Advanced

Swedish infrastructure policy and planning - conditions for sustainability

Pettersson, Fredrik LU (2014)
Abstract
Sustainability has been on the agenda for decades. Yet it is not evident that the development we are witnessing can qualify as sustainable. Departing from an understanding of the adoption of sustainability as an on-going, unfinished process the thesis explores conditions for sustainability in Swedish transport infrastructure policy and planning. The study covers decision processes of three mega-projects (the Öresund Link, the Southern Link and the Arlanda Rail Link), one regional infrastructure plan and a historical view on infrastructure policy and planning from the 1950s. The study is based on 43 qualitative interviews with people involved in infrastructure policy and planning, and official documents such as infrastructure plans and... (More)
Sustainability has been on the agenda for decades. Yet it is not evident that the development we are witnessing can qualify as sustainable. Departing from an understanding of the adoption of sustainability as an on-going, unfinished process the thesis explores conditions for sustainability in Swedish transport infrastructure policy and planning. The study covers decision processes of three mega-projects (the Öresund Link, the Southern Link and the Arlanda Rail Link), one regional infrastructure plan and a historical view on infrastructure policy and planning from the 1950s. The study is based on 43 qualitative interviews with people involved in infrastructure policy and planning, and official documents such as infrastructure plans and transport policy bills.

Based on a theoretical understanding of the linkage between infrastructure and sustainable mobility the concepts avoid, shift and improve are used to interpret the conditions for sustainability in policy and planning. The research is presented in three empirical themes: Theme I explains linkages between changes in transport infrastructure, policy, and planning practices through a transition theory perspective. This part of the study highlights how sustainability has been introduced in policy and planning in parallel to other objectives. It shows that despite demand reduction being stated as the key principle of infrastructure planning both road and rail investments keep increasing, and despite climate objectives being awarded high priority investments in transport infrastructure are not expected to lead to emission reductions.

Theme II explores in more detail how conflicts between different objectives were managed in a regional planning process. Transferring road transport to rail is framed as the solution to conflicts between environmental objectives and increasing mobility, but funding restrictions limits the viability of this option.

Theme III shows how the introduction of user fee funding models increases the complexity of the governance context. In the case of the Arlanda Link the funding model limited the possibilities of contributing to a shift to rail. In the case of the Öresund Link the funding model has played some part in contributing to a shift to rail, but since project economy relies on road transport revenue there is also a desire to increase road transport volumes

It is concluded that there is a strong normative commitment to sustainability in policy and planning objectives, but with a limited practical impact; time based accessibility is a dominant perspective; and that shift strategies are caught in a permanent funding shortage. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • PhD Gudmundsson, Henrik, Department of Transport, Technical University of Denmark
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Infrastructure, policy, planning, sustainability
pages
220 pages
publisher
Department of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, Lund university
defense location
Lecture hall D, Kemicentrum, Getingevägen 60, Lund University Faculty of Engineering
defense date
2014-03-21 09:15
external identifiers
  • Other:LUTFD2
ISBN
978-91-7473-892-6 (printed verison)
978-91-7473-891-9 (electronic version)
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
362dc1c8-3f9b-4e76-8540-e13c99666d5f (old id 4317508)
date added to LUP
2014-02-24 13:51:00
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:12
@phdthesis{362dc1c8-3f9b-4e76-8540-e13c99666d5f,
  abstract     = {Sustainability has been on the agenda for decades. Yet it is not evident that the development we are witnessing can qualify as sustainable. Departing from an understanding of the adoption of sustainability as an on-going, unfinished process the thesis explores conditions for sustainability in Swedish transport infrastructure policy and planning. The study covers decision processes of three mega-projects (the Öresund Link, the Southern Link and the Arlanda Rail Link), one regional infrastructure plan and a historical view on infrastructure policy and planning from the 1950s. The study is based on 43 qualitative interviews with people involved in infrastructure policy and planning, and official documents such as infrastructure plans and transport policy bills.<br/><br>
Based on a theoretical understanding of the linkage between infrastructure and sustainable mobility the concepts avoid, shift and improve are used to interpret the conditions for sustainability in policy and planning. The research is presented in three empirical themes: Theme I explains linkages between changes in transport infrastructure, policy, and planning practices through a transition theory perspective. This part of the study highlights how sustainability has been introduced in policy and planning in parallel to other objectives. It shows that despite demand reduction being stated as the key principle of infrastructure planning both road and rail investments keep increasing, and despite climate objectives being awarded high priority investments in transport infrastructure are not expected to lead to emission reductions. <br/><br>
Theme II explores in more detail how conflicts between different objectives were managed in a regional planning process. Transferring road transport to rail is framed as the solution to conflicts between environmental objectives and increasing mobility, but funding restrictions limits the viability of this option. <br/><br>
Theme III shows how the introduction of user fee funding models increases the complexity of the governance context. In the case of the Arlanda Link the funding model limited the possibilities of contributing to a shift to rail. In the case of the Öresund Link the funding model has played some part in contributing to a shift to rail, but since project economy relies on road transport revenue there is also a desire to increase road transport volumes <br/><br>
It is concluded that there is a strong normative commitment to sustainability in policy and planning objectives, but with a limited practical impact; time based accessibility is a dominant perspective; and that shift strategies are caught in a permanent funding shortage.},
  author       = {Pettersson, Fredrik},
  isbn         = {978-91-7473-892-6 (printed verison)},
  keyword      = {Infrastructure,policy,planning,sustainability},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {220},
  publisher    = {Department of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, Lund university},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Swedish infrastructure policy and planning - conditions for sustainability},
  year         = {2014},
}