Kollektivtrafik för lokal och regional utveckling: förutsättningar för strategiskt kollektivtrafikarbete i Dalarna och Östergötland 2000-2011

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Satu Heikkinen

This report describes a study examining the institutional conditions that have shaped public transport policy and planning at regional and local level in Sweden during the past decade. An empirically grounded understanding of these conditions, including formal and informal factors, is essential for longterm, strategic public transport policy and planning. The empirical material originated from the Swedish counties of Dalarna and Östergötland. The results show that there have been many challenges in local and regional public transport policy and planning during the time period in focus: 2000-2011. One of the crucial issues centres on the relationship between owners (local municipalities and county council) and regional public transport companies. Another important question concerns the cost models used in each county, and what incentives they have created for a long-term, strategic public transport policy and planning. A third crucial issue in the two counties concerns the capacity and/or ambition to establish and maintain an overall strategic view of public transport as a tool for local and regional development. Overall, the study provides a number of examples of challenges and drivers for more strategic, long-term public transport planning. In practice, a combination of formal and informal institutional conditions often determines the effectiveness of local and regional strategic public transport planning processes. The study is concluded by a discussion about the new public transport legislation, valid since 1 Jan 2012. In many respects, this new legislation is an attempt to solve some of the problems that characterised public transport planning in the early 2000s. One of the remaining concerns is however the relationship between regional public authorities and municipalities, who through the strong tradition of local self-government (which includes a local spatial planning monopoly) largely determine the potential for public transport to become a more functional and attractive alternative for personal travel. It remains to be seen how the new legislation functions in this respect. It is important to set out an approach for close monitoring and analysis of progress, in terms of both formal and informal institutional conditions, in strategic public transport work locally and regionally.

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