Evaluation of public transport policy formulation and implementation: Case study of 24 mid-sized Nordic cities

Christoffer Weckström, Milos Mladenovic

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
190 Downloads (Pure)


Many growing mid-sized cities in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) are redesigning their public transport networks (PTN) to attract more users, while simultaneously aiming to cope with cost effectiveness pressures. Although the role of public transport (PT) in these structurally dispersed cities has been declining in the past, PT has an essential role in providing sustainable urban mobility options. With this case context in mind, this study explores the development trajectory of PT networks in 24 cities ranging from 100,000 to 500,000 inhabitants, with an aim to draw comparative lessons for PT policy formulation and implementation worldwide. In particular, research questions include evaluation of currently offered quantity and structure of PT services, as well as evaluation of planning objectives and measures. Using a mixed-methods approach, case study combines document analysis with performance measures based on PT schedule data (i.e. GTFS). Document analysis focuses on three themes related to PTN: trunk-routes, cross-routes, and network simplicity. Based on these themes five novel performance measures are calculated for the cities, enabling structural comparison between PTNs. The results indicate that PT planning has gone through a paradigm shift, changing the focus towards market-based approach. Moreover, PT overhauls have aimed for hierarchical PT network structure, with rapid-transit, high frequency trunk lines, complemented with demand-responsive services. However, despite similarities in network planning approaches and the arguments used to justify these approaches, there are a few national differences especially in the PTN implementation. In conclusion, based on this assessment, the study provides policy implications for the development of the ongoing PT planning processes in the Nordic countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-986
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventAIIT International Congress on Transport Infrastructure and Systems - Rome, Italy
Duration: 23 Sep 201924 Sep 2019
Conference number: 2


  • transit planning
  • transportation policy
  • public transport network
  • plan evaluation
  • policy learning


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