The last two decades have seen a substantial change in the basic philosophy underlying
European transportation policy. Due to the Commission’s efforts and due to
supporting jurisdiction by the European Court of Justice the dominant approach to
transportation policy has become far more market oriented. This change of approach
in transportation policy will only be successful and sustainable if the problem of
acceptability will be solved. For researchers this entails that their perspective
must change from the normative to the positive aspects of transportation policy-making.
This paper reports work undertaken within research project TIPP (Transportation Institutions
in the Policy Process) funded by the European Commission. In this work it has been
attempted to develop a theoretical structure that merges the positive economic theory
of regulation with cognitive psychology and traffic psychology. This theoretical
structure offers a matrix of actors and factors that are seen to be essential for
success or failure in the implementation of a certain measure of transport policy.
Four case studies were carried out in order to check the plausibility of this approach.
The case studies are the failure of the German Railway (Deutsche Bahn AG) to introduce
a new tariff system in passenger transport in the period 2002-2003, the attempt to
introduce a toll for HGVs in Germany, the failure to operate a private tolled motorway
in Hungary (M1/M15), the failure to introduce a road-pricing system in the densely
populated Randstad area in the Netherlands.