Improving Coherence in a Cross-Border Public Transport System: Lessons from the Greater Copenhagen Region

Jean Ryan and Anders Wretstrand, Sustainability, August 2020

Greater Copenhagen is often cited as a good example of cross-border cooperation. Shared historical contexts and socio-political willingness have meant that considerable resources have been invested into the development of infrastructure in this region. The Öresund fixed link constitutes the most important element of this infrastructure, facilitating a cross-border public transport system which ties the region together. This public transport system in turn underpins the social, economic and environmental sustainability of the cross-border region. The aim of this study is to investigate the issues at play with respect to improving the coherence of this cross-border public transport system, in relation to ticketing and public transport information in particular. This study comprises the compilation and analysis of the perspectives of the actors involved in and affected by the development of the cross-border transport system. In total, twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted. Six predominant themes emerged from the analysis of the empirical material: “Focus on the customer”, “The Other Side”, “Tidying up at home first”, “Political challenges”, “Back to basics” and “The low-hanging fruits”. It became apparent that the prioritization of internal and organizational issues in the first instance could mean compromises, not only for cross-border cooperation but also for the customer’s (the passenger’s) experience. Results suggest that improvements to coherence in this transport system will most likely take the form of incremental changes and adopting common standards. This is opposed to the development of common systems, or of a significant departure from existing systems.

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