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TRANSPORT-Transport 2025

Sustainable and just transport policies in Norwegian medium-sized cities

Alternative title: Bærekraftig og rettferdig transportpolitikk i mellomstore norske byer

Awarded: NOK 12.2 mill.

To achieve ambitious climate goals, strong transport policies are needed. We have much knowledge on which policy instruments contribute in reducing car use and emissions, but we know less about how cities, particularly medium-sized Norwegian cities, can design sustainable and socially just transport systems. This is needed, as measures seeking to reduce car use often have been protested by citizens, undermining their effectiveness and implementation. SUSTAIN takes a holistic and inter-disciplinary approach in applying a framework of three interconnected urban governance challenges to study transport policy: i) the spatial challenge, addressing how spatial conditions in city regions affect policy design and citizens’ perceptions of transport policies; ii) the governance-network challenge, addressing how local governments facilitate collective action when designing sustainable transport policies; and iii) the communicative challenge, addressing ways for communicative strategies to increase accountability and citizen acceptance of policy measures. SUSTAIN aims to unpack factors that shape successful (or unsuccessful) sustainable transport policies in these contexts. We are interested in how spatial-, network- and communicative challenges of urban governance can be addressed to promote sustainable and just transport policies in medium-sized Norwegian cities. SUSTAIN involves case studies in Ålesund, Grenland, Haugesund, Tønsberg and Sandefjord. These medium-sized urban areas are characterised by more car use and lower state engagement in developing sustainable transport compared with Norway’s larger cities. SUSTAIN’s main impact will be to establish a knowledge base and a roadmap on sustainable and just transport in medium-sized cities. The user partners will be involved through city labs and project workshops, enabling the cities to learn from each other and giving researchers crucial inputs during the project.

To achieve ambitious climate goals, strong transport policies are needed. We have much knowledge on which policy instruments contribute in reducing car use and emissions, but we know less about how cities, particularly medium-sized Norwegian cities, can design sustainable and socially just transport systems. This is needed, as measures seeking to reduce car use often have been protested by citizens, undermining their effectiveness and implementation. SUSTAIN takes a holistic and inter-disciplinary approach in applying a framework of three interconnected urban governance challenges to study transport policy: i) the spatial challenge, addressing how spatial conditions in city regions affect policy design and citizens’ perceptions of transport policies; ii) the governance-network challenge, addressing how local governments facilitate collective action when designing sustainable transport policies; and iii) the communicative challenge, addressing ways for communicative strategies to increase accountability and citizen acceptance of policy measures. SUSTAIN aims to unpack factors that shape successful (or unsuccessful) sustainable transport policies in these contexts. We ask: How can spatial-, network- and communicative challenges of urban governance be addressed to promote sustainable and just transport policies in medium-sized Norwegian cities? SUSTAIN involves case studies in Ålesund, Grenland, Haugesund, Tønsberg and Sandefjord. These medium-sized urban areas are characterised by more car use and lower state engagement in developing sustainable transport compared with Norway’s larger cities. SUSTAIN’s main impact will be to establish a knowledge base and a roadmap on sustainable and just transport in medium-sized cities. The user partners will be involved through city labs and project workshops, enabling the cities to learn from each other and giving researchers crucial inputs during the project. The project includes a PhD in political science/public administration.

Funding scheme:

TRANSPORT-Transport 2025