"REFIT":Refinement and test of sustainability indicators and tools with regard to European Transport policies

Verbesserung und Test von Nachhaltigkeitsindikatoren und -strategien vor dem Hintergrund der EU Verkehrspolitik 


Sixth Framework Programme Priority 8 - Policy-orientated Research

Applicant: DG TREN, Directorate General for Energy and Transport (European Commission)

Time Schedule: April 2006 - November 2008

REFIT Homepage
Deliverables/Interim Reports
Final Report


Project consortium

The REFIT Project consortium consists of 6 partners based in Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Belgium. The project work is divided into 7 work packages. The project co-ordination is carried out by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk Onderzoek (TNO), Delft.


  • Nederlandse Organisatie voor Toegepast Natuurwetenschappelijk onderzoek, Netherlands
  • Trasporti e territorio, Italy
  • Transport & Mobiliteit Leuven, Belgium
  • Institutio di Studi per l'Integrazione dei Sistemi, Italy
  • Institute for Regional Research , University of Kiel, Germany
  • Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Energiewirtschaft und Rationelle Energieanwendung, Germany

General project objectives

REFIT aims at:

  1. Providing clear linkages between tools and expertise on the one hand and European transport policy objectives and indicators on the other hand.
  2. Completing the modelling tool box that can provide data for sustainability indicators
  3. Providing a rigorous assessment of policy packages, using the developed tool box


The TRANSFORUM project is currently showing that much work has been done on methods and model development in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth framework of the European Commission and the combinations of models may be capable to execute complex ex-ante evaluations of European transport policies. Three of the most advanced models on the European scale are the SCENES-model, a multimodal network based transport model that simulates passenger and freight transport at European scale, the TREMOVE model that models environmental impact of transport policies and the CGEurope-model, a computable general equilibrium model that models economic impacts of transport policies. In addition the Commission has initiated a new network modelling study TRANS-TOOLS which aims at including amongst others the new member states (this project recently started and it is unsure whether results can be applied in full detail in REFIT).

The combination of these three models, as we propose in REFIT, offers a particular strong quantitative tool that is able to cover many of the aspects needed to evaluate most of the transport policies and measures proposed in the White Paper. There have been previous projects where the three models were successfully lined together (SCENES and TREMOVE in the TREMOVE project for DG ENV, SCENES and CGEurope in the IASON research project during the Fifth Framework Programme) and in addition these three models are the modelling core of the mid-term evaluation of the 'White Paper on transport: time to decide' which will take place during the year 2005.

However, during these previous projects and during the development of the project proposal of the mid-term evaluation of the white paper, several gaps in the expertise and tools to quantify important indicators occurred. That is why REFIT will not only match these three models with sustainability indicators but REFIT will also complete the existing modelling tool box by enhancing the current models with expertise built up during previous EU-projects like for example IASON (spatial economic impacts), EXTERN-E (external impacts) and IMAGINE (noise), TRANS-TOOLS (networks, TEN's level). A first outline of the themes on which REFIT will develop evaluation modules on top of, or within, the existing framework of SCENES/TREMOVE/CGEUROPE are:

  • regional development impacts of accessibility, particularly for peripheral regions and countries,
  • fair competition between modes and the extent to which external costs are internalised,
  • (un)employment; the contribution of individual transport policies to local economies in terms of regional job growth,
  • health impacts of noise and air-pollution and quality of life for citizens
  • transport safety and risk reduction,
  • equity issues and income distribution impacts of mobility.

The selection of these focus indicators is based on 1) the knowledge gaps experienced by the consortium while writing the project proposal that will support the mid-term evaluation of the White Paper on transport and 2) the themes and indicators that were assigned to be of priority interest by a group of policy Makers during a workshop organised by the SUMMA project.

Developing tools implies also testing and validating them, TRANS-TOOLS will have a role in this process. In addition REFIT will use the developed tool box to make a Strategic Sustainability Assessment of various policy packages of priority interest, in terms of the relevant policy targets for Europe. Sensitivity analysis will be applied to validate the analytical soundness of the tool box.


Contribution of the Institute for Regional Research, University of Kiel (CAU)

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Johannes Bröcker

Project staff: Nils Schneekloth, Artem Korzhenevych (project research)

The Institute for Regional Research is work package leader of work package 3 dealing with the economic aspects of sustainability. The Institute for Regional research will deal with the tasks of developing the economic evaluation module, the methodology to forecast the impacts of transport policies on the spatial distribution of economic activity in Europe and extending the CGEurope model by incorporating an imperfect labour market in the model.

The impacts on spatial distribution of economic activity in Europe
Transport policies affect the spatial distribution of economic activity due to their impact on transport costs. CGE analysis is a suitable up to date approach to cover the direct and indirect effects through different channels on the demand and supply side within one single theoretically consistent framework. The theoretical background is the general equilibrium theory of modern microeconomics. The present version of CGEurope has a static character as well as it is unable to take factor movements induced by transport cost changes into account. It is therefore intended to extend the present framework by a methodological innovation, which is to set up a dynamic version of CGEurope. In this dynamic version it is possible to compare time paths of different policy scenarios rather than only one-shot comparisons of states of the economy. The theoretical background for modelling dynamics is the theory of investment with forward-looking agents.

Forecasting the impacts on regional unemployment in Europe
An important indicator needed to evaluate the economic and social impact of transport policy is unemployment. It is vital to study this impact on a regional scale for two regions: first, unemployment rates vary widely between regions within the EU and there is therefore more concern about unemployment effects in some regions than in others; second, the effects of transport policies on unemployment differ between regions, depending on the spatial distribution of cost changes and on regional labour market conditions. Regional employment an unemployment effects will also be studied by the CGEurope model. The present version of CGEurope does not allow for modelling endogenous reactions of unemployment. The unemployment rate is by now regarded as a natural rate and the model covers the long term reaction of the labour market, keeping the natural rate constant. Hence, only wages, not unemployment react on labour demand changes induced by transport policies. This approach has to be changed within this project by introducing sluggish wage adjustment into the model, allowing for wage as well as employment/unemployment responses within this framework.