European transport: Problems and policies

European transport: Problems and policies

Rook reviews most concentrated in the USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. The theme is a time-honoured one: not enough capacity in the major hubs, u...

307KB Sizes 2 Downloads 20 Views

Rook reviews most concentrated in the USA, Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. The theme is a time-honoured one: not enough capacity in the major hubs, unused capacity at second-level airports. The author’s discussion shows very well the way in which liberalization and the growth of competition has accentuated the acute shortage of capacity at the major hubs, competition for leading to fierce operating ‘slots’ that favours the big, incumbent carriers and makes entry by newcomers almost impossible. The apparent inability to provide new facilities, whether additional or greenfield projects, on any adequate scale over the past two decades is discussed in some detail. Not the least of the airport developer’s worries concerns the environmental impacts; a matter that is dealt with at somewhat greater length in The book a concluding chapter. ends with a summary of the author’s conclusions that derive from the previous discussions already noted. The book is well illustrated with maps and diagrams and has a good bibliography that covers the modern literature well, but omits much earlier material where many of the current problems were originally set out. In a slim volume trying to cover a wide field, the author’s selection is probably justified. The price may suit the core, but one suspects the student periphery might prefer a cheaper paperback edition. It is certainly a book that anyone interested in the subject should read. whether expert or layman.

London

Kenneth Sealy School of Economics and Political Science London, UK

European Transport: Problems and Policies Theo Kiriazidis Avebury Aldershot (1994) ix + I27pp ~32.50 ISRN I X5628 614 2 Transport has been the Cinderella of European policy. Despite the prominence accorded to the sector by its inclusion. along with agriculture, as an area for the development of a common policy in the Treaty of Rome, there has been nothing like the development of a coherent set of policies found, for better or worse. in agriculture, or in arcas

added later such as regional policy. This lack of a coherent approach at the European level is mirrored in the lack of good comprehensive treatments of the sector in the literature. Now interest is growing again at the policy level with the recognition of the lack of progress made towards a genuine common market in transport and an emphasis on trans-European networks. It is appropriate therefore to expect a resurgence of academic interest in transport at the European level. One of the difficulties encountered by any author of a book on transport is that different parts of the transport sector have been the preserve of different disciplines. Economists have been mainly concerned with the market, investment and regulation. pricing, Geographers have had a major interest in the development of networks and accessibility issues. Policy studies analysts have found it a fruitful sector for work given the heavy involvement of governments at all levels as both providers and regulators, leading to inter-governmental tensions where there is competition (as found in the aviation sector). Engineers, with interests in building and improving transport systems, have shown an interest in all three of these areas as well as their own more technical interests. Transport planners have roots in all of these areas with an emphasis on the modelling and evaluation of transport systems. This makes it difficult to develop a text which can both blend the necessary elements of each towards an understanding of the sector as a whole and satisfy each group’s desire for the necessary technical rigour to make it a useful book for either teaching or as the base for further advanced study. The whole exercise is complicated by the important differences, technical, economic and policy related, between the different modes of transport. What Theo Kiriazidis has done in this short book is to adopt a straightforward mode-by-mode account of the devclopment of policy. There are seven main covering air, chapters road, rail, maritime, inland waterway, multi-modal transport and transport infrastructure. These are covered to differing degrees of depth and comprehensiveness. Air transport gets 26 pages of text, inland waterways just four. There is no discussion of ferries; the road chapter concentrates on road haulage and car with no mention of bus; apart from brief

137 references the long involvement of the EU with transport infrastructure appraisal and finance is ignored in favour of a detailed description of policies being developed towards transEuropean networks. More seriously the book has no real underlying theoretical structure to which each mode can be related - it tends to follow the rather disjointed approach which EU policy making towards transport has taken, treating each mode independently and reactively. Any attempt to deal with the transport sector as a whole really needs a substantial overview of the economic, technical and policy issues (and constraints) so that the reader can see how the modes fit together and how they relate to the overall importance of transport in the economy. This is not just a question of size relative to GDP or total employment, but of transport’s role in the competitiveness-cohesion nexus raised in the Maastricht Treaty and carried forward in the 1993 Delors White Paper on Growth Competitiveness and Employment. There is a number of specific irritations in the book. There are three double-page maps relating to road, rail and inland waterway networks. Each has contrasting lines with no explanation of what these represent - in fact the rail network map is actually only one of the high-speed rail network and the road network is essentially motorways. Why is there no airport map‘? This would reveal some interesting issues concerning comparative network developments. It is also rather frustrating that a 1994 published book refers always to the EC rather than EU and omits most of Sweden and virtually all of Finland from the maps. Much more use could be made of maps to illustrate the arguments. The second major niggle is that the title is ‘European Transport’ when it should be ‘ECIEU Transport’ on the basis of the covcragc. Apart from the need to incorporate the three new 1995 EU entrants, transport policy has also had to deal with the interesting problems of non-members affecting member states. Thus Switzerland has always had a pivotal role in land transport and the conflict in the former Yugoslavia has thrown parts of the international policy into turmoil. In addition some of the real challenges have to be faced in dealing with the changes in Central and Eastern Europe. Third. the presentation is sloppy.

Book reviews

138

There are some awful proof-reading errors - one paragraph required three readings to get any sense out of it. Any book dealing with a complex issue, which is to be useful as a course text, needs an index. Perhaps it is a reflection of the inadequacies of transport policy in the EU that it is difficult to bring all these together in a single text. I feel the main error is to try a pure mode-by-mode approach and allow the book to be driven by the inconsistencies of policy development in each mode. There is some useful pulling together of documentation mode by mode in this book, but as a treatment of the sector as a whole it leaves much to be desired and at over 2.5~ per page is not good value for money. Roger Vickerman Centre for European, Regional and Transport Economics University of Kent at Canterbury, UK

Transport Systems, Policy and Planning: a Geographic Approach Rodney Tolley and Brian Turton Longmans (1995) 242 pp, U0.99 paperback ISBN 0 582 00562 0

This book provides a comprehensive and timely review of many issues in the field of transport geography, drawing both on previous work in the discipline and from many other fields. As the authors indicate, it is at a level appropriate to second- and third-year taking transport undergraduates options, and to those studying for professional examinations, such as the Chartered Institute of Transport. Jargon is avoided, and the text may be understood by a fairly wide audience. Part One provides a basic framework, covering patterns of demand (both passenger and freight), transport systems and networks, and transport and spatial structures (the last introducing some of the familiar geographical concepts, such as those of von Thiinen and Burgess). Part Two, ‘spatial systems’, provides an up-to-date review of transport systems in differing contexts, including interadvanced national/intercontinental, industrial nations (primarily western Europe and North America), planned socialist economies (including recent

changes) and developing countries. Urban and rural differences receive more detailed coverage in Part Three, drawing on a wide range of countries. Finally, Part Four examines environmental effects of transport, social impacts (with particular emphasis on safety) and current policy issues. Throughout the book, numerous illustrations (maps/diagrams, and photographs) are provided, together with ‘boxes’ discussing selected examples in more detail (although occasionally these have the effect of disrupting the flow of the main text for the reader seeking to absorb what the authors are Extensive references offer). provided, both in each chapter and in a comprehensive bibliography at the end of the book. The policy viewpoint is very clearly one favouring a strong critique of the role of the motor car, and the negative impacts (through pollution, energy use and safety risks) of a high level of mobility. Views such as those presented by John Whitelegg, Meyer Hillman and John Adams are cited frequently, especially in the last part. While not inconsistent with the reviewer’s own views, one might argue that a general undergraduate text should give a wider range of arguments: those using this book for teaching purposes may wish to suggest some additional texts to illustrate other standpoints. Numerous specific estimates for environmental impacts of transport are given in Chapter 10, but not always with specific sources. At times, an uncritical quotation of other published work is given where could be interpretations differing For example, Dimitriou’s offered. critique of the land-use transportation study technique is cited (p 207), suggesting that it is inappropriate for developing countries. Clearly, if the car-orientated approach within such studies found in Britain and North America were followed, this would be the case. However, provided that relevant modes arc covered (such as local forms of paratransit, and non-motorized means), one can argue that the LUTS to approach is more appropriate developing countries than Britain. If population and land-use change are considered as the driving forces, then the rapid urban growth in almost all developing country cities makes the underlying methodology more appropriate than in Britain with its static or declining urban populations.

Relatively little space is given over to modelling techniques. While the fashion for excessive concentration on this aspect has now passed, a fuller coverage than the very limited description of the gravity model and LUTS approach would be helpful. Likewise, in terms of economic theory, some general concepts such as price elasticity and the use of consumer surplus in evaluation could be introduced (COBA for road scheme evaluation is mentioned, but largely in the context of its omission of environmental factors, rather than the basic method employed). A very wide range of international examples is used, with Brian Turton’s extensive experience in Zimbabwe providing many cases from Africa. An element of humour is also welcome of for example, in the description emergency taxi travel in Harare (pp 193-195). This can also be recommended as an interesting experience (to be tried once!) from the reviewer’s own observation. However, one should bear in mind that Zimbabwe’s conditions are in many respects far better than those in other sub-Saharan countries, despite the strong contrast such an example provides with Europe. While the range of worldwide examples is generally comprehensive, relatively little coverage is given of South America. Most examples and statistics are as up to date as could be expected, given the timescale involved in producing a book of this sort. However, the view of urban transport demand as highly peaked, at any rate in Britain, may now be less valid (an example from Northampton on p 169 is from the mid-1960s). This has tended to ‘flatten out’ (especially between the peaks), both on public transport (as journey to work trips have been lost to the car, but pensioner concessionary travel has grown in relative importance), and in car use (as demand has grown more rapidly at times when road space is available). The foregoing comments should not be taken as unduly critical: clearly, in a work of such comprehensive nature it would be impossible to satisfy the predilections of all customers. The text will be of great value to those teaching transport geography and by current standards it is very reasonably priced.

Peter White University of Westminster London, UK