ECMT ARCHIVES

Sustainable Urban Travel

 

Works undertaken by the Group

2006 saw the completion of the ECMT work on Implementing Sustainable Urban Travel Policies: Moving Ahead. A summary of findings of the work was presented to Ministers at their Council in Dublin in May 2006. This was the third round of ECMT examination of problems in the decision-making, institutional and policy context that make implementing sustainable policies to improve travel in cities so difficult.

With the decision of Ministers at their 2006 Dublin Council to transform the ECMT into an International Transport Forum, the Sustainable Urban Travel Steering Group completed its work and met for the last time in November 2006, a number of outputs from this work are under completion:

  • The full report from the project;
  • A Report on Organisation and Financing of Urban Travel;
  • A Report on Improving the Collection and Monitoring of Urban Travel Data.

Following is the context and activities of this project conducted from 2003 to 2006.

 

Context

From 1998 to 2001, the ECMT in co-operation with OECD carried out a project on Implementing Sustainable Urban Travel Policies. The results of this work, which was structured around a series of thematic workshops, a survey of cities and a series of national policy reviews on urban travel, were presented to Ministers at their Council in Lisbon in May 2001. The findings of the work, detailed in the Final Report of the project and the Key Messages for Ministers document, were approved by Ministers and a series of follow-up actions were proposed.

 

Mandate from Ministers

Three priorities for follow-up were agreed by Ministers in Lisbon:

  • Examining the implications of the Recommendations in the report presented in Lisbon in specific groups of countries (e.g. Central and Eastern Europe);
  • Exploring ways to improve consistency in urban data collection and monitoring;
  • Developing guidance for national Governments on how to establish a supportive policy and institutional framework and encourage sustainable travel in urban areas.

 

Sustainable Urban Travel Policies: Moving Towards Better Implementation

The principal objectives were to carry forward the findings of the work on Implementation of Sustainable Urban Travel Policies, in particular, the Key Messages for Governments agreed at the Lisbon Council in 2001. Using the Lisbon Ministerial mandate as the guidelines for the work, try to better ascertain how the recommendations on implementation can be put into action in ECMT Member and Associate countries, and to make the Key Messages more relevant and applicable in ECMT countries, thereby building capacity for implementation of sustainable urban transport policies at national and local levels.

Project Elements

1 - Workshops to "test", disseminate and promote the findings and recommendations of the work on regional/local levels

A series of workshops has been held to carry forward the recommendations of the 1998-2001 project, examining how they apply/do not apply to specific regional/national/local circumstances. The purpose of these workshops was:

  • To promote and disseminate the conclusions and recommendations of the work on implementation, in particular the Key Messages for Governments;
  • To evaluate how these implementation findings found relevance and applicability in different "macro-regions", government systems and structures and when confronted with different urban travel situations and needs.

Three workshops have been carried out as follows:

--  United States

The United Stated Department of Transportation hosted the first workshop entitled "Fostering Successful Implementation of Sustainable Urban Travel Policies, 5-7 November 2003 in Washington D.C.

The Workshop focused on how countries - in particular the United States with its federal system of government - are bridging the gap between the identification and implementation of effective sustainable urban travel options.

Participants in the workshop examined the following questions:

  • What approaches are governments employing to foster successful implementation of sustainable urban travel policies? What approaches are most relevant in a federal government context? What approaches are most relevant in a central government context?

  • How are countries coordinating national policy approaches among all levels of government and among the transportation, land use, environment and health sectors?

  • What are successful ways to encourage effective public participation, partnerships and communication?

  • How are countries establishing supportive legal and regulatory frameworks and ensuring a comprehensive pricing and fiscal structure to support sustainable transportation system?

--  Russia and other CIS Countries

The Ministry of Transport of Russia hosted a Workshop entitled "Implementing Sustainable Urban Travel Policies in Russia and Other CIS Countries", 30 September-1 October 2004 in Moscow to examine how the historical, economic, institutional, and policy-making specificities of these regions, impact the implementation of sustainable urban travel policies. With a particular focus on Russia, the workshop also highlighted experience in other CIS countries and included presentations from EU and EU accession countries as well. 

--  Japan and other Asia-Pacific Countries

The Ministry for Land, Infrastructure and Transport in Japan hosted the third workshop in the series: "Implementing Sustainable Urban Travel Policies in Japan & Other Asia-Pacific Countries", 2-3 March 2005 in Tokyo. The workshop focused on the implementation of integrated urban travel policies in Japan, with particular emphasis on public transport, and drew on other experience in Korea, Hong Kong and Australia as well.

2 - Studies on specific topics

--  Improving data quality and coherence

The 1999-2000 Survey of Cities provided the ECMT with the opportunity to collect a wide range of data on urban travel and a significant amount of information on policy-making and implementation. The problems with data availability, quality and coherency revealed in this exercise are similar to those made apparent in numerous other surveys over the years. The large number of cities involved in the ECMT-OECD survey, as well as the breadth of information covered, offered the possibility to take a particularly comprehensive, detailed look at the weaknesses in urban travel data collection and monitoring on all levels of government and among different agencies and sectors.

An expert seminar on Problems in the Collection and Monitoring of urban Travel Data was held on 27 June 2002 in Paris as a first step in defining possible action of the ECMT in collaboration with other international bodies in this area.

Using the Conclusions and Recommendations of this seminar as a guide, an expert Task Force on Improving the Collection and Monitoring of Urban Travel Data has been formed under the chairmanship of Werner Brög of the firm Socialdata to carry forward the ECMT work in this area. A study examining problems in the collection and monitoring of urban travel data is under completion.

--  Organisation and Financing of Public Transport

Also in finalisation is a study examining the implementation aspects of organisation and financing of public transport.

The study is exploring the following key questions:

  • What is the role of public authorities at different levels of government in the organisation and financing of public transport?

  • Where are there existing incoherencies/inconsistencies in the policy, institutional, legal and regulatory framework, as well as the financial and fiscal framework that make it difficult or impossible for public transport to be organised and financed in such a way that it can fulfil its role as an essential part of sustainable travel in cities?

--  National Cycling Policies

An ECMT Report on National Cycling Policies for Sustainable Urban Travel - the first ECMT examination of this topic - was presented to Ministers at their 2004 Council in Ljubljana. Ministers approved the Conclusions and Recommendations of the Report and adopted a Declaration on National Cycling Policies for Sustainable Urban Travel. The Report was published in December 2004.

3 - Implementation of Sustainable Urban Travel Policies: Guidance for Governments

The final report of this work will draw on the outcomes of the workshop series and the specific topic studies. A summary of the findings of the work was presented to Ministers at their 2006 Dublin Council and the full report is under completion.

Project Organisation and Supervision

The project was carried out by the ECMT secretariat in co-ordination with colleagues at OECD, the EC and other international bodies.  The work was supervised by the Sustainable Urban Travel Steering Group.

For further information, please contact Mary Crass