News & press


National, regional and local policies: Sweden

By Marco Mazouzi, Marian Cihon, Pawel Warszyck

Swedish National Infrastructure Plan

The proposal for a national plan for the transport system 2018-2029 includes measures that represent an important step towards a modern and sustainable transport system.
On August 31, 2017, the Swedish Transport Administration reported the draft national plan for the transport system for the period 2018-2029 to the government. The plan contains proposals for measures in the state infrastructure on roads, railways, sea and aviation.

Starting points for the Swedish Transport Administration’s priorities

The starting points for the Swedish Transport Administration’s priorities are the transport policy goals, the Riksdag’s decision on the infrastructure proposal for Infrastructure for the future - innovative solutions for strengthening competitiveness and sustainable development, as well as the government’s directives. The directive identifies six social challenges, in which the transport system plays a major role:
- Conversion to one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare countries
- Investments in an increased housing construction
- Improving business conditions
- Reinforcement of employment across the country
- Utilize the effects of digitization and it’s opportunities
- An inclusive society

The financial framework

The financial framework for the plan is 622.5 billion SEK, which is just over 100 billion SEK more than the current plan. In addition, there are 90 billion SEK from congestion tax, rail charges and cofinancing.

The four step principle is applied

The Swedish Transport Administration has worked interchangeably and measures have been prioritized to contribute as far as possible to achieving the following transport policy objectives:
- Customers should be given great freedom to decide how they want to travel and how a transport is to be carried out
- Decisions on transport production should take place in decentralized forms
- Collaboration within and between different traffic modes should be promoted
- Competition between different road operators and transport options should be promoted
- The socio-economic costs of traffic should be a starting point when transport policy instruments are designed
The four step principle has been applied to ensure good resource management and to ensure that the measures contribute to sustainable social development:

  1. The first step (Think about) is to consider first and foremost measures that may affect the needs of transport and travel as well as the choice of modes of transport, e.g.: taxes, fees,parking fees, subsidies, collaboration, non-free meetings, speed limits, coordinated distribution, information, marketing, travel plans and programs and so on
  2. The second step (Optimize) involves implementing measures that result in more efficient utilization of the existing infrastructure, e.g.: redistribution of surfaces, bus lanes, signal priority, ITS solutions, special operation, coordinated train plan, increased frequency, logistics solutions, travel planners and so on
  3. If necessary, the third step (Rebuild) involves limited rebuilding, e.g.: reinforcements, trimming actions, support measures, widening, platform extension, bypass trails, pitch fields, diverting in fares, ITS solutions, flat crossings, setup trails, and more
  4. The fourth step (Build new) is implemented if the need cannot be met in the three previous steps. This means new investments and / or major rebuilding measures.

Dialogue and openness

The Swedish Transport Administration has sought to create dialogue and openness about the development and content of the plan and the proposal for a new national plan has been developed in dialogue with stakeholders. Hearings and seminars have been conducted in several places in the country and at different stages of the work process. Ongoing contacts with the outside world actors have mainly taken place through the Swedish Transport Agency’s regions and in different collaborative groups.
The draft proposal is now under discussion at the relevant agencies. Remarks were submitted to the government by 30 November 2017, which is expected to be scheduled in spring 2018. The Swedish Transport Agency draws up the draft National Transport Infrastructure Plan based on infrastructure proposals and government directives. This is done in cooperation with county planners and other stakeholders. The government determines the national plan. The work started in 2015 when the Swedish Transport Administration was commissioned by the government to develop a roadmap for transport infrastructure planning. The basis was the bill (2016/17:21 Infrastructure for the Future - Innovative Solutions for Enhanced Competitiveness and Sustainable Development) presented by the government in October 2016.

The current national plan for years 2014-2025

Strongly increased funding for railways enables rail refurbishment and restoring its functionality on much of the network, while providing funding for development. New technologies will be used to modernize the railroad network. The measures will eventually lead to a more robust rail with increased capacity, i.e. a more reliable railroad with fewer disturbances. An increased focus on maintenance means that many jobs will be planned into an already heavily loaded railway. In a shorter perspective this can cause disturbances.

Measures to increase the load capacity and ensure the accessibility of the commercial heavy traffic on roads and bridges favours competitiveness. Traffic of longer and heavier trains creates better accessibility in important rail freight trains, even on the more low-traffic rail network. Changesincluded increased axle loads on Malmbanan and railings along the north coast, infrastructural improvements such as in the port of Malmö, the locks in Södertälje and the fairway from Landsort to Södertälje. The work to replace the locks in Trollhättet channel, linked to Vänersjöfarten, is also proposed to commence during the planning period. Several of the shipping measures aim to be
able to travel with larger vessels than is currently possible. Low-traffic roads and railways will be prioritized, among other things.

A prerequisite for achieving the transport policy goals is that the potential of digitization is taken care of and its risks are managed. There is ongoing extensive modernization of the transport system. New services enable combinations of efficient travel chains door to door with different modes of transport and improved traffic information, online and digitized infrastructure. Online, automated and electrified road vehicles combined with mobility services have the potential to radically change road transport.
In order to create the positive effects of digitizing the transport system, the Swedish Transport Administration may need to work with commercial and public operators. To increase knowledge about the potential of digitization and to develop implementable solutions, Swedish Transport Administration plans to conduct a number of demonstration projects in both freight and passenger transport: Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), automated freight flows between a port or a terminal to any logistics.