The Swedish initiative to increase the share of public transport is called the Doubling Project, i.e. doubling the share. While this goal seems a bit suboptimal for me (more on that below in the notes), this umbrella covers quite some initiatives from small to big to improve transit attractiveness, such as marketing campaigns or through-city train tunnels.
The video below describes case studies from four cities:
- Gothenburg is introducing the congestion charge in 2013 and plans to fund transport infrastructure and vehicles from this revenue. Given the experience from previous city-scale road charges, such as London or Stockholm, this seems to be a very ambitious/fragile idea: when organized well, road charge revenues can cover the system costs and some more, and certainly beneficial on a societal level, but can hardly be used to build a huge infrastructure fund. — Also, it is a bit questionable whether the Gothenburg tram system is already prepared for the extra load, as the network is very congested already in the city centre and renewing the tram fleet goes slowly as problems arise with the new Italian trams.
- It is great to hear that Stockholm is “extending its tram network”, what this really means is that during the big subway works, most of the previous network was discarded — just like many other cities — and now the city struggles to reconnect the remaining pieces.
- Malmö: I covered the new City Tunnel on its opening day, an interesting note to those of us living in the Netherlands is that you can get for your ticket using “any means of payment” — good luck buying a train ticket here with a credit card or with banknotes.
- In Sundsvall, we learn a new sentence in Swedish: det är inte rocket science, and really, all speakers note that what is key is not some technological innovations, but the vision, commitment and to break away from the former bureaucratic attitude of operator companies.
- It gives some credit to this initiative that the minister is the last speaker. I can’t resist to notice, however, that the idea of doubling transit market share is not really a sound goal to set for yourself: (1) what about urban regions where the share of public transport is already around 40-50%? Barcelona, Vienna, Central London, Eastern Europe. It is clearly impossible to double the 55% market share, but investments and innovation here is just as important, regarding how many people already trust the transit network. (2) no matter how much some nerds like trams and buses, the real goals are safer transport, less emissions, higher land value/quality of life: no need to replace cycling or the occasional car trip with transit. If you need a simple goal, it is to reduce driving, be it by a shift to transit, cycling, Het Nieuwe Werken or Whatever Works*.
* just kidding, it is a bad movie.