Follow-up of transport policies objectives 2023
In this yearly report, Transport Analysis analyses the current state of the transport system in terms of the government's policy objectives. Transport Analysis also presents its assessments as to how the state has changed in terms of these objectives.
Generally speaking, Transport Analysis finds that, based on all relevant sustainability perspectives, our society has not advanced towards a long-term sustainable transport solution. This is because there are both key and supplemental indicators that have trended negatively, while the various sustainability aspects cannot be considered to compensate for one another.
After several years during which the Covid pandemic had a major impact on the transport system and our travel habits, the spread of the virus came to an end in early 2022, and it did become possible to lift the travel restrictions shortly thereafter, and both foreign and domestic travel rebounded. New challenges associated with dramatic rises in fuel and energy prices, a parts shortage in the automotive industry and closed-off air spaces affecting air traffic between Asia and Europe arose instead in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The impact objective has been negatively affected by a decline in new car sales, which can be attributed in part to worsened economic prospects due to the war. During 2022 there were also persistent supply chain problems stemming from the pandemic, which led to increases in waiting times for new vehicles. Shortages of critical metals and materials in the coming years pose a risk of further impacting supply chains, which could delay the electrification process. The longer flight paths to Asia have naturally had a negative climate impact as well, even though international flights are not, strictly speaking, included in Sweden’s climate reporting. Higher fuel prices and inflation as a consequence of the war are negatively affecting the functional objective, as financial affordability is being degraded. The lengthy flight times to Asia are also reducing affordability.
Neither under- nor over-internalisation of the marginal costs of transport favour socioeconomic efficiency. The skew that seems to exist indicates that far too much transportation is being done with lorries, and that vehicle traffic in urban areas should be decreased compared to current levels. This under-internalisation is notably lower outside urban areas, which means that transport activities there are bearing their costs to a greater degree than in urban traffic. In the case of EVs driven in rural areas, their operation is considered to be even over-internalised by a few öre per person/kilometre.
The evolution of the transport system is contributing to Sweden’s progress towards some of the global sustainability goals outlined in Agenda 2030. For example, our greenhouse gas emissions have decreased, and the number of traffic fatalities is diminishing over time. But there are also challenges, i.e. the affordability of transport is decreasing for those with low incomes, and the transport system is not moving in the desired direction in terms of accessibility and standards.
Compared with earlier years, Transport Analysis’s assessments regarding most of the 15 indicators on which the follow-up is based remain valid. This pertains to The transport system’s standards and reliability, which is now deemed to have trended negatively compared to when the objectives were adopted. It also pertains to Usability by everyone in the transport system and Accessibility – other personal transport, both of which are considered in this year’s follow-up to be at levels equivalent to those present when the objectives were adopted, which is a more positive assessment than last year.