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


7
Dec

Shipping and the environment – research meets reality

Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) in co-operation with Ports of Stockholm invite you to the seminar Shipping and the environment – research meets reality.

LATEST NEWS


2017-10-26

Simulation of cut-in by manually driven vehicles in platooning scenarios

A study in a VTI-driving simulator has showed that a platoon will be able to handle a cut in from a manually driven car. The results of this study have recently been presented at two conferences in Japan.


2017-10-16

ERPUG Forum

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.


2017-09-29

Self-driving buses in Sweden next year?

A self-driving, fossil-free bus. This idea might become reality through a forthcoming collaborative project involving the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), Linköping University and several other participants. The project group aim...


2017-09-29

New climate-proof solutions for hard surfaces in cities

High-density road infrastructure that emphasise maximum durability and minimum maintenance create inflexible systems, which put increased stress on urban trees and lead to increased risk for flooding. Over the past five years, the ‘Climate-proof solutions for...


2017-09-29

VTI is preparing for automated vehicles

Automation of traffic systems will lead to major changes. The European Union’s (EU) CoEXist research project began in June 2017 with the aim of preparing cities and road operators for the introduction of self-driving vehicles. The Swedish National Road and...


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...