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A function-oriented approach to transport planning in Sweden: Limits and possibilities from a policy perspective
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Strategic Sustainability Studies.
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Urban Planning and Environment, Urban and Regional Studies. WSP, Sweden.
2018 (English)In: Transport Policy, ISSN 0967-070X, E-ISSN 1879-310X, Vol. 63, p. 30-38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on sustainability and transport has paid increasing attention to how the purpose of the transport system is framed, often arguing that there is a need to shift the focus of transport planning and policy from the physical infrastructure to mobility and accessibility. Sweden's national transport policy also has elements of this shift, most noticeable in the so-called four step principle, where the possibility to affect the need for transport and choice of transport mode (step 1) and the possibility to use existing infrastructure more efficiently (step 2) should be considered before large reconstructions (step 3) or new infrastructure (step 4) is chosen as the solution to transport related problems. The aim of this article is to study whether the practical implications of Swedish national transport policy are consistent with the ambitions expressed in the four step principle, with particular focus on the Swedish Transport Administration's (STA) mandate to finance different measures. Based on an analysis of policy documents and semi-structured interviews the main finding of the analysis is that many step 1 and 2 measures do not fall within the financial mandate of the STA. The implementation of the four step principle therefore depends on the commitment among other actors than the STA to implement step 1 and 2 measures. Furthermore, it is concluded that the limits to the STA mandate has consequences for the ability of the STA to engage in collaboration with the actors on which it depends, and that strengthening the STA's mandate to finance a desired function rather than physical infrastructure is likely to increase commitment among other stakeholders to work with these measures. Such a step would imply a different regulatory framework than the current, more in line with ”the sustainable mobility paradigm” (Banister 2008) and could contribute to a good accessibility to different amenities at the same time as negative environmental impacts are reduced.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 63, p. 30-38
Keywords [en]
Collaboration, Commitment, Four step principle, Networks, Sweden
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219632DOI: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2017.11.006ISI: 000425478300003Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85035136019OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-219632DiVA, id: diva2:1164328
Note

QC 20171211

Available from: 2017-12-11 Created: 2017-12-11 Last updated: 2018-12-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Towards a sustainable mobility paradigm? An assessment of three policy measures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards a sustainable mobility paradigm? An assessment of three policy measures
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Transportation and mobility are important components in the organisation and structure of people´s daily activities, but the transport sector has considerable environmental impacts, e.g. greenhouse gas emissions and land use. Governance of the sector is difficult, as there is an ongoing a shift in governance structures away from hierarchical towards more collaborative governance. Given these challenges, it may be necessary to shift the focus from mobility to accessibility and to adopt a new paradigm in transport planning.

This thesis critically investigates what a paradigm shift might mean for the Swedish national and municipal transport, housing and parking planning context and examines what a Social Practice Theory framework could contribute in analysing such a paradigm shift. This is done by investigating three different policies that are arguably in line with a shift in planning paradigms.

All three policy measures open up decision making to different stakeholders or even citizens, reflecting a shift in governance, and all highlight the need to shift the focus from physical infrastructure to accessibility, through collaboration with a range of stakeholders. However, in each case, current conditions and practices render a transition more difficult.

The Swedish Transport Administration (STA) states the importance of reducing the need to travel and of using existing infrastructure more efficiently, and stipulates that these types of measures should be considered before new infrastructure investments. However, the STA has a limited mandate to finance these measures, resulting in ambiguous signals and frustration among regional STA officials. This thesis shows that making the STA’s mandate more function-oriented would facilitate a transition in line with the sustainable mobility paradigm.

Another policy measure discussed in the thesis is a shift from minimum parking requirements, where developers are required to build a minimum number of parking spaces, to flexible parking requirements, where the number of parking spaces provided depends on the local context and where other mobility services may replace the need for physical parking spaces. In this thesis, people who have bought apartments in developments with flexible parking requirements were surveyed in order to understand their practices and how they perceive and plan to use the mobility services provided.

The feasibility of using a new parking management tool, Parking Benefit Districts, in a European context (Stockholm, Sweden) was assessed. In a Parking Benefit Districts system, parking charges are implemented, increased or extended to curb parking, with the revenues being returned to the area where the charges are imposed and with citizens, or other stakeholders, participating in decisions on how to use the revenues. The underlying intention is to increase acceptance of parking charges, as on-street parking charges may be deemed necessary by planners, but are unpopular among citizens and other stakeholders. This thesis shows that there are no legal barriers to implementing a Parking Benefit District programme in Sweden, but there are some limitations on how revenues can be used. Moreover, Sweden does not have this planning tradition and the programme may not be perceived as legitimate. Another important issue is equity and participation, e.g. it is important to consider who to include and how to include them.

Overall, the policy measures studied involve a shift away from an infrastructure-centred to a people-centred approach. However, other planning practices and institutions may push in different directions. This thesis shows that a Social Practice Theory framework can be useful as a lens through which researchers and policymakers view possible changes needed to achieve a sustainable mobility paradigm.

Abstract [sv]

Transport och mobilitet är viktiga komponenter i organiseringen och strukturen av människors dagliga aktiviteter. Transportsektorn ger emellertid upphov till stor miljöpåverkan, exempelvis växthusgasutsläpp och markanvändning. Governance av sektorn är komplicerad och det har skett ett skifte från en hierarkisk styrning mot en större delaktighet och samarbete mellan olika aktörer. Givet dessa utmaningar kan det finnas behov av att flytta fokus från att palnera för rörlighet till tillgänglighet samt att ändra planeringsparadigmer.

Syftet med avhandlingen är dels att kritiskt undersöka vad ett paradigmskifte skulle kunna innebära i det svenska nationella och kommunala transport-, bostads- och parkeringsplaneringssammanhanget, dels att undersöka hur ett Social Practice Theory ramverk skulle kunna bidra till förståelsen av ett sådant paradigmskifte. För att göra detta har avhandlingen undersökt tre policys som är i linje med ett paradigmskifte.

Alla policys som diskuteras i avhandlingen öppnar upp beslutsfattande för olika aktörer eller medborgare. Vidare lyfter alla diskuterade strategier fram behovet av att flytta fokus från fysisk infrastruktur till tillgänglighet och att samarbete mellan olika intressenter är nödvändigt. I varje fall finns dock förhållanden och praktiker som försvårar omställningen. Trafikverket framhåller exempelvis vikten av att minska behovet av att resa och av att använda befintlig infrastruktur mer effektivt, och de menar att dessa åtgärder bör övervägas innan nya infrastrukturinvesteringar. Samtidigt har Trafikverket begränsat mandat att finansiera dessa åtgärder, vilket ger upphov till tvetydiga signaler och frustration bland regionala planerare på Trafikverket. Papper I argumenterar för att ett mer funktionsorienterat mandat skulle kunna underlätta en ett paradigmskifte i linje med en ’sustainable mobility paradigm’.

I paper II diskuteras en förändring från miniminorm för parkeringsplatser vid bostäder, där byggherrarna måste bygga minst ett visst antal parkeringsplatser, till flexibla parkeringstal, där antal parkeringsplatser som ska byggas beror på den lokala kontexten och där andra mobilitetstjänster kan ersätta behovet av parkeringsplatser. I detta paper studeras personer som har köpt lägenheter i flerbostadshus med flexibla parkeringstal. Målet är att förstå dessa människors praktiker och hur de använder och uppfattar de mobilitetstjänster som tillhandahålls.

I papper III diskuteras möjligheten att använda ett nytt parkeringsverktyg, Parking Benefit Districts, i en europeisk kontext. Parkering Benefit Districts är ett koncept där parkeringsavgifter på gatan införs, höjs eller utökas. Intäkterna från parkeringsavgifterna återförs därefter till det område där de togs ut, och medborgare, eller andra intressenter i området, deltar sedan i beslutet om hur intäkterna ska användas. Syftet med denna åtgärd har traditionellt varit att öka acceptansen för parkeringsavgifter, eftersom parkeringsavgifter på gatan kan anses vara fördelaktiga av planerare, men impopulära bland medborgare och andra intressenter. Paper III nämner i analysen att det inte finns några legala hinder för att genomföra ett Parking Benefit District program i Sverige, men det finns vissa begränsningar för hur intäkterna kan användas. Planerare i Stockholms stad hävdar dock att Sverige inte har den här planeringstraditionen och påpekar att ett sådant åtgärd kanske inte uppfattas som legitim. En annan viktig fråga att diskutera är jämlikhet och deltagande. Det finns en risk att vissa grupper i samhället inte deltar i samma utsträckning och det är därför viktigt att överväga vem som ska involveras samt hur det ska ske.

I slutet diskuteras resultaten i relation till forskningsfrågorna. Alla de studerade policys skiftar fokus från fysisk infrastruktur till människors behov. Samtidigt finns det andra planerings praktiker och institutioner som drar samhällsutvecklingen i motsatt riktning. I avhandlingen diskuteras även hur ett Social Practice ramverk kan hjälpa både forskare och beslutsfattare att se de förändringar som behövs för att nå en ’sustainable mobility paradigm’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2019. p. 34
Series
TRITA-ABE-DLT ; 191
Keywords
Sustainable mobility paradigm, Social Practice Theory, Mobility services, flexible parking requirements
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-240630 (URN)978-91-7873-081-0 (ISBN)
Presentation
2019-02-07, Ocean and Pacific, Teknikringen 10b, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
VINNOVASwedish Transport Administration
Note

QC 20181228

Available from: 2018-12-28 Created: 2018-12-22 Last updated: 2019-01-03Bibliographically approved

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