Shining a light on contextual variance and planning dilemmas in public transport planning: Two Nordic case studies on BRT planning

Research output: ThesisMaster's thesis

Abstract

This thesis sets to study what happens when an international public transport concept is implemented in a new context. With recent calls in transport planning scholarship to include features of communicative rationality into the disciplinary palette, this thesis builds on the notion of context and content in public transport planning. The context is further defined as the sphere of Aristotle’s phronesis. Phronesis refers to the ability understand politics and to interpret the contextual situation as goals and problems to be solved through planning. The content of transport planning is understood to be the skills, knowledge and resources (Aristotle’s techne and episteme) to create a solution to the planning problem. The solution studied in this case is the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

The practical relevance of taking part in this theoretical discussion rests on present mega-trends: globalization and urbanization. Globalization accelerates the circulation of transport planning concepts, both in terms of increasing knowledge exchange, and by accentuating the competition between cities and city-regions. Urbanization and politics of sustainable development drive the search for new public transport solutions. In this climate, the sight on local contingencies may be lost. By taking part in this discussion, this thesis aims to strengthen the focus on context while retaining and enhancing the capacity to learn from others.

The thesis contains three parts: a review on literature on knowledge in planning to provide tools to understand the interplay of context and content in public transport planning; the application of these insights into the evolution of BRT reported in the literature; and two case studies on the application of the BRT concept. The case studies examine the process of BRT planning and implementation in Malmö, Sweden and in Turku city-region, Finland. The focus on the context highlights planning dilemmas apparent in these cases and points towards some ways of solving them.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationMaster's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Mäntysalo, Raine, Supervising Professor
  • Mladenovic, Milos, Thesis Advisor
Award date16 Mar 2020
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeG2 Master's thesis, polytechnic Master's thesis

Keywords

  • planning theory
  • bus rapid transit
  • Transport system planning
  • philosophy
  • phronesis
  • techne

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