Photo: Pietro Rampazo, unsplash.com
The aim of the project has been to increase knowledge about cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region. More specifically, the project attempts to identify barriers, highlight opportunities and propose measures to facilitate cross-border transport infrastructure planning across national borders in the Nordic Region. Although the new geopolitical situation with with Finland's and Sweden's membership in NATO is likely to increase cooperation in related fields, such as defence and contingency planning, this has not been studied in this report.
The first report, Cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region – An introduction (2023),
was primarily based on desk studies and
provided background to the topic by looking closely at the different transport infrastructure planning systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The report contains a comparative overview of e.g. policy goals, the main players and their responsibilities, central elements of the planning process and analytical tools. Moreover, it provides an overview of EU and Nordic perspectives and policies related to cross-border transport infrastructure planning.
In this second report, we examine experiences regarding cross-border transport infrastructure planning. Three different case studies were selected in collaboration with the Swedish Transport Administration; the proposed fixed HH link between Helsingborg and Helsingør; the proposed new Stockholm-Oslo rail connection; and the on-going attempts to improve the multi-modal corridor from Mo i Rana, via Hemavan and Umeå, across the Kvarken Strait to Vaasa. The case studies represent cross-border transport infrastructure planning projects in early phases across the Swedish-Danish border, Swedish-Norwegian border and the Swedish-Finnish border. A common feature is that they are being furthered by local and regional players in the respective areas.
In semi-structured interviews conducted via Teams with stakeholder representatives involved in cross-border transport infrastructure planning at the national, regional and local levels, we focused on barriers to cross-border transport infrastructure planning and on the potential for overcoming those obstacles. The interviewees were selected using the snowball principle. A total of 29 interviews were conducted from October 2022 to March 2023 (see appendix for a list of the interviews).
We departed from an institutional theory framework (e.g. North, 1990) and in the interviews, we explored how formal rules – such as laws, regulations and differences in organisational and formal structures between countries – and informal rules – such as language, norms and practices – influence cross-border transport infrastructure planning (see appendix for the interview guide).
It is important to note that the two NORDINFRA reports are complementary. While the first report provides background information, this second report adds empirical data and a concluding, forward-looking analysis of our findings.
We wish to thank all those that contributed by participating in the interviews and by sharing their knowledge and experiences with us during the project. We also wish to express our sincere thanks to the reference group and the steering group for their in-depth knowledge and valuable comments on our work.
The structure of the report is as follows: the introduction is followed by a brief description of the three case studies. Next the findings from the case studies are presented, followed by a discussion of the potential for improving cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The report closes with some final remarks.