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An insight into policy transfer processes within an EU project and implications for future project design


  • O’Dolan, Catriona
  • Rye, Tom


Policy transfer is the process of applying a policy, or knowledge that informs a policy, from one setting to another. It is considered to be an effective way for cities, municipalities or countries to learn from one another, and is documented by many (e.g. Evans, 2009; Common, 2001) as a process that is being used with increasing frequency. The European Union (EU) provides the ideal platform for knowledge exchange between member states and its various funding streams for multi-national projects, especially so. To date there has been little research into the effectiveness of EU-funded projects for facilitating such policy transfer and in particular which particular processes within them were most effective at delivering the transfer. This paper examines five different processes used within the EU-funded Active Access project, which aimed to encourage cycling and especially walking for short trips, walking audits, stakeholder exchange workshop, shadowing, analysis of best practice and overall participation within the project. The processes are analysed under a framework for policy transfer (Dolowitz and Marsh, 2000). Quantitative and qualitative analysis of questionnaires completed by the project partners focuses on how effective those involved perceived the different methods of transfer. The results presented in the paper illustrate that some methods of policy transfer are perceived to be more effective in delivering the same message than others. Insight is also given with regard to the cultural barriers that exist for such knowledge transfer. The implications for the design of future multi-national projects in order to maximise effective policy transfer, is discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • O’Dolan, Catriona & Rye, Tom, 2012. "An insight into policy transfer processes within an EU project and implications for future project design," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 273-283.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:trapol:v:24:y:2012:i:c:p:273-283 DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2012.09.006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin De Jong & Jurian Edelenbos, 2007. "An Insider's Look into Policy Transfer in Transnational Expert Networks," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(5), pages 687-706, June.
    2. Marsden, Greg & Stead, Dominic, 2011. "Policy transfer and learning in the field of transport: A review of concepts and evidence," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 492-500, May.
    3. Timms, Paul, 2011. "Urban transport policy transfer: "bottom-up" and "top-down" perspectives," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 513-521, May.
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