Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Globalisation, e-economy, and transport

There is a significant difference in transportation behaviour and policy between Europe and North America; North America is more focused on economic growth and energy supply, whereas Europe is more concerned with environmental issues in a broader spatial context. Consequently, the North-American orientation is more towards technological solutions, whereas the attention in Europe is more focused on policy interventions for behavioural change, supported by technology. Clearly, in a transatlantic setting of sustainable transport policy there is not only a need for comparative study on policy achievements, but also a need for solid data and information systems (including eco-efficiency in the transport sector), through which comparative research can be undertaken.

The objectives of the Stella project were:

- to create a platform for the exchange of scientific information and experience as well as to facilitate research cooperation among European and North-American transportation researchers and experts;
- to foster a better understanding of the common and different causes and backgrounds of mobility behaviour in both Europe and North America, particularly with a view to the impacts of transportation policy, land-use policy, environmental policy, and economic policy;
- to shape feasible conditions for applied comparative research in both Europe and North America regarding behavioural motives, innovative strategies and policy assessment in the transportation sector with a view to the achievement of sustainable transport.

The Stella Focus Groups 2002-2004 activities, together with the complementary Stella activities (Policy Issues Forum in 2003, STELLA Video Conference in 2004, Topical User Meeting in 2004, Stella completion meeting in 2005, and the continuous Stella web-discussions) have explored and identified novel policy research issues and policy research questions on sustainable transport. Moreover, a questionnaire circulated among all participants of the Stella network allowed us to define the peculiar policy research issues, which were deemed important by each focus group. The related outcomes have highlighted the potential and the need for new policy research directions on issues of interest for transatlantic cooperation. In general terms, they can be summarised under three main categories of policy issues: strategic policy issues, social well-being and human behaviour issues, and policy handles and policy research. Subsequent network activity would have to address four major research themes which may act as pillars for future transatlantic transport research collaboration:

- life style, spatial mobility and transport externalities;
- open markets, technological change and (inter)modal logistics in transport systems;
- performance and barriers in transport systems;
- policies, institutions and regulatory systems in the transport market.

Finally, three mutually complementary and strategic action lines are proposed for concrete and operational transatlantic collaborative modes in the transport and communications field:

- establishment of effective network initiatives;
- creation of joint information bases;
- implementation of joint research collaborations.

Reported by

Economic & Social Institute
De Boelelaan 1105
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