Immense changes in traffic: Considerable stability in discourses. Road speed in Danish parliamentary documents 1900-2010

Publisher's full text
Anu Kristiina Siren

Research on road safety acknowledges speed as having a major impact on both the number and severity of road crashes, and this seems to have been translated into policies. However, a closer look reveals that the societal debate and political context also seem to play a major role in the way road safety policies are shaped. Yet, the knowledge on the political discourse regarding speeding and speed management is scarce. In this paper, we analyze the ways speed has been managed and legislated in transport policymaking by studying Danish parliamentary documents from 1903 through 2010.

Analyzing the material qualitatively in two phases, first, we looked for notable policy shifts in the material, and consequently identified five historical periods. Second, we analyzed these periods in more detail, and identified and analyzed four repetitive discourses about speed across them, which were as follows: speed, individual rights and responsibilities; speed and safety; speed, policy measures, and law enforcement; and speed and other societal goals. While the transport system has undergone a massive change during the last 100 years, we found a considerable stability in the discourses regarding speed policies. The themes and patterns we distinguished in the documents occurred repeatedly.

Certain discourses are strongly connected to the way speed is discussed and governed, and these are likely to emerge when speed policies are taken up in the parliamentary context. We conclude that in addition to the current prominent discourses, past discourses may have a strong influence on the way safety measures and policies are being understood and accepted.



Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) workshop in Stockholm

An open seminar and workshop in Stockholm will be held on 25-26 April 2018. The workshop deals with the use of CBA as a basis for decision-making in the public sector. The workshop is organized by, among others, Professor Jan-Eric Nilsson, VTI.



Modal shift for an environmental lift?

Investigations in Sweden and other countries suggest a shift of goods transport from road to rail and waterborne transport to reach environmental and climate objectives. VTI is leading a new project to investigate how the modal shift can contribute and what...


Automation and digitalisation are making rail competitive

Road transport is developing rapidly and its productivity has increased sharply. Rail transport, however, has not developed at the same rate. Automation and digitalisation are essential if rail freight in Europe is to survive.


New research is creating a driverless logistics chain

The research project Born to Drive has come up with a system that allows new cars to move, without a driver, from the production line out to the parking area prior to being transported elsewhere. The vision is to automate the entire logistics chain from...


VTI testing automation in EU project

VTI is leading a series of tests in a major EU project on automated driving. The first driving tests were carried out n a test track in Slovenia in December. The project will focus in part on acceptance among different groups in society, in part on...


Freight transportation on road and rail analysed

Freight transport accounts for a large proportion of the emissions, noise and congestion produced by road traffic. Transporting freight in larger but fewer lorries could reduce the problem. At the same time it might entail freight being diverted from more...


Millions for research into maritime transport and the environment

Maritime transport is a major source of emissions of harmful air pollutants and carbon dioxide. In a new project, a research team from the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) and the University of Gothenburg has received SEK 6.4...