WIT Press

In Search Of Sustainability: Examining The Variation In A National Planning Model When Applied To Different Urban Transport Projects


Free (open access)





Page Range

457 - 467




365 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


L. Hansson


How can we understand national planning model directives when they are implemented in local urban transport infrastructure projects? This paper concerns the application of the Swedish \“four-stage principle”, a model constructed by the Swedish Road Administration to identify investment priorities. A central aspect of this model is that new transportation investments must be compared with other investments, so that policy makers can reflect on and evaluate whether it is possible to use existing investments instead of starting new projects (in this lies the thought of sustainability). This paper aims to explain why implementation of a single national model, specifically, the four-stage principle model, varies in different urban transport infrastructure projects. The paper is based on a study of a Swedish county where three transport infrastructure projects have been evaluated. What role did the four-stage principle play in these processes? What barriers and opportunities are there to using this model? One conclusion is that the four-stage principle acquires different meanings and purposes in the projects, even though the projects are being implemented within the same policy area. Keywords: urban governance, implementation, planning models, transport, sustainability. 1 Introduction In striving for sustainability, national governments issue directives regarding how transport infrastructure should be planned and implemented. These directives are sometimes binding and sometimes only recommendations. To be effective, these directives need to be adopted and implemented by the local planners shaping urban transport systems. In Sweden, the \“four-stage principle”


urban governance, implementation, planning models, transport, sustainability.