Beslut om hastighetsgränser: prioriteringar, avvägningar och aktörer i regionala beslutsprocesser

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Jane Summerton

This report concerns the results of phase two of the research project "Speed issues on a regional level". Phase 2 describes and analyzes the concrete decision-making concerning the setting of speed limits. The study is based primarily on interviews with official representatives from the relevant authorities and private individuals as well as examination of documentation of a number of cases of contested speed limits as indicated by applications to the County Board. The study is primarily limited to the County of Östergötland but also concerns relevant relations within the broader Swedish Road Administration (SRA) region consisting of five counties, as well as relations with the national level. The results show that all participating agencies give a stronger priority to car traffic mobility than to the private citizens' perceived safety and security in cases where residents contest speed limits on specific stretches of road. It is clear from the study that SRA has dominant direct control over decisions about speed limits despite the fact that it is the County Board that takes the formal decisions on local traffic regulations. The two goals or priorities that are balanced against each other in actual decisions about changing speed limits are mobility and road safety. The interviewed individuals typically view the County Administrative Board's rejection of their applications for lowering speed limits as incomprehensible. They do not accept that their perceived security risk is not accounted for and that road mobility is prioritised by the officials. Based on the findings of the study, various issues for further research are discussed, issues that also provide input in discussions about how to develop and improve current decision making models in the context of changing speed limits. This study suggests that there is a need to develop the decision making model and the decision-making system that guides decisions on changes in speed limits. Speed limits are not currently assessed on the basis of an overall transport policy target perspective. The interview responses show that many of the officials involved, and even private citizens who have applied for reduced speed limits, call for a broader "safety and security review" process that involves more policy measures than speed limits.

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