Addressing Transport Challenges – Part 3 Instruments (or Interventions)
In the two previous articles – Part 1 Strategy and Part 2 Analysis – I described two of four steps in addressing transport challenges (S.A.I.D.). In this article I will outline the third step – Instruments or Interventions.
Once you have determined a strategy and desired outcomes, and analysed transport challenges, the next step is to identify the most appropriate instrument or intervention or package to address the problem.
Usually there is more than one way to address any transport challenge. Different options have different contributions, key stakeholders, resourcing and risk profiles.
A package of interventions may be the most appropriate, for example in addressing a road safety speeding problem, the most effective approach will be a combination of engineering (check speed limits), education (advertising), and enforcement (speed camera). See article: Emerging fourth ‘E’ in improving road safety
The main types of instruments are:
- Advocacy – such as influencing behaviour through public education
- Collaboration – in partnership with key stakeholders
- Economic – using taxpayer funds or taxing powers as incentive
- Service Delivery – such as provision of public transport services
- Legal – legislation and regulations
One of the mistakes I often see is a focus on a preferred approach …“this is how we have always done this …” You should always consider alternative approaches, for example if we have a local traffic congestion problem:
- minor infrastructure upgrade, such as provide a lane widening at an intersection where there is a bottleneck
- non-infrastructure option, such as increasing parking pricing to deter traffic to a congested area
- integrating transport and lan use, such as encouraging mixed use development at a transport hub
- use transport technology, such as variable speed limits to reduce traffic flow breakdown
- staging project implementation, particularly when funds are not currently available, and progress some low cost components
Choosing a Preferred Instrument
You should establish criteria for selecting a preferred intervention early on, before getting to option evaluation, as this allows a consistent approach to option comparison.
Criteria used will involve a combination of technical application and political practicality – some questions to help guide your choice of instrument include:
- Efficient: will the instrument be cost-effective?
- Effective: will the instrument get the job done?
- Appropriate: is this a reasonable way of proceeding?
- Equity: are the consequences likely to be fair and reasonable?
- Doable: can the instrument be readily delivered?
- Scalable: can the instrument adapt to changing circumstances (expanded, contracted)?
- instruments are means to address transport challenges and achieve desired outcomes
- there are five basic types: advocacy, collaboration, economic, delivery, legal
- selecting the most appropriate package of instruments is difficult and involves trade-offs
- criteria to evaluate instruments will involve a combination of technical application and political practicality.
This is a 4 part series
See other articles in this series:
- Addressing Transport Challenges – Part 1 Strategy
- Addressing Transport Challenges – Part 2 Analysis
- Addressing Transport Challenges – Part 4 Decisions
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