Congestion Reduction in Europe: Advancing Transport Efficiency (CREATE)
CREATE is a Pan European programme where Vectos worked with European partners to produce guidelines for reducing traffic congestion. It was one of the first projects to address the task Tackling Urban Road Congestion, taking a long-term view of how this could be achieved, especially in cities experiencing rapid growth in car ownership and use. These guidelines will become the benchmark for the movement of both people and goods in European urban areas in the coming years.
Traffic congestion is estimated to cost EU member states 100 billion Euros annually and by 2050 is forecast to cost half as much again. However, some major EU cities are managing to buck the rising car ownership trend whilst importantly maintaining economic growth.
The opportunity for CREATE was to take the experiences and successes of participant cities where car ownership was (and still is) declining and deploy best-in-class anti-congestion strategies to participant city locations who were experiencing rising ownership and attendant congestion.
The objective was to reduce road congestion in European cities by encouraging a switch from cars to sustainable transport. There were three main strands to the work:
- Investigating how the Western European city partners had all managed to reduce car use, despite rising incomes, by estimating the effectiveness of different policy measures and the political, governance and legislative structures that had made this possible.
- Advising our Eastern European cities on how to accelerate their move from car growth to sustainable mobility, and how to make business cases for investment using EBRD and EIB funding.
- Addressing the challenges faced by cities of a forecasted rapid increase in population and a densification of mobility, which threatens to overload all types of transport systems.
In this regard CREATE worked with five cities where car ownership and use was declining: London, Paris, Copenhagen, Vienna and Berlin; and with five cities where it had continued to increase rapidly: Bucharest, Adana, Skopje, Tallinn and Amman.
If cities can build on the intelligence learned from CREATE and develop their own bespoke strategies that avoid the mistakes of the past, the impact of the CREATE project will continue to be very significant and lead to cleaner and more sustainable living environments.
Whilst urban traffic congestion is a widely used term it is often poorly understood and certainly inconsistently measured. But despite these shortcomings there is a vast resource of under-utilised quality traffic data that has been amassed over the last 20 or so years.
It is from a detailed analysis of the best of this historical data that CREATE assessed the efficacy of previously adopted policy approaches to identify those that have been most successful combating urban congestion in a given context.
The output from the analysis phase was reviewed and sense-checked with key policy makers and a range of other selected stakeholders and experts in the field of urban transport. This gave rise to a set of policy approaches that have not only worked well in the past but also the context in which they were successful. The aim was that these approaches, policies and contexts should be replicable in participant city locations where car ownership is increasing and more widely thereafter.
The project also developed a future vision for the participant cities in which car use was declining. It assessed the potential of new technologies and changes in business and social practices to help better manage mobility in cities and reduce the need for travel among all sections of society.
Vectos’ role in CREATE was to synthesise the findings and isolate the common European patterns, policies and processes to give support to other cities. We developed business and investment models for implementing best practice solutions in those cities where car use and congestion continued to increase rapidly.
Through analysis of policies and trends from the last 50 years, the CREATE guidelines provide unique insight into which policies and measures have successfully reduced car ownership and congestion in Western European cities over recent years (London, Paris, Copenhagen, Vienna, Berlin). This unique insight is being transferred to the cities of Bucharest, Tallinn, and Skopje in order to rapidly build capacity amongst the decision makers and urban planners.