Management by good intentions and best wishes: on sustainability, tourism and transport investment planning in Sweden

Download

The Swedish government, despite a possible value conflict with the ambitious Swedish climate mitigation objectives, has stated that tourism development is an important basis for economic growth, not least in rural areas. This paper explores how the Swedish policy making system, and ambitious environmental and traffic safety objectives, influence transport investment planning at the regional level. Our point of reference for evaluating the system is the work with good regulatory policy advocated by the OECD and used by the EU. The main finding is that the Swedish government and parliament lack a strategic “whole-of-government approach” to sustainable transport development. There are many principles and objectives with good intentions established at the national level that are incompatible in practice. The conflicts that follow are handed down to lower government levels to solve with best wishes. The problem with this type of management is the “tragedy of the commons.” Without clear guidance, individuals (and administrations) acting independently and rationally based on self-interests are likely to behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group (society).

Making choices based on a more holistic assessment of impacts and benefits and costs could help to prevent this kind of outcome. However, from the data collected it appears that many investments are undertaken without being assessed due to the lack of government instructions on regulatory impact assessment. Other investments are undertaken despite having a negative net benefit. One reason for this is specific instructions given by the government that points to certain investments. Another reason seems to be the Vision Zero policy established by the parliament. In recent years this policy has been a strong driver of improvements of the road system. Seen from an environmental perspective, the unwanted consequence of the priorities made is that state roads become faster and safer and thereby a more attractive alternative to other travel modes. Seen from a regional development and tourism perspective, this may have diverted resources away from investments that would have yielded a greater benefit to the tourism industry in “rural” areas.

MEET US


19-20
Oct

ERPUG 2017

The five year anniversary of  European Road Profile Users' Group (ERPUG) Forum will take place at Ramboll head quarter, Copenhagen, Denmark October 19-20, 2017. 

LATEST NEWS


2017-07-05

Vehicle Driver Monitoring: sleepiness and cognitive load

To prevent road crashes it is important to understand driver related contributing factors, which have been suggested to be the critical reason in 94 per cent of crashes. The overall aim of the project Vehicle Driver Monitoring has been to advance the...


2017-06-29

Tomas Svensson new director-general

Tomas Svensson was today appointed Director-General of VTI. Tomas has been acting Director-General since January 2017. 


2017-05-30

Crash testing bicycles at VTI

For the first time single bicycle crashes have been simulated at the VTI crash safety laboratory.


2017-05-15

A case study exploring firefighters’ and municipal officials’ preparedness for electrical vehicles

A VTI-study presents a social perspective on new vehicle technology. It explores the self-reported preparedness of the fire departments (i.e., rescue services) in Sweden’s three largest cities regarding rescue operations involving electrical vehicles (EVs).


2017-05-02

Pioneering research on and about bicycles at VTI

Under what circumstances might cyclists lose tyre grip? What actions could then be taken to prevent a crash? VTI is currently developing a theoretical model of the behaviour of bicycle tyres during braking and steering in different situations and on different...


2017-05-02

Virtual pedestrians create efficient stations

If more people are to choose sustainable travel, then the public transport stations of the future must be designed so that pedestrians can get where they are going quickly, without congestion or queues. The Swedish Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)...