Activity 3.1:Prepare an analysis of problems and opportunities

GLOSSARY TERMS

By Admin Eltis / Updated: 11 Nov 2015

Rationaleinfo-icon

Before deciding on future policies, it is essential to know where you currently stand. In urban transport and mobilityinfo-icon, this knowledge is often very fragmented and incomplete. Like pieces of a puzzle, datainfo-icon and information need to be put together in order to describe what is going on, and to name the related problems. This analysis is crucial in helping to define appropriate policies and provides the necessary baselineinfo-icon against which progress can be measured. The analysis should be as comprehensive as possible, but also needs to be manageable with the given resources. The analysis should also include the resilience of the urban transport systems (i.e. their capacity to absorb stressors or shocks) towards both expected and unexpected events (e.g. energy shortage, natural disaster), especially if they affect long-term decisions.

 

Aims

  • Provide a quantified review of the current status of important mobility and transport developments (e.g. planning documents, traffic situation, accessibilityinfo-icon of services and facilities, traffic safety, public transport services) both for passengers and freight in the urban agglomeration.
  • Prepare a list of deficits, problems and opportunities that relate to urban transport and mobility (e.g. accessibility to services, traffic safety, climate protection, land-use patterns and resilience towards expected and unexpected events).
  • Develop a better understanding of what you really need to know to enhance your planning.
  • Identify data availability and quality, accessibility and secure coverage of data requirements for your plan.
  • Prepare a baseline analysis to identify and prioritise key problems to be addressed by the plan.

 

Tasks

  • Identify and analyse the key planning documents, procedures and policies relevant to your local planning process. Where useful, the planning process can build on available plans and strategies.
  • Identify all available data and assess their quality and accessibility and secure coverage of data requirements for your Sustainable Urban Mobility Planinfo-icon. Keep in mind data requirements e.g. for scenarioinfo-icon building, measureinfo-icon selection and monitoringinfo-icon and evaluationinfo-icon (> link to Activity 8.1 Arrange for monitoring and evaluation).
  • Retrieve available data, synthesise their content and collect additional data to fill important gaps in your data. Data can be collected by a variety of means. For example, trends in the number of pedestrians can be determined by annual counts at key points in the city (a methodinfo-icon used by the City of York, UK, for example), or by carrying out a household survey. The choice of method depends on the resources available, the size of the city and the level of reliability required.
  • For cities that lack sufficient data: Collect a minimum set of data on urban transport and mobility as well as on other areas that influence your Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. This data set needs to fit the local context to enable an honest status analysis.
  • Select suitable indicators that describe the status of transport and mobility in your city, focused on key policyinfo-icon objectives (avoid creating “data graveyards”). For example, if a key objectiveinfo-icon is to improve road safety, then clearly data on the number and severity of crashes is required; some data on the level of exposure of road users to accidents would be desirable (e.g. is the number of pedestrians stable, increasing or falling – if it is falling, this, not safer roads, may explain a reduced number of crashes involving pedestrians).
  • Identify possible expected and unexpected events that would require strengthening the resilience of the urban transport system. Events that can affect long-term decisions (e.g. shortage of fossil fuels) should be addressed in the planning process. Short term events (e.g. smog, floods) are better addressed in operational plans. 
  • Together with key stakeholders, prepare a baseline analysis to identify and prioritise key problems to be addressed by your plan. As far as possible, try to quantify the current status of mobility and transport.

 

Activities beyond essential requirements

  • Draw on key actor knowledge to obtain an insight into sectoral policy documents (e.g. through interviews, meetings).
  • Provide measured data both on the accessibility of services and facilities (e.g. 500 people have access to a pharmacy within 500 metres) and on traffic (e.g. vehicle kilometres). An underlying principle of your Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan could be to aim for better access with less traffic.

 

Timing and coordination

  • Start from the outset. The conclusions of this task are important input for the scenario building (> Activity 3.2) and the whole planning process.

 

Checklist

Suitable indicators selected to describe the status.

All necessary data made available by the actors concerned. If sufficient data is not available, start with what you have, but draft a plan on how to close the data gaps.

Review and analysis concluded. Baseline scenario developed against which progress can be measured.
Key problems to be addressed by the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan prioritised.

 

For more information

England: LTP3 guidance on clarifying goals and specifying problems/challenges

The English guidance on Local Transport Plan (LTP) development acknowledges that each urban agglomeration has very specific needs with regard to the status analysis. However, it provides hints on what needs to be taken into consideration for this task:

 

Clarifying Goals

England expects local authorities to build an LTP on a framework informed by the national goals and challenges, the relevant regional objectives and any additional local goals. Local goals should be in the form of desired outcomes, and should look outside the transport agenda to wider corporate priorities, such as in the LTP area’s Sustainable Community Strategyinfo-icon(ies). Transport will be vital in ensuring that people have access to key services. The approach of clarifying LTP goals is a critical first step before prioritising which transport measures will be pursued. Setting goals ensures consistency throughout the LTP.

Having specified a set of goals, it will be helpful to choose a set of performance indicators and targets which enable progress towards these goals to be monitored and incentivised.

 

Specifying Problems/Challenges

Having identified high-level goals, LTPs should consider the evidence on specific challenges or problems that relate to these goals. Each local authorityinfo-icon faces a unique set of challenges and developing an understanding of current and future transport issues – and how these fit with the wider corporate agenda – will be pivotal to the LTP. These challenges will drive the development and delivery of an LTP. Challenges and the options for achieving them may relate not only to possible changes in transport services but also to the need to maintain and secure best use of existing services and infrastructure. Authorities should identify problems and priorities on the basis of clear evidence and data, for example on:

  • demographic and socio-economic trends
  • environmental issues
  • economic circumstances
  • existing transport infrastructure capacity
  • travel patterns and trip rates
  • connectivity of existing networks
  • stakeholderinfo-icon views

 Authorities should use available data not only to identify challenges but to consider which priorities to address within the timescale of the plan. By carefully analysing local transport problems and challenges, it will be easier to identify opportunities and come up with innovative solutions. Tools such as Accession [accessibility planning software] will be useful in identifying an area’s accessibility needs.

Source: Department for Transport, Guidance on Local Transport Plans, July 2009 available from: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110509101621/http:/www.dft.g... /

 

For more information

Guidance on indicators for sustainable transport and planning

DISTILLATE Project, UK, Improved Indicators for Sustainable Transport and Planning, Deliverable C1 Sustainable Transport Indicators: Selection and Use, www.its.leeds.ac.uk/projects/distillate/outputs/reports.php

 

Guidance on methodology for the baseline review

BUSTRIP Project 2007, Moving sustainably – Guide to Sustainable Urban Transport Plans, http://www.movingsustainably.net/

 

Examples

Helsinki, Finland: Status analysis in the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011)

The Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011) is a long-term strategic plan that considers the transport system as a whole. The preparation of the plan began with a thorough status analysis of the operating environmentinfo-icon of the Helsinki region transport system (population, jobs etc.), the state of the transport system and people’s travel behaviour, as well as the environmental impacts of traffic. The status analysis was complemented by a traffic survey and several studies. Major challenges and threats to the development of the transport system were identified based on the status analysis.

 

Turku, Finland: Baseline review methodology in BUSTRIP project

Turku carried out a self-assessmentinfo-icon and organised a peer review exercise which helped local planners to better understand the state of the city and the challenges lying ahead. A local team collected, collated and drew conclusions on basic data from existing sources. The team developed a self-assessment report of 108 pages which was condensed into a summary of 17 pages for the use of internal communication and dissemination of the results to stakeholders and the media. The report was also submitted to a peer review team, which finally crystallised Turku’s urban mobility challenges.

More info: 

Helsinki, Finland: Status analysis in the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011)

The Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011) is a long-term strategic plan that considers the transport system as a whole. It includes all transport modes and is also an import part of the land use, housing and transport co-operation of the Helsinki region’s 14 municipalities.

The preparation of HLJ 2011 began with a current status analysis. The analysis took a comprehensive look at the operating environmentinfo-icon of the Helsinki region transport system (population, jobs, etc.), the state of the transport system and people’s travel behaviour, as well as the environmental impacts of traffic. A large scale traffic survey, conducted in 2007–2008 in close connection with the preparation of HLJ 2011, played an important role in the status analysis. The Helsinki metropolitan commuting area traffic survey included four studies: a travel behaviour survey, an origin-destination survey of passenger cars, an origin-destination survey of public transport, and a park and ride survey. Although the targetinfo-icon area of HLJ 2011 covers 14 municipalities, the commuting area is larger and thus the survey area covered as many as 37 municipalities in and around the Helsinki region and the target population was 1.5 million inhabitants. The survey was also used to provide an extensive database for updating, upgrading and expanding the traffic forecast model system in use.

In addition to the traffic surveys, altogether 15 different sub-studies were done as part of HLJ 2011 in 2008-2010. The sub-studies were used in the preparation process of HLJ 2011 and they also contributed to the status analysis. The studies included, for example, a land-use and rail network study, a vehicular traffic network study, a public transport strategyinfo-icon, a study on walking and cycling, a park and ride strategy, a study on mobilityinfo-icon management, a freight traffic study and a congestion charge study (conducted by the Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications).

Major challenges and threats to the development of the transport system were identified based on the status analysis. In order to realise the key goals of developing the transport system, HLJ 2011 had to solve or minimise the problems recognised. The key goals and thus also the major challenges related to six different sectors: economic efficiency, functionality, environmental, social, and land use related problems. Urban sprawl was one of the major causes for several challenges, and would, if it continued, reduce the chances of achieving many of the key goals of HLJ 2011.

Website: www.hsl.fi/EN /hlj2011

Source: Mette Granberg and Johanna Vilkuna, City of Helsinki

Turku, Finland: Baseline review method-ology in BUSTRIP project

“The status analysis took more time and effort than we expected, but it certainly was one of the most fruitful parts of the planning process”, says Mikko Laaksonen who edited the report in Turku. He works as a promoter of walking and cycling in the city planning office. The team collected, collated and drew conclusions on basic datainfo-icon under each Sustainable Urban Mobility Planinfo-icon benchmark from sources that were already available from the city’s own files, the Regional Council of Southwest Finland and research by the Turku School of Economics and the University of Turku.

Laaksonen says the results of the self-assessmentinfo-icon report weren’t unexpected. “We found a lot of gaps, as we had expected. But it was surprising that the situation was moving in a more non-sustainable direction than we thought. Almost all the drivers showed that the city, in sailing terms, would soon hit the rocks if we stayed on this track.”

The self-assessment report of 108 pages was condensed into a summary of 17 pages for the use of internal communication and dissemination of the results to stakeholders and the media.

The full report was sent to the peer review team, which carried on building the picture of the state of sustainable transport. The peer review finally crystallised the challenges. They were: planning that favours hypermarkets, urban sprawl and a lack of regional cooperation due to competition among neighbouring municipalities.

A positive finding was the fact that Turku has a relatively compact structure and every possibility to further develop sustainable urban transport. At the time of the report, about 50 percent of the trips were made by sustainable modes. “The city needs to recognise these strengths. If Turku followed its strategies, it would be a model city of sustainable transport. Implementation should be as ambitious as the strategies”.

The self-assessment and the peer review both helped those involved to understand the state of the city and the challenges lying ahead.

Source: BUSTRIP Project 2007, Moving sustainably – Guide to Sustainable Urban Transport Plans, www.movingsustainably.net/