitudes by the decision makers involved, as well as their insufficient willingness to take decisions;

* poor communication skills of many transport-planning experts, i.e. their poor powers of persuasion and their inability to create appropriate awareness;

* poor acceptance of proposed measures by representative bodies and the public;

* faulty understanding of the problems, often resulting from incorrect or biased media and other reports.

These problems in municipal transport and traffic planning are well known, but as yet there are no ready-made answers.

A long-term comparison between attitudes towards municipal traffic policies and the policies actually being put into practice could throw some light on the problem. There are few cities, however, for which such data are available. It is for this reason that studies in the City of Cu'az in Styria, Austria, are of such particular interest.

Graz has some 240,000 inhabitants and rapidly expanding suburbs with some 120,000 inhabitants more. It is well known for its environmentally friendly transport policies, which have been supported by massive public awareness-raising campaigns stretching back some 20 years. Attitudes towards the municipal transport policy have been subject of long-term studies involving all affected parties, and the resulting data base permits analysis of the long-term development of those attitudes in respect of different groups and of the public. Influences that affect the attitudes can be detected, as well as some of the principles behind the city's successful public awareness-raising campaigns

Publisher

Association for European Transport