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A crack in the Swedish welfare façade?: A review of assessing social impacts in transport infrastructure planning
KMV Forum AB.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7828-3640
Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, Society, environment and transport, Mobility, actors and planning processes.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1577-8793
2018 (English)In: Progress in Planning, ISSN 0305-9006, E-ISSN 1873-4510Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

A comparison of social impact categorisation in strategic planning across European Union Member States shows that Sweden neither categorises nor breaks down categories of social impact in areas such as transport infrastructure development. This article accordingly studies how social issues are handled during transport infrastructure planning. An analysis of different source materials will answer four research questions:

  1. To what extent are social impacts integrated into environmental impact assessment (EIA) reports?
  2. Are social impacts sufficiently integrated and/or does this treatment simply amount to ‘good practice’?
  3. Can any trend be detected over time in terms of addressing social issues in impact assessments?
  4. What key measures could increase the influence of social impact issues on transport infrastructure planning practice?

The study involved a content analysis of six EIA handbooks and EIA statements (EISs) for 18 large transport infrastructure projects. The concepts searched for in these documents largely apply to issues of vulnerability, health, social problems, perceived safety, and alienation. Our data were interpreted through the theoretical lens of institutional interplay. We found that though social aspects are not new considerations in EIA research, they are included in only a small proportion of the 18 Swedish EISs, mostly in connection with health and accessibility. We also found that the more recent documents allotted less space to social issues. It is unlikely that most individuals in the organisations that order EISs, or the consultancies that write them, are unaware of the broader interpretation of ‘human beings’ which includes social aspects.

The conclusion is that in the absence of a government initiative to clarify how social impacts can be addressed in transport infrastructure planning, there is a need for an external network for organisations involved in transport infrastructure EISs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier Ltd , 2018.
Keywords [en]
Transport, Planning, Social factors, Environmental impact assessment study, Safety, Health, Sociology, Accessibility, Organization (administration), Transport authority
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
10 Road: Transport, society, policy and planning
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:vti:diva-13558DOI: 10.1016/j.progress.2018.11.001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85058710730OAI: oai:DiVA.org:vti-13558DiVA, id: diva2:1284032
Available from: 2019-01-30 Created: 2019-01-30 Last updated: 2019-03-15Bibliographically approved

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Antonson, HansLevin, Lena

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