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Towards a sustainable mobility paradigm? An assessment of three policy measures
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Strategic Sustainability Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5838-7111
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 [en]
Sustainable mobility paradigm, Social Practice Theory, Mobility services, flexible parking requirements
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-240630ISBN: 978-91-7873-081-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-240630DiVA, id: diva2:1273853
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
List of papers
1. A function-oriented approach to transport planning in Sweden: Limits and possibilities from a policy perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A function-oriented approach to transport planning in Sweden: Limits and possibilities from a policy perspective
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
Keywords
Collaboration, Commitment, Four step principle, Networks, Sweden
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-219632 (URN)10.1016/j.tranpol.2017.11.006 (DOI)000425478300003 ()2-s2.0-85035136019 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20171211

Available from: 2017-12-11 Created: 2017-12-11 Last updated: 2018-12-22Bibliographically approved
2. En modern entré till mer bilfria vardagsliv i Älvsjö och Haninge?: Lägenhetsköpares resvanor, dagliga aktiviteter och förväntningar före flytt till BRF On Track och BRF Blicken, med mobilitetstjänster och låga parkeringstal.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>En modern entré till mer bilfria vardagsliv i Älvsjö och Haninge?: Lägenhetsköpares resvanor, dagliga aktiviteter och förväntningar före flytt till BRF On Track och BRF Blicken, med mobilitetstjänster och låga parkeringstal.
2018 (Swedish)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

(as published, with the title “A Modern Entrance to Car-free Everyday lives (Fredrik Johansson, Greger Henriksson)” at Polis Conference “Innovation in Transport for Sustainable Cities and Regions”, November 2018)

 

Sweden, as well as many other countries, has used minimum parking requirements since the 50s, where the city requires the developer to provide a minimum number of parking spaces. Several researchers have criticized the appropriateness of this approach, highlighting that these requirements contribute to urban sprawl, increase construction costs and car use, and that they may reduce the number of apartments being built (Shoup, 1999). In the light of these criticisms many Swedish cities, such as Stockholm, have revised their parking policies, and now use lower and more flexible parking standards for apartments. These standards vary depending on the apartments’ location, public transport supply and supply of services in the area. Furthermore, the developer can substitute a certain amount of parking for other mobility services (such as membership in a car club).

The results from a research project are presented, where two residential developments in the Stockholm region are planned according to these new more flexible principles. Interviews and surveys have been carried out with people who bought an apartment before they moved in, and a post-evaluation will be carried out when they have moved in (early autumn 2018). The presentation will mostly focus on the pre-evaluation, but some tentative results from the post-evaluation will also be presented.

 

The principal focus was to understand:

  • how and why people travel as they do (e.g. how the travel habits are intertwined with other daily activities)
  • whether people are aware of the parking situation and the provision of mobility services as well as what they think of this.
  • how it affected their decision to move to the apartments and whether and how it influences their (planned) car ownership and travel habits (i.e. do they plan to sell their car, how does this procedure look
  • the car ownership and travel habits of people moving in to the pilot houses before and after they moved in

Innovative part of project:

Several cities around the world have started a shift away from minimum parking standards and towards a more flexible approach and with the aim to car traffic. However, these new guidelines, however promising, are not thoroughly evaluated, and planners at the municipalities are worried that not enough parking spaces are built. The innovative parts of this project are twofold:

 

  • Transdisciplinary research that, apart from the researchers, include the developers and the municipality. The research project started in 2011 and the transdisciplinary research group has worked together throughout the process from choosing the developments, planning and building the apartments and finally conducting evaluations before and after people move in (fall 2018). This on-going and participatory research methodology give us deep insights
  • Pre- and post evaluations, with qualitative focus. The second innovative part of the project is the qualitative evaluation methodology. The evaluations are not merely measuring quantitative factors, but focuses more particularly on understanding how habits are entwined in peoples’ daily activities, and perceived and given meaning to by people. Furthermore, the research gives insights into the process of changing habits and on how planners and developers can facilitate and aid in such a process.

Results achieved:

 

  • Buyers’ car ownership and travel habits are quite similar to socio-demographically comparable populations
  • The distance to the commuter train and local centre is a precondition for reduced car ownership, and made some people starting to consider the need for a car
  • The mobility services and restricted number of parking spaces did not considerably affect the decision to move to the apartments.
  • People buying an apartment had limited experience with the mobility services (e.g. car club). They were positive to the mobility services, and several considered that they did not need a private car if only the mobility services functioned.
  • The developers had provided information about the mobility services throughout the entire process. Despite this, several people did not know about the mobility services, and some had misunderstood the services.
  • Retired people seemed to be a particularly interesting target group. Many retired people traveled more seldom, but still needed a car for some errands. This group was interested in the car club, both as a way to provide access to a car when needed, and to reduce mobility cost. However, they felt unsure about how the car club worked in practice and whether they would have access to a car when needed.

Lessons learned:

The results mentioned above will be complemented with a post-evaluation (autumn 2018), and some tentative results from the post-evaluation will also be presented.

Some lessons learned so far are that these apartments do not seem to attract a specific target group, but seem to be applicable to a more general public. However, young people generally have a lower car ownership (and can be encouraged to not buy a car) and retired people may find it attractive to substitute a private car for mobility services (but feel unsecure about the services).

Information is needed, but many also need to get tangible experiences (test) of the services. Moving in events may be a way for people to test the services. People are generally very positive to the approach and several informants mention that mobility services are “modern”. They also find it positive to not depend on a car, and to instead have a range of mobility options available.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2018. p. 60
Series
TRITA-ABE-RPT ; 1846
Keywords
sustainable mobility, travel habits, parking requirements, mobility services, housing, qualitative interviews, questionnaire, hållbara transporter, resvanor, parkeringstal, mobilitetstjänster, bostad, kvalitativa intervjuer, enkät
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Planning and Decision Analysis
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-240547 (URN)978-91-7873-082-7 (ISBN)
Note

QC 20181221

Available from: 2018-12-21 Created: 2018-12-21 Last updated: 2019-01-14Bibliographically approved
3. Parking Benefit Districts – The transferability of a measure to reduce car dependency to a European context
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Parking Benefit Districts – The transferability of a measure to reduce car dependency to a European context
2017 (English)In: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, ISSN 1361-9209, E-ISSN 1879-2340, Vol. 56, p. 129-140Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Parking Benefit Districts (PBDs) are a parking measure where revenues from on-street parking charges are returned to the area where they are charged, and stakeholders in the area participate in prioritizing how the revenues are to be spent. The purpose of this article is to analyse whether and how a PBD programme can be transferred to a European context, and whether it can contribute to reduced car dependency. The first part of the article provides an overview of some salient features of PBD programmes in the USA through a literature survey. This is followed by results from interviews and from a focus group with civil servants and a deputy mayor in Stockholm. The results are used to analyse the conditions for implementing a PBD programme in Stockholm, as well as for analysing how such a programme can be designed to reduce car dependency. A main conclusion is that there are no legal barriers that render a PBD programme impossible in Stockholm, even though there are some legal restrictions. We also conclude that a PBD programme might contribute to reduced car dependency in two different ways, either by increasing acceptance for parking charges or by improving the alternatives to private cars. There seem to be several aspects in a PBD programme that can contribute to increased acceptance for parking charges. However, there is no tradition of working with these principles in Sweden and the programme's redistributional effects need to be taken into account when designing the programme.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2017
Keywords
Acceptability, Mobility services, Parking Benefit District, Parking charges, Participatory budgeting
National Category
Transport Systems and Logistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-212221 (URN)10.1016/j.trd.2017.08.004 (DOI)000412377000010 ()2-s2.0-85026903620 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20170817

Available from: 2017-08-17 Created: 2017-08-17 Last updated: 2018-12-22Bibliographically approved

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