Transport in cities and regions
The session was dedicated to presenting new tools for transport policy making. In particular, proposing a shift from the classical transport statistics metrics towards new types of indicators about accessibility to assist policy makers and urban planning. Until now, accessibility measures measured the impacts of investments rather than mobility needs. Since the concept of accessibility is directly correlated with the proximity of travel destinations, a benchmark for proximity is used by taking a radius of the surrounding destinations from a specific geographical point as a reference. From these two quantities, the performance of the transport network can be derived as a ratio between the population accessible within a certain travel time and the number of destinations within a proximity range. This simple approach requires data on population at grid cell level and road network data, but as a bottom-up approach allows a high degree of computability at various scales: grid level, urban centres, functional urban areas, NUTS3, NUTS2 regions and even country aggregates.
The introductory remarks by Rolf Diemer, Head of Unit at DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, stressed the importance of having precise and reliable quantitative tools for transport policy decisions, considering that externalities from transport sector amount to 7% of EU GDP. Precise planning and tools are also required to ensure the highest degree of transport efficiency and achieve the existing objectives in transport decarbonisation.
Paolo Bolsi, Policy Analyst at DG Regional and Urban Affairs at the European Commission, introduced the main concepts and results of the 2019 working paper by Dijkstra, Poelman and Ackermans about Road Transport Performance in Europe using the new accessibility framework.
Tatiana Samsonova, Policy Analyst at the International Transport Forum, presented the work done by applying the accessibility framework at city level and the main results observed when comparing cities' performance across modes and at different destinations, showing that this framework can help policy makers identify what their city is lacking and plan accordingly.
Aris Christodolou from the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has shown how to integrate the effects of congestion at different times of the day, showing how cities' accessibility changes due to traffic, using the cities of Brussels, Krakow and Seville.
Alexander Lembcke, Policy Analyst at the OECD, has shown the gains in terms of GDP, employment and regional population driven by improvements in accessibility, combined with the analysis of who the main beneficiaries of accessibility are in cities and how to consider accessibility in urban planning decisions.
Take away message
The session has shown the importance of the topic of accessibility and how the flexibility of this new approach also allows for different types of analyses, including the effect of congestion in accessibility, analyses of the performance of transport modes like public transport, cars and buses, various types of ranges and travel times, various types of destinations and provides policy insight at different levels of governance.
The accessibility framework can be combined with data from various sources to represent both the temporal and the spatial dimensions of congestion in detail. Transport performance is suitable to compare congestion in different cities. – Aris Christodoulou, JRC
The access framework can help policy makers identify what their city is lacking and plan accordingly. The Urban Access Framework has already been applied in other regions, with more to come. – Tatiana Samsonova, ITF/OECD
The Urban Access Framework developed by the EC, the ITF and the OECD highlights the need to consider transport planning jointly with land-use and urban development. Relying only on the performance of the transport network to provide accessibility cannot close existing gaps and deepen existing socio-economic divides. – Alexander Lembcke, OECD