Aktörers syn på hastighetsgränser i en region: ett arenaperspektiv

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The Swedish Parliament passed the government bill “Vision Zero and the traffic safe society” (prop. 1996/97:137) in October 1997. However, the real development of traffic safety has not been in line with the prioritized goal. The current goal for safe traffic is a reduction to 270 fatalities during the year of 2007. The only measure that realistically could be effective for reaching this goal is a reduction in speed limits combined with an effective surveillance. A more ambitious use of the speed limit system as a tool for increased traffic safety requires knowledge about how speed limits are designed and set in the existing system. The purpose of this study is to describe and analyse regional actors’ perspectives on speed limits on roads in a specific region. The point of departure is a geographical limitation, the Swedish county of Östergötland, as well as an analytical framework, the arena perspective, which together are used to define relevant actors actively involved in planning and decision-making processes. The purpose is reached by describing and analysing how these actors conceptualise their work with speed and speed limits on the roads, as well as the context in which this work takes place. The analysis clearly shows that there is a common view on priorities and goals among local politicians, administrators at the Regional Development Council, and planners at the Swedish Road Administration. This alliance gives priority to relatively high speed limits and high road capacity for car traffic. These priorities are to a large extent shared by traffic engineers at the Swedish Road Administration. The view that there is an urgent need to intensify efforts to improve traffic safety is shared by traffic safety engineers at the Swedish Road Administration and local traffic planners at the municipalities. Other actors that are interviewed in the study are not positioned in the same straight-forward manner between different transport policy priorities. The planners at the County Administrative Board describe their dependency on the Swedish Road Administration’s competence. The police authorities only consider speed and speed limits as a question of surveillance. The firms in the study are very dependent on overriding institutional “rules of the game” on the market that define the prerequisites for competition between different firms. The functioning of the road transport system and speed limits are external factors that every actor on the market has to cope with. Further research should focus on the actors’ actual everyday practice in handling issues related to speed limits, i.e. how the actors actually meet, negotiate, deal with conflicts and make decisions in the everyday planning and decision-making processes in which they take part.

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