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What Is The Importance Of The Theme?
Understanding the outturn traffic patterns of any URUC initiative is vital for four purposes:
• comparison with predicted impacts
• understanding related impacts
• gathering information for evaluation
• improving acceptability.
Comparison with Predicted Impacts
Prediction (Chapter 6) is a vital component of the overall strategy design process before the scheme is actually implemented in a “real world” setting. One key element of the prediction process is information on the likely scheme impacts in terms of traffic flow changes. Such information can be used in the short term to design complementary traffic management measures to deal with any adverse impacts arising from traffic rerouting.
Understanding Related Impacts
While changes traffic flows would not reveal the underlying travel behavioural changes which cause the changes, they provide a good indication of the possible sources of changes and clues as to the important system variables to be studied. Together with statistical techniques such as panel surveys and travel diary interviews (see Cambridge Systematics 1996; Stopher and Stecher, 2004), traffic flow data can provide a wealth of information for examining the impacts of road pricing on the environment (Chapter 8), economy (Chapter 9) and equity (Chapter 10).
However, it must be borne in mind that changes in traffic flows in the real world would also be affected by many simultaneous changes taking place e.g. other transport policy measures or external events such as changes in economic conditions. Therefore further analysis needs to be carried out to understand the contribution of URUC to the identified traffic changes. This has been noted in the case studies discussed in this chapter.
Gathering Information for Evaluation
Evaluation (Chapter 14) involves the consideration of outturn impacts to perform a cost benefit analysis of the scheme that has been implemented. Evaluation thus enables us to assess how successful the scheme has been. It can use outturn traffic flows as an input, but underlying behavioural changes, such as in trip diversion or suppression, will have to be inferred.
Once a scheme is implemented, it is important to monitor and compare it against the predicted levels of traffic to decide whether to modify it to overcome unacceptable side effects.
Reductions in traffic flows and in congestion due to the scheme can be used to demonstrate that some of the objectives of the scheme (e.g. congestion reduction and environmental protection) have been achieved. Robust data can be used also to dispel rumours and misperceptions and provide facts to counter objections and increase acceptability of the scheme.
No information on this theme is currently available from the case studies
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