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Marco Polo Calculator
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The European Commission Marco Polo programmes not only support trade corridor developments but take a holistic view of the relationship between transport, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and supply chains. The Marco Polo programmes are implemented through yearly calls for proposals and subsidies are available for projects aiming to shift the volume of freight transportation by road to more environmentally friendly transport modes such as rail and water. 

Marco Polo proposals are evaluated in terms of quantitative modal shift; credibility & innovation; and environmental & social benefits. The benefits are evaluated via the use of an automated external costs calculator, in the form of an Excel tool. The difference between the external costs related to the existing transport modes and the external costs related to the proposed transport modes is calculated. The calculator considers various transport modes such as road, rail, inland waterways (IWW) and short sea shipping (SSS). The external costs pertain to environmental factors such as air pollution, climate change, noise and to socio-economic factors like accidents, congestion and infrastructure per tonne-kilometre transported with the specific transport mode.
A number of Tools and Guidelines for Assessing Modal Shift, Environmental Impact & Socio-Economic Impact have been developed  in the context of MoS-Applications. The goal is assessing the environmental and socio-economic impact of intended MoS measures.

As advised in the call for proposals 2010 the modal shift calculator from the Marco Polo (MP) programme should be used (TEN-T EA 2010, p.4). This calculator is an Excel-based application and can be downloaded from the Marco Polo Homepage.

Furthermore, Appendix 3 of the MP II call for proposals in 2010 comprises examples and useful hints to complete the Excel sheet correctly (Marco Polo call 2010, pp.0). Another option is to calculate the modal shift directly. As modal shift is understood as the  change in ton kilometres when comparing the old road route with the new modally shifted route, the calculation does not necessarily require a specific tool. Appendix 3 of the MP II call for proposals in 2010 also comprises a formula for such a calculation (Marco Polo call 2010, pp.1).

The Marco Polo calculator aims to provide a direct comparison of the external cost associated with modal shift from road to rail, IWW and/or SSS. External cost here refers to estimates for environmental impacts (air quality, noise, climate change) and socio-economic impacts (accidents, congestion) applicable to each of the 27 EU member states. The creators of the Marco Polo calculator based their estimates on IMPACT[1]. The 2008 IMPACT study was commissioned by the European Commission to summarise the existing scientific knowledge with respect to the external costs of transport in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the current consensus. This valuation of externalities can be regarded as state of the art. In addition, the creators of the Marco Polo calculator obtained input values for the external cost calculations from the following studies; HEATCO (2006), CAFÉ CBA (2005), INFRAS/IWW (2003), INFRAS/ IWW (2004), UNITE (2002), TREMOVE (2007), and EX-TREMIS (2008).

The output of the calculator is considered adequate for comparative purposes. The question is whether it is adequate to produce quantitative assessments of the externalities of a specific transport service. Also level of differentiation, particularly for road and rail,

Could be improved by adding some key differentiations (e.g. load factors, diesel/electric, EURO Class).

[1] See reference IMPACT (2008)


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  Sep 2010_Tools4MoS-Applications_Version2_JW.pdf
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  How to assess modal shift for MoS applications
StratMos Tools for MoS Applications
Marco Polo Programme
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