Planning, governance and transformation

Planning and decision-making processes at various levels of society are of great importance for the development of transport, mobility and accessibility. We conduct research focusing on national, regional, and local planning and policy.

This involves adopting a broad perspective and examining the overall transformation to sustainable mobility, including decarbonization, as well as concrete processes regarding, e.g., gender equality, citizen participation, accessibility, and change of travel patterns. Our research includes all transport modes and different forms of travelling.

The researchers within this field represent many different research interests and perspectives. Currently, most of the research falls within some of these topics:

  • Uncertainty and capacity as regards transformation of the transport sector to a sustainable society, environmentally, socially, and economically.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic: short and long-term consequences and possibilities as regards mobility patterns, accessibility, planning, governance, and transformation.
  • Integration of sustainability perspectives in existing arenas for planning and decision-making, including environmental impact assessment.
  • Transport and infrastructure planning at national, regional, and local levels: power, knowledge perspectives, and organisational cultures.
  • The linkages between spatial planning, transport planning, and accessibility, including public transport, walking, and cycling.
  • Policymaking, planning, and implementation within freight and logistics, including construction logistics and cycle logistics.
  • Smart mobility: framing, governance, roles, consequences, behaviour, emerging governance arrangements, and pilots vis-á-vis established planning regimes.

Decision-making and planning processes influence long-term frameworks for society and people's everyday lives, accessibility and mobility. A considerable part of the research relates to the issue of long-term sustainable development and the prerequisites for working towards such a transformation. The research aims to provide detailed scientific knowledge of these transformation processes, which is important for understanding both the opportunities and the barriers that determine the frameworks for governance, planning and decisions aimed at changing the transport system in a more environmental, as well as social and economic sustainable way.

Research methods

Our research is interdisciplinary and involves researchers from several social scientific disciplines including Human Ecology, Human Geography, Anthropology, Sociology and Political Science as well as the interdisciplinary fields of Science and Technology Studies and Planning Studies. The bulk of the research is qualitative in nature, with quantitative elements. The methods used include interviews, focus groups, workshops and policy labs, surveys, participant observations, and document analysis. Our research frequently involves case studies and studies of planning and decision-making processes, as well as comparisons of different sectors from local to international level.

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