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Congestion Reduction in Europe : Advancing Transport Efficiency (CREATE)

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CREATE (Congestion Reduction in Europe : Advancing Transport Efficiency (CREATE))

Reporting period: 2016-12-01 to 2018-05-31

Most cities face problems of high levels of road traffic congestion, air pollution and CO2 emissions, associated with population growth, economic development and increases in car ownership and use. But some Western European cities have managed to support substantial increases in GDP and urban mobility, while at the same time reducing levels of car use – by achieving ‘peak car’ – and hence taking some pressure off the road network, alleviating traffic congestion and promoting liveability.

The main objectives of CREATE are to:
• Improve our understanding and measurement of congestion and road network performance
• Identify factors that have encouraged an evolution from Car-oriented [C] (Stage 1), through Sustainable mobility [M] (Stage 2) to City as places [P] (Stage 3) transport policies, both technical/quantitative and administrative/qualitative
• Explore future mobility pressures faced by cities with growing populations, and the potential emergence of a ‘Stage 4’
• Develop guidelines and training materials for cities
An external ‘Stakeholder Engagement Group’ was set up at the start of the project, to identify wider user needs and to react to draft study outputs; a survey of the needs of our city partners was carried out at three points during the project.

Methods to measure traffic congestion and network performance were reviewed, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to develop new performance measures more appropriate for assessing cities that have introduced ‘Stage 3’ policies.

CREATE has measured changes in travel patterns over the past 50 years in our five Western European partner cites and identified potential factors which have contributed to the reductions in car use in recent decades. This has involved:
• Developing a conceptual framework and a comprehensive methodology for quantitative analysis of travel data
• Extensive data collection and harmonisation (demand-side, supply-side, contextual factors, framework conditions); where gaps were identified, then alternative approaches to accessing those data were found
• A city-level analysis of historical travel trends and factors affecting car use levels
• Developing a comprehensive harmonised, cross-city travel data base
• An extensive, comparable cross-city analysis of trends in car use and associated factors
• A cross-city analysis of traffic congestion levels, based on INRIX data and using different indicators of network performance

CREATE has explored in depth the ‘framework conditions’ in each Western European city which have affected transport policy making, delivery and public and political attitudes; including examining the various administrative and governance arrangements, legislation, funding mechanisms and political traditions. The main achievements have included:
• Developing a common research design, methodology and data collection strategy for each city.
• Conducting a qualitative analysis of the urban transport policy development processes in each of the Western European cities.
• Providing an overview of the current state of urban sustainable mobility policies and governance arrangements across the five cities.

In addition, a lighter analysis of travel trends and governance arrangements has been carried out in each of the Central/Eastern European and Middle East cities, with an emphasis on scope for evolution and barriers to change.

This work package had three distinct streams of work:
• An overview of the quantitative and qualitative findings from CREATE, with an emphasis on understanding which policies and measures worked, in different contexts
• An examination of the funding and financing mechanisms used by cities to implement different types of policy measures; and what adjustments in forecasting and appraisal methods are needed as cities switch from Stage 1 to Stage 3 policies
• The CREATE guidelines: bringing together the various learnings from the other work packages to provide cities with guidance on how to implement stage 2 and Stage 3 policies.

All the CREATE city and stakeholder partners have been interested in the question: what comes next – is there a ‘stage 4’? This has been addressed through three strands of work:
• A review of how our Western European cities expect patterns of urban mobility to develop in the future, taking into account population growth, changes in employment patterns, etc.
• An analysis of how changes in transport and non-transport technologies, and social and business practices might disrupt ‘business as usual’ scenarios
• Advice on how cities can develop future strategies in an era of uncertainty, and what this might mean for an emerging ‘stage 4’.

CREATE has placed considerable emphasis on dissemination to a wide range of interested parties via a website, newsletters, conference participation and one-to-one meetings with key stakeholders.

Capacity building and knowledge transfer has been achieved through running seminars and workshops, training sessions, study visits, and the pairing of Western European and other partner cities, through mentoring visits and advice on focussed initiatives (e.g. running the first public transport advertising campaign in Adana). In each of the Central/Eastern European and Middle East cities, CREATE has made links with a local university with an interest in embedding project findings in their teaching and research.

There has been a strong emphasis on exploitation, by encouraging take-up of CREATE methods and findings and putting in place legacy processes.
• A framework for exploring policy evolution and a basis for benchmarking cities worldwide in terms of their dominant policy perspective (WP5)
• A more critical understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different methods of measuring congestion and network performance, and how they can distort policy making – leading to fresh insights into better problem diagnosis and objective setting (WPs 2 and 3)
• Providing policy makers with much better insights into the respective roles of policy, demography and economy in affecting levels of car use (WP3); and helping policy makers to better understand the key role of legislation, administration and funding arrangements in delivering sustainable/liveable policies (WP4)
• Providing policy makers with insights and tools to address future uncertainties and city mobility challenges (WP6)
• Insights into ways of funding and financing sustainable/liveable policies and pointers to ways in which forecasting and appraisal methods need to be adapted (WP5)
• Developing guidelines (WP5) and a project summary (W7) to assist cities in applying CREATE principles
• Providing a strong legacy, both in terms of documentation (25 deliverables) and links to SUMP development and to wider city initiatives in Africa, China, Japan and South America (WP7).