WHAT IS TRANSPORT POLICY? AND WHY ARE POLICIES NEEDED?
Policies are ‘statements of intent’ or ‘decision making frameworks’.
Policies are often needed because:
Communities, often through the political/democratic process, make a decision that achange in course is needed, or perhaps faster progress needs to be made on the currentcourse.
The underlying issues/problems are often complex and need to be understood
There may be several alternative approaches or courses of action
Any course of action that is taken needs to gain the commitment of the community andshould reflect values that the community will accept.
To a large extent transport policy sets the context within which transport planning takes place.
In a transport context, transport policies can be viewed as a series of broad decisions on:
The choice of directions to be followed in relation to the transport system, The ‘instruments’ to be used, and The relative weight to be placed on the competing interests of:
- – Economic growth and efficiency
- – Environmental impact
- – Social service
- – Mobility
- – Safety
- – Access.
The range of policy instruments that can be applied in a transport context is quite broad andcan include:
Transport Policy should ideally be developed through careful systamatic analysis and planning. Some planning considerations include:
- – the current environment,
- – effects of current practice
- – the desired direction or outcomes to be achieved
- – steps needed to make policies work ‘on the ground’
- – interactions with other areas of policy/activity.
Policy to action Framework:
The range of policy actors is broad and can include:
- -Senior bureaucrats
- -Junior bureaucrats
- -Advocacy groups
- -Business groups or the business community
- -The general community.
DEFINING TRANSPORT PLANNING:
Transport Planning can be defined as a process designed to provide the informationnecessary to make decisions on when and where improvements should be made in thetransportation system, to promote travel and land development patterns that are inkeeping with community goals and objectives. (Wright and Ashford, 1989)
Reasons for Planning:
The costs of actions are high – Particularly when infrastructure improvements are considered, expenditure of manymillions of dollars may be involved. Likewise, failing to take action may have highcosts in terms of community health or the economic productivity of a region. Largeinvestments need to be carefully planned to ensure that they produce commensuratereturns.
Complexity – The urban system is very complex and at times the consequences of actions are notobvious. The planning process provides a mechanism for trying to work throughthat complexity and anticipate the effects of particular actions.
Time Constraints– Infrastructure cannot be delivered overnight. A major road or public transportimprovement may take 5 to 10 years or more from conception to operation and sowe need to be looking ahead to anticipate future problems and take actionaccordingly.
Shared resources– Transport competes with health, education, welfare and defense for budgetallocations. A rigorous planning process can provide the justification forallocating resources to one sector or another.