Transport Malta's Integrated Transport Strategy Directorate is driving the process of developing a National Transport Strategy (NTS) and Transport Master Plan (TMP) covering all relevant transport modes (land, public transport, maritime, and aviation) for the short, medium and long term.
The National Transport Strategy and Transport Master Plan
Following a request by Government to develop the National Transport Strategy and Master Plan, the Integrated Transport Strategy Directorate is analysing all modes of transport (land, public transport, maritime, and aviation), for internal and international transport. This analysis will look closely at the needs of the country (both Malta and Gozo), identifying problems and seeking to understand what we expect to face in future – short, medium and long term. Through the National Transport Strategy, Government will develop a vision of where Malta wants to be in the long term, the strategic direction required to get there.
Besides being a requirement for Malta to be able to access EU structural and innovation funds (2014-2020), this exercise will be the first fully comprehensive look holistically at all transport modes, and also the inter-modality that clearly will become the future for both freight and passenger transport. Even just analysing and planning transport needs is a highly complex process and Transport Malta is working closely and intensely both with JASPERS (Joint Assistance to Support Projects in European Regions) as well as specially contracted experts from Spain and Italy (INECO/Systematica Consortium) to support the local team.
The National Transport Model
For these purposes, a National Transport Model (NTM) will be constructed to inform policy and provide an integrated transport analysis. The model will be an update of the TRIPS transport model last developed by Malta in late 1980’s and early 1990’s when formulating the Structure Plan (1992) and which is now obsolete. The new model will be used for the testing and appraisal of transport scenarios and provision of transport forecasts which will be used to refine the NTS and develop the TMP for Malta. The model will assist Transport Malta’s work by producing outputs for more detailed local or project models as input into the engineering design process, economic and financial analysis, environmental assessment, and for monitoring of current and future projects.
Existing Conditions Analysis
Transport Malta has prepared an analysis of the existing conditions and available data to holistically and objectively represent the current status of transport in Malta. Part of this process is the development of a base year model, which for transport has been pegged as 2014. The TMP is calibrated to actual observed data for 2014 and therefore the theoretical model can be ensured to be representative of actual passenger and freight movements in the base year.
Clearly transport in Malta is a critical issue, with Malta ranking in the top three of the indicators regarding mobility, pollution and the potential for improvement as reported in a 2013 attitude survey by Eurobarometer. The report notes that the use of public or alternative, non-motorised forms of transport in Malta is relatively weak.
The existing conditions and data analysis scientifically documents the transport system in Malta to extract objective information about transport conditions that the Government will seek to address in the TMP.
The use of the national transport model, developed as part of this project, enables Transport Malta to look at future trends and scenarios to better advice Government as to options relating to transport policy and investment that would support the transport needs of the islands in the short, medium and long term.
The transport model simulates two main years - 2020 and 2025 and compares the effect of a number of scenarios that could envisage for these years. The model also enables a long term trend based look at the year 2050 to enable visualisation of the "do nothing" and "do minimum" scenarios, enabling a clear understanding of what transport effects would be if no further changes are made to the supply or demand for transport.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
This process includes consultation with the various stakeholders and public and will also involve the submission of this strategy to the “Strategic Environmental Assessment” (SEA) process.
The SEA process for the National Transport Strategy and the supporting processes are as follows:
2. Scoping (with consultation feedback)
3. Environmental Report
For the period up to 22nd July 2016, Transport Malta will be carrying out a stakeholder and public consultation to discuss the Operational Measures and Potential Measures that could be taken to address the transport shortcomings identified earlier in the process.
Following this, Transport Malta will analyse each measure to prioritise this in more detail and establish required financing frameworks to be able to achieve the desired results. These will also be measured against the targets established in the National Transport Strategy.
Finally, once prioritised, the measures in the Transport Master Plan will be subjected to the Strategic Environment Assessment process outlined above.
The development of the National Transport Model is supported by EU funding under ERDF Operational Programme I 2007-2013 - Priority Axis 7, Investing in Competitiveness for a Better Quality of Life. Priority Axis 7 aims to facilitate the overall implementation of OP1 and to reinforce the administrative capacity of the public administrations concerned.