Position Papers
Dominic Stead, Martin de Jong and Iveta Reinholde
Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands)
Published in
Submitted by
Peter Midgley, gTKP
Related theme(s)
Urban Mobility
Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA)

Urban Transport Policy Transfer in Central and Eastern Europe

European Territorial Cooperation is one important context in which partners from across the whole of Europe meet and learn from each other. Naturally, the involvement of partners from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries in this process is increasing as a consequence of the expansion of Europe, particularly the accession of ten new EU member states in 2004, and two more in 2007. Various examples can be found where CEE countries are seeking to catch up politically and economically by drawing lessons from policies in more developed countries. The uncertainties of policy-making in some of these countries have made policy transfer a particularly attractive option, as politicians see it as the quickest solution to many problems without having to reinvent the wheel. This paper focuses on international policy-transfer and lesson-drawing, looking specifically at how urban transport concepts and ideas have been transferred from Western Europe to two CEE countries. In these cases, the social and economic situations in the “borrowing” and “lending” countries are very different. So too, are the institutional frameworks. As a consequence, successful policy transfer is much more complex than mere copying or emulation. The paper argues that large-scale institutional transformations are neither feasible nor desirable to produce results that benefit cities in CEE countries. Small initiatives with straightforward, comparatively short-term outcomes and moderate budgets often work better and keep momentum going for further steps towards more sustainable urban transport policies and programs.