Public transport for all

Public transport's contribution to, and impact on, accessibility, democratic processes, inclusion and exclusion.

Public transport for all

bild kollektivtrafik för alla

Public transport investments can play an important role in social and economic inclusion in cities and their surroundings. Urbanization, an ageing population and migration represent major challenges, not least in terms of how society's resources are made available through the transport system. The design and availability of public transport play an important role with respect to this challenge, for the individual and for different social groups. Within the cities, the question is how the requirements of companies and enterprises for establishment locations, demand for centralised housing and proximity to high-quality public transport can be balanced against the needs of other groups for accessibility in ways that create well-being and quality of life for all residents.

Previous urban planning, with the ideal of functional division, has contributed to social exclusion in some cases. In large cities, therefore, there are problems with socially segregated environments, with residents who cannot afford a car and where access to public transport is therefore essential. At the same time, public transport does not always satisfy the needs of these areas, where the environment in and around public transport is perceived as unsafe or transport is perceived as too expensive.

Overall research issues
A public transport system suitable for everyone requires knowledge on how the accessibility, mobility and quality of life of different individuals and groups are impacted by the public transport system. A society that satisfies all its citizens' needs and ensures that all citizens can have influence, imposes demands on planning processes with democratic participation, and pays attention to which groups in society (based on e.g. age, income, ethnicity, disability, type of residence) benefit from new public transport solutions and mobility services. The transport system, including public transport, plays an important role with respect to the ambitions to reduce social gaps and improve economic development, job creation and housing supply. The following research issues are prioritised in the research area:

  • Which groups in society are benefited or disadvantaged by public transport investments, changed services and pricing, and in what way the public transport system can support more equal and egalitarian access to society's resources?
  • What account do authorities take of citizens’ different needs and perceptions when designing public transport, e.g. children, people with disabilities and different socio-economic groups?
  • How, and with what results, does collaboration between public transport actors and residents, including new, digital methods for dialogue and feedback  increase the participation of different groups in planning and decision-making?
  • How is public transport planned and designed so that it is, and is perceived to be, safe and secure, for both passengers and employees? How can it be designed to minimise noise and barrier effects?

Expected results
The research is expected to contribute to an increased understanding of public transport as a means of increasing social sustainability. The special needs of different groups in public transport are made visible, and concepts such as social benefit, quality of life, health and accessibility are developed in relation to public transport. In regard to public transport actors, such as regional public transport authorities and municipalities, the research will lead to an increased understanding of how to better include different groups in the planning process. The research also contributes to an increased understanding of how public transport, in combination with new mobility solutions, can be designed to offer solutions to those who currently have limited mobility.


Border controls and (im)mobilities: experiences from a public transport node

Vanessa Stjernborg, Mobilities, June 2024

Gendered mobility strategies and challenges to sustainable travel—patriarchal norms controlling women's everyday transportation

Christina Lindkvist, Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, June 2024

Rural mobility in later life; counteracting accessibility poverty with digital service solutions

Vanessa Stjernborg & Gustav Lopez Svensson, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, January 2024

Triggers for feelings of insecurity and perceptions of safety in relation to public transport; the experiences of young and active travellers

Vanessa Stjernborg, Applied Mobilities, February 2024

Barns rätt till kollektivtrafik – barnperspektiv och barns perspektiv i kollektivtrafikplaneringen

Kapitel i "Rättvist resande? Villkor, utmaningar och visioner för samhällsplaneringen", Linnea Eriksson och Jens Alm

How accessibility to schools is not (just) a transport problem: the case of public school choice in the city of Malmö, Sweden

Aaron Nichols & Jean Ryan, European Transport Research, November 2023

The importance of recurring public transport delays for accessibility and mode choice

Aaron Nichols, Jean Ryan, Carl-William Palmqvist, Journal of Transport Geography Volume 115, February 2024

En kollektivtrafik för alla – en nulägesbeskrivning av forskning och utvecklingsprojekt inom funktionshinderområdet

Kristofer Hansson, Lena Levin, Gustav Lopez Svensson, Eva Månsson Lexell & Vanessa Stjernborg, K2 Working Paper 2023:8

Social impact assessments (SIA) in larger infrastructure investments in Sweden; the view of experts and practitioners

Vanessa Stjernborg, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, September 2023

Spatiotemporal heterogeneity of the shared e-scooter–public transport relationships in Stockholm and Helsinki

Zijian Guo, Jian Liu, Pengxiang Zhao, Aoyong Li & Xintao Liu, Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment, September 2023

Accessibility and space-time differences in when and how different groups (choose to) travel

Jean Ryan, Rafael H.M. Pereira, Magnus Andersson, Journal of Transport Geography, July 2023

Är barn en del av det planerande kollektivet? En studie om inkludering av barn i planering av kollektivtrafik

Jens Alm, Linnea Eriksson och Emma Hermansson, K2 Working Paper 2023:3

Sustainability in practice: A governmentality study about transit‐oriented development in rural areas

Freja Lina Huhle, master thesis, Malmö University, 2021

Accessibility in public transport policy and planning practice in the Uppsala region – A Swedish case

Linnea Eriksson & Anders Melin, In Just mobility, transport and urban infrastructures – stories on inclusion and exclusion. Urban Matters Journal, December 2022

Erfarenheter och upplevda hinder i kollektivtrafiken hos personer med neuropsykiatriska funktionsnedsättningar

Jessica Berg & Jonas Ihlström. VTI rapport 1123. Linköping 2022.

Towards a capability approach to mobility – An analysis of disparities in mobility opportunities among older people

Jean Ryan, doctoral thesis, Lund University, 2019.

Spatiotemporal accessibility by public transport and time wealth: Insights from two peripheral neighbourhoods in Malmo, Sweden

Chiara Vitrano & Linnea Mellquist, Time & Society, 2022

Future Public Mobility - The next step for sustainable travel

Rådslaget, 2022.

The bus trip: Constraints, hierarchies and injustice

Vanessa Stjernborg. Chapter in Accessibility Denied. Understanding Inaccessibility and Everyday Resistance to Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities. November 2021

Traveling insecurely: The association of security and accessibility in public transport

Kristofer Hansson. Chapter in Accessibility Denied. Understanding Inaccessibility and Everyday Resistance to Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities. November 2021

Inequalities in access to bike-and-ride opportunities: Findings for the city of Malmö

Zahra Hamidia, Rosalia Camporeale and Leonardo Caggianic, Transportation research 2019

Railway network design and regional labour markets in Sweden

Erik Johansson, Rosalia Camporeale and Carl-William Palmqvist, Research in Transportation Economics Volume 83, November 2020

A Piece of the Puzzle: Essays on Accessibility, Transport Infrastructure and Distribution

Anders Bondemark, doctoral thesis, Lund University, May 2021

What are we missing when we measure accessibility? Comparing calculated and self-reported accounts among older people

Jean Ryan and Rafael Pereira, Journal of Transport Geography, May 2021

Justice in Regional Transport Planning through the Lens of Iris Marion Young

Chiara Vitrano and Christina Lindkvist, Planning, practice and research, January 2021

COVID-19 and Public Transport

Chiara Vitrano, K2 Working paper 2021:1

Is it expensive to be poor? Public transport in Sweden

Anders Bondemark, Henrik Andersson, Anders Wretstrand and Karin Brundell-Freij, Transportation October 2020

Does context matter? Older adults’ safety perceptions of neighborhood environments in Sweden

Vanessa Stjernborg and Roya Bamzar, bookchapter in Crime and Fear in Public Places - Towards Safe, Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, July 2020

Public transport and social justice in Malmö

Anders Melin, K2 Research 2020:1, June 2020

Access to public mobility services and health in old age: a cross-sectional study in three Swedish cities

Carlos Chiatti, Yngve Westerlund, Agneta Ståhl. Journal of Transport and Health, Vol. 7, 2018

Bus Stops and Violence, Are Risky Places Really Risky?

Manne Gerell. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, 24. 2018.

How to Apply Gender Equality Goals in Transport and Infrastructure Planning

Lena Levin and Charlotta Faith-Ell, Integrating Gender into Transport Planning, February 2019

Examining the Process of Modal Choice for Everyday Travel Among Older People

Jean Ryan, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, January 2020

Accessibility for All in Public Transport and the Overlooked (Social) Dimension—A Case Study of Stockholm

Vanessa Stjernborg, Sustainability, September 2019

How to Integrate Gender Equality in the Future of “Smart” Mobility: A Matter for a Changing Planning Practice

Lena Levin, HCII: International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction July 2019

Disparities in mobility among older people: Findings from a capability-based travel survey

Jean Ryan, Anders Wretstrand and Steven M Schmidt, July 2019

Rischi di segregazione temporale nella città poliritmica: il caso della mobilità notturna delle donne tra nuove esigenze di spostamento e percezione della sicurezza

Chiara Vitrano, Monica Ferrario and Matteo Colleoni, Bolletino della societa geografica Italiana, July 2017

Evaluation of free public transport for older people in Sweden

Tania Dukic Willstrand, Per Henriksson, Helena Svensson and Lena Levin, Proceedings of the 6th Humanist Conference, The Hague, Netherlands, 13-14 June 2018

Swedish and Scottish National Transport Policy and Spend: A Social Equity Analysis

Tom Rye and Anders Wretstrand 29 March 2019

An urban bikeway network design model for inclusive and equitable transport policies

Rosalia Camporeale et al, Transportation Research Procedia, Vol 27, 2019

How May Public Transport Influence the Practice of Everyday Life among Younger and Older People and How May Their Practices Influence Public Transport?

Lena Levin in Social Sciences vol. 8 issue 3, March 2019

Integrating Gender into Transport Planning

Autors: Christina Scholten et al, Springer 2019

What’s mode got to do with it? Exploring the links between public transport and car access and opportunities for everyday activities among older people

Jean Ryan, K2, Lund University & Anders Wretstrand, Lund University. January 2019

Research projects

En minut hit eller dit – fördjupad förståelse av tidens betydelse

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Exploring Human Rights to Public Transportation: An Inquiry into the Right to Public Transportation and Urban Mobility as a Human Right

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Social and environmental justice in 15 minutes - toolkit development for transition to urban sustainable neighbourhoods (JiM)

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Access Sweden

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AURORA - A Pre-study on Accessibility to and from Areas of National Interest for Outdoor Recreation

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Din Resa = Min arbetsplats – En studie om gränssnittet mellan personer som reser och arbetar i kollektivtrafiken

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Karin Winter

Securing legitimacy? Policy, practice, and publics in public transport

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Strategies for sustainable accessibility with public transport – new ways of dealing with social consequences and needs in public transport planning

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Understanding Obstacles and Facilitators of Current and Future Public Transport Solutions for People with Various Disabilities

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Understanding the impact of shared e-scooters on spatial accessibility and social equity of public transport in a Nordic context

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Pengxiang Zhao

Är barn en del av det planerande kollektivet? En studie om inkludering av barn i planering av kollektivtrafik

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Capacities for Resilient and Inclusive Urban Public Transport Infrastructure and Built Environment (CARIN-PT)

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Do basic provisions meet inhabitants’ accessibility needs? (BAS)

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COCOMO – COmpeting and COmplementary MObility solutions in urban contexts

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Space-Time Use and Temporal Well-being of On-board Public Transport Workers

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ACCESS: New mobility for equity in public transport

Att förstå mobilitetsmönster i tio svenska regioner

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Bus stops and bus shelters in the production of public space and mobility

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Capturing the impacts of changes in public transport accessibility

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Railway network design and regional labour markets in Sweden

Public Transport, Space-time Accessibility, and Social Equity.

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K2 and Malmö University