Important legal notice
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Transport - More sustainable and secure transport systems
“To help in the development of policies that can allow the requirements for efficient transport systems to be met in harmony with the need to protect environmentally sensitive areas.”

The problem

The requirements of efficient transport systems can threaten environmentally sensitive areas, and the battle between these two priorities is a common focus of public debate. There is no scientific or political consensus on the definition of a sensitive area in the context of transport policy. There is a need to develop clarity about the concept of sensitive areas, and to include sensitive urban locations in addition to the more traditional mountainous and countryside regions. EU-wide coherence on this issue is required to allow sustainable European transport policies to be developed.

ASSET  Efficient transport and environmentally sensitive areas


ASSET will explore ways of balancing the protection of environmentally sensitive areas with the provision of efficient transport systems, placing emphasis on market-based solutions.

The project will:

  • Develop an EU-wide framework of definitions and assessment methods for transport sensitive areas (TSAs)
  • Survey European TSAs and review existing policies affecting them
  • Produce common policy guidelines for the treatment of TSAs in developing transport systems

Contribution to policy development:

  • ASSET will produce standardised definitions and assessment methods for policy-makers across Europe
  • It will assist the practical implementation of current policies affecting TSAs
  • It will offer information on market-based solutions to develop new sustainable transport policies
  • Case studies to help policy-makers relate theoretical studies to real world examples

Project deliverables

  • Definitions and classification system for TSAs – October 2007
  • Report on policy instruments – June 2008
  • Report on methods to assess impacts of transport on sensitive areas – November 2008
  • Results of 10 detailed case studies – May 2009
  • Conclusions and policy guidelines – September 2009


  • Website – June 2007
  • Internet Map Server displaying results – February 2009
  • High profile dissemination workshop and final conference – September 2009
  • Presentations at international conferences – as opportunities arise
  • Publication of results in academic journals and the transport press – as results become available

Technical information

Project acronym: ASSET
Project’s official full title: Assessing Sensitiveness to Transport
Research priority: The development of tools, indicators and operational parameters for assessing sustainable transport and energy systems performance (economic, environmental and social)
Specific webpage: 
Proposal/contract no: 044274
Start date: 1 May 2007
Kick off meeting: 15 May 2007
Completion date: 30 September 2009
European Commission scientific officer: Istvan RITZ,

Name: Istituto di Studi per l’Integrazione dei Sistemi
Abbreviated name: ISIS
Address: Via Flaminia 21, 00196, Rome
Country: Italy
Tel: +39 063612920
Fax: +39 063213049


Name: Centro de Estudios y Experimentación de Obras Públicas
Abbreviated name: CEDEX
Country: Spain   

Name: Forschung und Beratung in Wirtschaft und Politik
Abbreviated name: ECOPLAN
Country: Switzerland      

Name: Institut fuer Energiewirtschaft und Rationelle Energieanwendung, University of Stuttgart
Abbreviated name: USTUTT
Country: Germany         

Name: Institute for Transport Studies – University of Leeds
Abbreviated name: UNIVLEEDS
Country: United Kingdom         

Name: Institut für Wirtschaftspolitik und Wirtschaftsforschung - Universität Karlsruhe
Abbreviated name: UNIKARL
Country: Germany

Name: National Environmental Research Institute
Abbreviated name: NERI
Country: Denmark         

Name: Centro de Investigación del Transporte TRANSyT – Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Abbreviated name: UPM
Country: Spain   

Name: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute
Abbreviated name: VTI
Country: Sweden           

Name: TRANSMAN Consulting for Transport System Management
Abbreviated name: TM
Country: Hungary          

Name: Transport Research Centre
Abbreviated name: CDV
Country: Czech Republic