Financial barriers (Mobility & Transport)

In the case of urban mobility measures, it is important to differentiate between operating costs and up-front investment costs (e.g. infrastructure work, rolling stock acquisition, or the launch of soft measures). The two types of costs are typically met from different funding sources.

Very often, the main focus is on covering the high up-front investment costs, while coverage for maintenance costs is less secure. For this reason, many demonstration measures fail over time — primarily because maintenance and further development costs must be covered from the tight core budgets of municipalities. It is therefore important to create a viable funding model for both investment and running costs. 

Uncertain cost-effectiveness

Depending on whether a demonstration project is demonstrating a concept or technology in an early demonstration phase, or is implementing a well-proved concept or technology, its cost-effectiveness may vary greatly.

In the case of larger mobility projects, a cost-benefit analysis is compulsory. As external costs and benefits are very significant in the context of mobility, their evaluation is a basic element in a cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, in the case of private motorised transport, external costs are often inadequately covered by various taxes, while in the case of walking, cycling and public transport the opposite is true, and external benefits tend to be greatly underestimated.

As experience has shown, the real value of a cost-benefit analysis for decision makers is in determining the optimal level of public co-funding and/or in selecting projects for funding from a pool of alternatives with similar technical content. Apart from these two values, cost-benefit analyses are rarely considered to be the leading decision-making support tool for sustainable urban mobility planning.

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