1. Policy Formulation

Policy formulation in the field of transport planning is a process to:

  • develop,
  • discuss and
  • settle the strategy and goals of a transport policy. It therefore:
  • is one of the most important parts of the planning process;
  • reflects the system of values the society has towards the status of transport, environment, etc.;
  • is a precondition for the evaluation of transport measures and transport investment.

Strategic planning is imperative to upper levels of transport policy where guidelines for lower planning levels are given. Yet it should be considered at all levels of the planning hierarchy, at regional, local and urban transport policy. Strategic transport policy includes general ideas and principles and is therefore easily based on a consensus. It should, however, include goals which are to be met in the future as well as a set of measures to achieve these goals. Further, it should comprise indicators at which the level of achievement can be measured. The more concrete (and smaller) the planning area gets, the more detailed will the transport policies become, and in the end strategic guidelines will lead into concrete and detailed measures – this is the local level where the policies mutate to implementation.

How can Policy Formulation be presented to the public?
The future development of the benefits and of the impacts of transport have to be estimated under the given environmental restrictions as well at local levels and at global level (e.g. the Kyoto protocol). It is important to develop different scenarios of possible future developments. The desirable scenarios are usually those that show distinct improvements compared with the trend scenario, which is also known as “BAU”-scenario (business as usual) (figure 5).

Future transport scenarios can be complex models, which are not easily comprehensible to the public. It is therefore essential to break the structure down into smaller parts, which are easier understandable, and to present the main contents to the public:

  • Model (Leitbild) of the transport policy for a city, community, region, etc;
  • Strategic goals of transport policy;
  • Hierarchical system of goals of transport policy;
  • Quantitative goals, e.g. the target of changes in the modal split for a reference year;
  • Recommendations for transport policy;

Detailed strategic goals and policies for different transport sectors are listed in MAESTRO (1999, Guidelines, Annex A – Annex G).

Institutionalised levels of authorities

The political, legal and institutional conditions form the framework for transport policies respectively policy formulation (and implementation). The different levels of authorities – at international, national, regional and local level (table 1) – represent a hierarchy, which has to fulfil the requirements of co-ordination and interaction (TRANSLAND 1999).

  • International (EU) – White Book on European Transport Policy.
  • National – National Transport Plans.
  • Regional – Transport Plan of a Federal State.
  • Local – Plan for regional development (comprising transport issues).

Table 1: Policy formulation at different institutionalised levels of authorities

Tools for policy formulation

The following tools are vital for the process of policy formulation (and also in implementation, see chapters further below):

  • Scenario technique
  • Participation of stakeholders of transport policy
  • Information and awareness raising
  • Project management

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Policy Formulation and the transport planning process

Result of Policy Formulation ready for implementation
Different modules have to be worked out before a transport policy can be evolved (figure 6).

Figure 6: The process ofpolicy formulation in the transport planning process (BOKU-ITS; adapted from RVS 2.1, 1984)

The steps of this process are described in the following chapters. Some tools which are essential for the process of policy formulation are included in chapters of their own (see “participation” and “awareness raising and public relations” respectively). See also MAESTRO-Methodology (MAESTRO 1999) and methodological recommendations of FATIMA (1999).

Policy Formulation and Implementation

  • Problem analysis

The problem analysis stands at the beginning of most planning processes. The results form the basis for all following steps. The main parts of the problem analysis are the:

  • formulation of objectives and goals
  • analysis of the current situation
  • analysis of deficiencies

Objectives and Goals
Figure 7 gives an overview on these three parts. The details are described below.

Goals and objectives can be seen from different points of view, depending on the stakeholders. Main goals of a transport policy might be (some examples):

  • Sustainable development of traffic;
  • Handling of traffic in a socially and environmentally friendly way;
  • Good accessibility for all users of all modes;
  • City of short distances;
  • Participation of citizens in all planning processes;

In an environmentally friendly scenario four sets of goals (principles) could be set up (table 2):

To avoid To shift To improve To support
Unnecessary traffic^Slowing down the increase in motorised traffic. Necessary traffic to other modes with comparative small negative effects (concerning passenger and freight transport). Conditions for all modes of traffic.


Supply for sustainable modes.

Road safety.

Sustainable modes like cycling and walking.

Reasonable mobility.

Table 2: Goals in an environmentally friendly scenario (BOKU-ITS)

Some examples of goals and their respective indicators are included in the following table 3, representing operators, users and the general public as stakeholders in a transport planning process (extracted and summarized from MAESTRO, 1999).

Policy Formulation and Implementation

A detailed list of goals, objectives and indicators can be found in the EU-project MAESTRO (1999, Guidelines).

A current situation can be characterised by comparison with standard values. It is useful when goals have been laid down in an earlier stage. By the extent of fulfilment of the agreed goals – measured by indicators – deficiencies as well as levels of fulfilment can be determined. Table 4 shows an example of such a catalogue of possible deficiencies.

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Goal Example of a deficiency
T raffic supply for pedestrians. Missing crossing aids.
T raffic supply for cyclists. Dangerous junctions.
T raffic supply for Public T ransport. Insufficient bus schedule.
T raffic supply for private vehicle traffic. Congestion.
Road safety. High risk sites.
Emission of exhaust gases. Heavy pollution on main roads.
Immission of noise. Exceeding of the threshold value of noise in
  residential areas.
Table 4: Possible deficiencies of a current situation (BOKU-ITS)

Indicators are being used to quantify the status of a project or the progress / failure in accordance with a set time-schedule (see also “Implementation”).Indicators

Definition: An indicator describes the quantitative or qualitative impact of the current transport situation and of transport measures. It can be used to describe the strength of deficiencies of the current situation and the performance of measures towards desirable goals etc. It should therefore have a unit to allow comparisons on an agreed level ([cars/h], concentration/m3], [numbers/km], etc.).

Application: An indicator can be used to describe the strength of deficiencies of the current situation and the performance of measures towards desirable goals etc.

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Examples of indicators and possible units shows table 5:

Indicator Unit
T raffic volume for different modes [Trips/24h]
Modal Split Modal choice [%]
Traffic volume [Cars/24h]
Accessibility of the city centre for all modes [m or min]
Road safety for private vehicle traffic, Accident rate
pedestrians and cyclists  
Demand of area for parking lots [m2]
Noise nuisance [numbers of people affected
  by dB (A)]
Exhaust gas load [t/d]
Table 5: Examples of indicators (BOKU-ITS)


The EU-project SESAME (1998) provides a selection of relevant indicators of transport, traffic, land use and relevant externalities for transport and land use planning.

  • Measures

Measures are the modules of transport (master)plans. They represent the goals and their success can be measured by indicators which were both fixed in a previous step of the policy formulation. Note that the goals that should be achieved have to be chosen before the measures are developed. Measures can be small or big, individual or global. Measures in transport can be structured in different groups.

  • Transport infrastructure (hardware)
  • Organisational transport measures (software)
  • Information and awareness raising
  • Accompanying measures outside the transport field

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Table 6 gives an overview on groups of transport measures, which can be arranged to bundles of measures mutually to correspond with the chosen scenarios.

Transport Organisational Information and Accompanying
infrastructure transport measures Awareness raising measures outside
(Hardware) (Software)   the fields of transports
Development of: Access restrictions Individual marketing to Environmental protection
    change travel behaviour measures
Footpath network Mobility management  
    Information and Land-use measures
Bicycle network Traffic calming Awareness campaigns Urban development
PT-network Speed limits Mobility events  
Road network Parking space management Public relations  
Parking facilities      
etc. Pricing policies (road pricing, fuel tax, vehicle tax, impact fees, parking charges)    
Table 6: Overview on transport measures (examples) (BOKU-ITS; extracted and summarized from MAESTRO, 1999)

The EU-project MAESTRO (1999, Guidelines) provides a list of measures distinguished to the different transport sectors (e.g. road sector, urban transport sector, etc.).

  • Scenarios and alternatives

Some EU-projects, which initially have not been allocated to this field of research, deal with the development of scenarios (POSSUM 1998 and SCENARIOS 1998). In the EU-project ASTRA (2000) the developed strategic policy assessment has been tested by means of different scenarios for analysing the long term impacts of European policy decisions. REFLEX (1999) and TRANSPRICE (2000) use different policy packages for detailed comparisons of options and for impact assessment.

This chapter describes the combining of measures to form scenarios, the main features of scenarios and their use within the process of policy formulation.

From measures to scenarios

Scenarios are a helpful tool to show and predict (future) results of alternative developments in traffic. Usually the comparison is made at present time, depending on data availability, and in the future, which includes also prognostic tools. The trend scenario (BAU) and the future developments of this scenario must be included to allow serious comparisons. Out of numerous possibilities, some extreme scenarios are chosen so that the characteristics of possible future developments evolve and can be seen clearly by all parties involved in the policy formulation process. Instead of scenarios also “alternatives” or (bundles of) “measures” can be addressed. Comparisons between different scenarios help to fix goals for the future (figure 11).
The developing of scenarios is included in most traffic projects and should definitely be part of the policy formulation process. The goals included in a scenario are normally represented by a bundle of measures. Accordingly the latter have to be set up before the scenarios can be chosen (figure 10).

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Figure 11: Different scenarios characterise different possibilities of future developments (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995).


One important aspect that must be addressed is that the future development in transport can be influenced. For example the prognoses of increasing traffic volumes in the future are often based on assumptions of “business us usual”- strategies, which normally is a “motorised-traffic- friendly” transport policy. The trend scenario can be changed into a different scenario when suitable measures are implemented consequently. There are numerous examples where consistent strategies led to more environmentally friendly inner-city traffic. Otherwise big differences in the modal split of European cities cannot be explained.

Policy Formulation and Implementation

How to use scenarios

Grouping of measures leads to scenarios. For each scenario the measures will show effects which are described by the indicators of each measure. The evaluation is made by summing up all the effects of each scenario. The last step is the ranking of the scenarios. This ranking is made according to the intended outcomes. Scenarios are not only applied to evolve a transport plan but also to specific steps of the planning process, for example to compare single measures or policy packages (EU-projects REFLEX 1999 and TRANSPRICE 2000).
Using scenarios means that certain steps have to be made before the result can be found. Figure 12 is a flow chart of the needed steps when applying the scenario technique.

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Contents of scenarios

Different effects of traffic are compared in the scenarios. The individual focus of a planning process determines the set of measures and indicators to be used in the scenarios. Transport policies which normally result in a transport masterplan must include all the basic characteristics of traffic and the resulting effects. By means of selected indicators the estimated effects for each scenario can be assessed (table 7):

• Volume of vehicle traffic. • Noise nuisance.
• Modal split. • Demand of area.
• Vehicle kilometres. • Capital costs for infrastructure.
• Exhaust gas emissions. • Operating costs for transport companies.
• Carbon dioxide emission. • Economic development.
• Road safety. • Regional development.
Table 7: Effects of traffic dealt with in the different scenarios (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)

Determination of the impacts

With the help of the indicators, which were defined at the beginning of the policy formulation process, each scenario can be described.

The impacts of each indicator in each scenario are determined and documented (shown in a matrix, with figures, etc.). In the next step the respective impacts of all the evaluated indicators can be summarised in an evaluation of each scenario. In the final step the comparison of the resulting effects of each scenario leads to the final evaluation: a ranking of the scenarios .

Evaluation tools

Different assessment tools have been developed for the evaluation of the scenarios or alternatives. Some examples of the most important are:

  • CBA – Cost Benefit Analysis
  • CEA – Cost Effectiveness Analysis
  • MCA – Multicriteria Analysis
  • SIA – Strategic Environmental Impact Assessment
  • EIA – Environmental Impact Assessment

Policy Formulation and Implementation

SIA and EIA can be included in policy formulation processes. They are evaluation procedures focused on environmental impacts and they use different evaluation tools on their own, also including CBA, CEA, MCA etc..

MAESTRO (1999) gives an overview on these conventional evaluation tools. A new impact assessment tool was designed in TENASSESS (1999).

Examples of efficiency

The assumption that efficient transport measures are less accepted by the public than non­efficient policies has been confirmed by the EU-project REFLEX (1999). The fuel savings of energy consumption reducing packages have been evaluated first (figure 14) and have been compared with the attitudes of the stakeholders afterwards. Figure 13 show this correlation of efficiency and acceptability.

Fuel saving vs. Public acceptpbility ofmeasures

Road pricing
  Park; pricinc
  Uuel + 50%
-K- Traffi c calming
  Peeeistrianisation if bicycle lanes
Reduce bus fares & new PT-cupply
  Bus priority

Policy Formulation and Implementation
Figure 13: Acceptability vs. efficiency of fuel saving measures (EU-project: REFLEX 1999)Fuel-saving in ton per year (1996)

Figure 14: Fuel savings of the ER (energy consumption reducing) packages – different scenarios for Wr. Neustadt/Austria (EU-projectREFLEX 1999)


The following examples are taken from a practical project (the planning process for the city of Salzburg in Austria) to demonstrate contents and outcomes of the scenario technique. Table 8 shows different scenarios which have been developed for the city of Salzburg (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995).

Scenario Characteristics
“Trend” Tolerance of the increasing car traffic (+21%)
“Soft mobility” Promotion of cyclists (+26%), pedestrians (+12%) and PT (+24%), some restrictions for car traffic (-2%)
“Car friendly city” Extreme promotion of car traffic (+26%), massive expansion of road networks (PT -26%)
“Environmentally friendly transport Extreme Promotion of non-motorised traffic and PT (+38%), strong restrictions for car traffic (-17%)
“Equally supporting all modes” Promotion of all modes (Car traffic +15%, PT +3%)
Table 8: Different scenarios for the city of Salzburg and their main characteristics and consequences (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)

(All figures are the differences in the numbers of trips of the respective modes in the particular scenarios in 2010 compared with the figures of 1994.)

Policy Formulation and Implementation

The trend scenario – when nothing is done – will result in the developments shown in table 9.

Increasing car ownership rate (+21%);

Rising numbers of resident population (+5%);

Rising vehicle numbers (+27%);

Rising number of commuters (+50% from 1971 to 1991 ^ continuing trend)

Increasing traffic volumes [Cars/24h] (up to 170% at access roads, up to 74% at motorways))

Changing Modal Split for the benefit of private car traffic (motorised vehicles +21%, PT -3%, cyclists +2%, pedestrians +4%).

Table 9: Developments in the trend-scenario for the city of Salzburg (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)

The following figures show more details of the effects of the different scenarios and comparisons between the different scenarios. It can be seen that the trend scenario leads to substantial environmental impacts which can be partially avoided by favouring environmentally friendly transport modes (figure 16 to figure 19). The city of Salzburg has decided to implement a kind of Soft Mobility Scenario with improvements for cyclists. This resulted in an increase of bicycle-trips to 19% in the today’s modal split of Salzburg (figure 16).

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Scenarios 2010

Scenarios 2010
Figure 16: Modal split – developments in the different scenarios for the city of Salzburg (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)

Figure 17: Exhaust gas emissions – development in the different scenarios for the city of Salzburg (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Changes in numbers of people harmed by traffic noise in Salzburg

Scenarios 2010

Policy Formulation and Implementation

Table 10: Economic development due to different scenarios for the city of Salzburg (SAMMER, ROESCHEL 1995)
Changing effect: ++ strongly increasing, + increasing, 0 neutral, – decreasing, — strongly decreasing

Policy Formulation and Implementation