Sustainable Mobility in Five Smaller Swedish Cities

Sustainable Mobility in Five Smaller Swedish Cities

Urban transport is critical in shaping the form and function of cities, particularly the level of automobile dependence and sustainability. This K2 Working Paper presents a detailed study of the land use and urban transport characteristics of the ten largest urban regions in Sweden Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg, Linköping, Helsingborg, Uppsala, Örebro, Västerås, Jönköping, and Umeå, the latter five of which are referred to as smaller Swedish cities in this report. It also presents data on Freiburg im Breisgau in southern Germany (population ca 225,000) as a benchmark case for sustainable transport against which to compare Swedish cities especially the smaller ones. It compares these cities to those in the USA, Australia, Canada, and two large wealthy Asian cities (Singapore and Hong Kong). It finds that while density is critical in determining many features of urban mobility and particularly how much public transport, walking, and cycling are used, many Swedish cities maintain reasonable levels of all these more sustainable modes and only moderate levels of car use, while having less than half the density to one-third of other European cities. The smaller cities do, however, perform worst on public transport, but a little better on walking and cycling. Swedish settlement patterns and urban transport policies mean they also enjoy, globally, the lowest level of transport emissions and transport deaths per capita and similar levels of energy use in private passenger transport as other European cities, and a fraction of that used in lower density North American and Australian cities. Swedish urban public transport systems are generally well provided for and form an integral part of the way their cities function, considering their lower densities, though these systems are least well used in the smaller cities and urban rail use is very poor compared to the larger Swedish cities, which are themselves significantly lower in rail use than other European cities. Swedish cities use of walking and cycling is high, though a fraction lower than in other European cities (but only about half the level in Freiburg) and together with public transport cater for about 44% of the total daily trip making, compared to auto-dependent regions with between about 15% and 25% of daily trips by these sustainable modes. This working paper explores these data and many other urban transport indicators in significant detail, distinguishing between patterns found in the larger and smaller Swedish cities as well as comparisons to Freiburg and the other groups of world cities. It provides a clear depiction of the strengths and weaknesses of Swedish cities in urban transport and a summary of the key differences and similarities between the larger and smaller Swedish cities. It also provides some key policy implications from the data, suggestions for making transport more sustainable in Swedish cities, while positing possible explanations for some of the unique patterns observed.

350 000 kr
2018 till 2019

Publikationer kopplade till projektet

Sustainable Mobility in Ten Swedish Cities

Jeffrey R. Kenworthy, K2 Working paper 2020:8, May 2020