Project Summary


SPECTRUM is a project funded by the EU as part of FP5. Further information on EU funded research can be found on [ opens new window ]

Overall project aim

‘ to develop a theoretically sound framework for defining combinations of economic instruments, regulatory and physical measures in reaching the broad aims set by transport and other relevant policies’

Project outputs

The main project outputs will be as follows: Firstly, provision of a theoretically sound framework for analysing the trade-off between objectives and identifying optimal combinations of instruments to achieve them. Secondly, analysis and assessment of transport packages - providing quantified evidence on the use of economic and alternative instruments in managing urban or inter-urban capacity. This will also indicate the likely practical impacts of using economic instruments alongside or instead of other types of instrument ie physical and regulatory measures. Thirdly, generalisation - informing target users of the synthesised evidence and transferability of alternative transport management packages across the broader urban/inter-urban spectrum and their wider social impact. Finally, Guidance and recommendations on the use of economic and other measures - enabling policy makers to achieve a better balance between different, often conflicting objectives. It is anticipated that the guidance will include a conceptual tool to support decision makers in assessing the potential to use economic instruments (alongside or instead of other instruments) and what the likely impacts on the transport and other sectors may be.

Early research in SPECTRUM has been focused around specifying the overall framework. This included defining the transport environment and specifying a series of objectives. These are summarised (with sub-objectives) as follows: Economic efficiency (Strict Economic Efficiency, Environment and Health, Safety and Security) and Equity (Intragenerational equity and Intergenerational equity). In addition to these, sub objectives of Economic Development and Liveability were identified. The definitions of the objectives lend themselves to indicators that have an inherently quantified or qualitative nature. Further work has led to more specific detail on the measurement and treatment of the indicators which has practical relevance for use in the transport context. Within the SPECTRUM project they are being specifically used in the series of urban and interurban case studies to investigate the way in which economic instruments work in synergy with, or complement, or can be substituted for regulatory and physical measures. An overall assessment framework has been proposed, based on welfare economics and recommending that impacts are monetised where possible and included in a cost benefit analysis (CBA). A classification and summary description of over 100 transport instruments has been produced.

At a theoretical level, research has taken place to determine theoretically optimum packages in terms of a high level objective function, which provides a trade-off between the efficiency and equity objectives of the policy maker. The objective function has been used within the SPECTRUM case studies to assess the relative performance of package of economic and other measures. Consideration has been given to the most important barriers to optimal packages of transport measures and how optimal packages change when barriers are present.

Modelling and case studies are currently being used to investigate synergy and substitution effects, whilst a small number of interviews and questionnaires provide input from practitioners on their practical experience with economic and other instruments. Work is on-going in the project to consider the transferability of the framework to other transport contexts and accession countries and as part of this a detailed analysis of the issues concerning accession countries has been produced.

Scientific Approach

The problem that SPECTRUM is seeking to resolve is multi-dimensional, covering urban and inter-urban contexts, transport and wider policy objectives, passengers, freight, all modes, both high and low level impacts and a broad range of transport instruments. The scientific approach here has been designed to effectively structure this complex problem into three main Work Areas.

The first Work Area has been designed to develop the high level framework and this is described within the SPECTRUM deliverable D5.

Two parallel analysis and assessment Work Areas are simultaneously addressing the interurban and urban contexts specifically. These take elements from the initial design of the framework and following a review of the impacts of individual measures, form packages of instruments. Case studies then explore empirical outputs that would be produced by the packages. Assessments of the impacts then feed back to the high level framework and (together with results from a theoretical study of synergies and impact measurement guidance) form the final comprehensive framework.

Please address any further enquiries on the scope of the SPECTRUM project to the project co-ordinator, Dr Susan Grant-Muller,

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