Kollektivtrafik som verktyg för regional utveckling: en kunskapsöversikt

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Johan Holmgren

This report aims to improve knowledge and decision making for more efficient use of public transport as a development tool. The discussion is based on the state of knowledge in public transport-related economic research with a focus on local and regional development and accessibility and mobility. The report is mostly a research review of published research, primarily from research on public transport economics and planning dimensions. The economic research on regions and cities high-lights a number of conditions described as central to economic growth in post-industrial economies. Examples of such conditions are the importance of agglomerations and clusters, differentiation and specialization, the service sectors´ growing importance for employment, regional innovation systems and last but not least, the ability of cities and regions to be attractive and offer residents good living conditions. One important implication of this is that the economic transformation towards growth and development is becoming more and more dependent on the availability of dense physical space. Therefore, cities and regions will be drivers of growth. All these conditions can be linked to opportunities for travel, transport, mobility and accessibility. This in turn means that public transport can be linked to these driving forces for economic development in terms of mobility and accessibility in general, but also more directly to the characteristics that public transport has in relation to other modes of transport. Public transport has a high capacity with a relatively limited demand for space. Therefore, public transport can be used to achieve the dense clusters which are prerequisites to exploit agglomeration economies, to realize economies of scale and contribute to favourable production conditions for the growing service sector. It is our opinion that a much stronger strategic dimension is needed in the planning of public transport. What matters are transport system development, operation and management, and how public transport should be used as a tool for regional development aimed at sustainable growth. In planning, several changes, measures and quality levels should be evaluated and applied perspectives must be wider than to focus solely on infrastructure investments. From the discussion follows that the spatial dimension is becoming increasingly important for economic development. Urban development, regional context, and how land use and transport interact should be lifted into the core of public transport planning. Regardless of the level of resources allocated to public transport, it is important that the resources are used to the best advantage. If sustainable economic development is prioritised, planning and governance of public transport should be changed in the direction discussed in the report.

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