Report numberRA-MOW-2011-007
TitleQuality Management in Local Mobility Policymaking: a multi-stakeholder approach to excellence
SubtitleDevelopment of an assessment instrument for municipal authorities in Flanders
AuthorsHans Tormans
Davy Janssens
Tom Brijs
Geert Wets
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Mobility and Public Works, track Traffic Safety 2007-2011
Number of pages104
Document languageEnglish
Partner(s)Universiteit Hasselt
Work packageOther: Policy organisation ans monitoring

It is clear that road safety constitutes one of the major threats to human health in our present-day society. Over the last decades, ambitious targets have been set and numerous policy initiatives and action plans have been drawn up at diverse administrative levels. Policymakers and officials at the lower end of the policy chain – i.e. the municipal level – play a crucial part in the process of bringing these ambitions into practice. Yet, practice shows that mobility policymaking at a local (municipal) level in Flanders is often of a deplorable level. In many local administrations, mobility policymaking is of an ad hoc nature, despite the well-intended efforts of motivated and dedicated officials.


The innovative instrument that has been generated during the course of this research aims at giving local authorities (city level) the opportunity to self-assess their organization and performances with respect to mobility policymaking in a fairly simple and straightforward fashion. Institutional, acceptability, financial, information, regulatory and process barriers exist which obstruct the design of highly qualitative sustainable urban transport and land use systems. The most predominant barriers are poor policy integration and coordination, counterproductive institutional roles, unsupportive regulatory frameworks, weaknesses in pricing, poor data quality and quantity, limited public support, lack of political resolve, and difficulties in policy formulation. Many of the issues addressed here are interrelated with the management principles put forward in the Total Quality Management (TQM) approach. The TQM philosophy is therefore adopted as a framework for the development of this tool. According to the principles of TQM, analyzing the direct results of local mobility policymaking (the effects of the policy as can be observed in practice) is necessary, but not sufficient. It is evenly essential to gain a good overview of the ongoing processes (‘behind the scenes’) within the local road safety administration.


To facilitate this (self-)assessment, a conceptual policy cycle for local road safety administrations has been drawn up, visualizing the essential strategic policy domains within any local mobility administration. In addition, a methodology for positioning the performances of local road safety authorities on the diverse strategic domains of action on a ladder of development has been developed, allowing for horizontal (spatial) and vertical (temporal) comparisons.


The primary goals of this tool are to gain thorough insight into current municipal mobility policymaking practices in Flanders, to point out the potential advantages of TQM for local authorities, to enable municipal policymakers to approach their day-to-day activities from a more integral perspective, to ameliorate the collaboration between stakeholders and to provide them with comprehensive support and guidance. It is believed that this instrument will offer new insights into municipal mobility management and may create a breeding ground for further professionalization of local mobility policymaking in the Flemish context.


Objectively monitoring performances is not common practice in Flemish (mobility) policymaking today. Preliminary results confirm this assumption. Apart from result-analysis and self-evaluation, it has become apparent that soft road safety policy measures (e.g. sensitization and education) are to a large extent left unaccounted for by municipal administrations. Municipal authorities seem to be doing rather well at identifying users’ and residents’ needs. A major issue in current mobility policymaking practices in Flanders is the missing framework for structural data-collection and administration.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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