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Do impact assessments influence transport plans? The case of Sweden

Anders Bondemark, Pia Sundbergh, Patrik Tornberg and Karin Brundell-Freij

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2020, vol. 134, issue C, 52-64

Abstract: In this study, we investigate what explains the decision by Swedish planners to include an investment in the draft for the Swedish national transport plan 2018–2029 using binary logit models and interviews. Where previous studies have focused on the impact of cost benefit analyses, we broaden the analysis to include other parts of the Swedish appraisal framework, including the distributional and goal fulfilment analyses. We find that even though many aspects of the investments are appraised, few seem to explain investment decisions. The only parts of the appraisal that we find influence investment decisions are the cost benefit-results, the negative non-valuated environmental effects and the assessment of the total socio-economic impact. We find that the distributional analysis, the goal fulfilment analysis or other features of the investments such as if it is a road or a railway hold no explanatory power. The results of the study raise questions about the role of the appraisal procedure and the impact assessments in the planning process. Interviews with planners reveal a number of issues that help explain the limited role of the distributional analysis and the goal-fulfilment analysis, including concerns with the way the distributional analysis and the goal fulfilment analysis are designed. The lack of nuance, as well as the lack of consensus on how to perform the analyses, are put forward as known issues. Furthermore, given the large resources committed to conducting investment appraisals, the paper concludes that the development of infrastructure appraisal frameworks should be based on careful reflection and analysis of the effectiveness of different parts of the appraisal process.

Keywords: Cost benefit analysis; Appraisal; Transport; Investments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2020.02.002

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