Policy-makers in the transport sector are routinely required to take decisions in the face of risk and uncertainty. Often, this can stem from a lack of information concerning particular transport problems, from the inadequacy of existing modelling tools in covering the range of variables and causal relationships involved accurately and from the difficulties inherent in the nature of contemporary policy processes themselves.
The OPTIC project emphasises the complex, socio-technical nature of the contemporary European transport system and notes its vulnerability to conditions of irreversibility, path-dependency and lock-in effects.
The focus is on how concepts of risk and uncertainty might be integrated within the planning process ex ante and ex post. Clearly, predicting unintended effects ex ante and/or detecting them ex post can only lead to improved policy-making if policy-making processes are sufficiently flexible and adaptable.
A range of issues directly relevant to European policy-making is addressed, especially in the context of medium and long-term policies concerning infrastructure investment, environmental impacts, alternative fuels and vehicle technologies. These include: causes of risk, uncertainty and unintended effects; the salience of irreversibility, path dependency and lock-in effects; and the need for comprehensive ex post monitoring and ‘adaptive’ planning processes, which together facilitate targeted remedial action.
Ex-post identification and remedies of adverse effects
Amendment to deliverable 3: Ex-post package optimisation