What is KonSULT?

Despite the large number of policy measures available to urban transport planners, and the several years over which many of them have been implemented, it is difficult to find consistent and comprehensive empirical evidence of their performance. As a result, cities are often unaware of the full range of measures available to them, and may as a result develop less effective strategies.

This process of option generation has been highlighted in several studies as one of the weaknesses of urban transport policy formulation, resulting in:

  • an over-reliance on preconceived ideas;
  • a tendency to focus on supply-side measures such as infrastructure and management rather than demand-side measures such as regulation and pricing;
  • lack of awareness of the wider range of policy measures available;
  • lack of evidence of the performance of those measures in other contexts;
  • lack of a formalised approach for option generation;
  • lack of expertise in designing a given policy measure to meet local needs;
  • failure to appraise the resulting options appropriately in terms of effectiveness, acceptability and value for money.

KonSULT is designed to help overcome these weaknesses. It aims to assist policy makers, professionals and interest groups to understand the challenges of achieving sustainability in urban transport, and to identify appropriate policy measures and packages. It also provides detailed information on individual policy measures which will be of relevance to professionals, researchers and students. It has been developed since 2001 with support from the European Commission, the UK Department for Transport, the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, and is regularly updated to reflect the results of recent research.

The current version has been developed under the European Commission’s CH4LLENGE project to help cities identify the most effective policy measures and packages as input to their Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans. That project has also produced a Manual on Measure Selection - Selecting the most effective packages of measures for Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans – which provides more detail on the potential uses of KonSULT.

It contains three levels of information:

Measure option generator: the Measure Option Generator allows cities quickly to identify those policy measures which may be of particular value in their context. Users specify their context, including their objectives and strategy, and the Measure Option Generator provides suggestions at three levels:

  • a list of the measures contained in the Policy Guidebook ranked in terms of their potential to contribute to the city’s needs;
  • for a specific measure chosen by the user, a list of the measures contained in the Policy Guidebook ranked in terms of their ability to complement that measure;
  • for a shortlist of up to ten measures chosen by the user, a list of packages of those measures ranked in terms of their potential to contribute to the city’s needs.

For each suggested policy measure, a link is provided to the more detailed information on it in the Policy Guidebook, thus enabling the user to assess more fully whether it would be applicable to their needs. The Measure Option Generator has been under development since 2008. A fuller outline is given in the Introductory Page to the Measure Option Generator.

Policy Guidebook: the Policy Guidebook provides information on each of the policy measures available to urban transport planners. It provides a description of the measure, a first principles assessment of its ability to contribute to a range of objectives, problems and strategies, which are described more fully through links to the Decision-Maker’s Guidebook, and compares that assessment with the results of a series of case studies. The Policy Guidebook originated in 2001 with two pilot policy measures, and has now been expanded to 64 policy measures with over 200 case studies. A fuller outline is given in the Introductory Page to the Policy Guidebook.

Decision-Makers’ Guidebook: the Decision-Makers’ Guidebook presents the challenges facing those responsible for urban transport policy, offers a logical structure for tackling those challenges, and provides guidance on each stage in that logical structure. In particular it offers a fuller explanation of each of the concepts used in the Policy Guidebook. It was published in 2005, and was based on a four year research programme under the European Commission’s City of Tomorrow programme. A fuller outline is given in the Introductory Page to the Decision-Makers’ Guidebook. It complements the European Commission's more recent guidance on the development of Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans.