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Old Posted Nov 15, 2009, 4:20 AM
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The road to success

The road to success


EU Infrastructure talks with Ingemar Skogö, Director General of the Swedish Road Administration, about the challenges of managing a national road network.

EUI: International surveys have shown that Sweden has a comparatively low traffic accident rate. To what do you attribute your success in this area?

I.S.: We have worked patiently on this issue, together with many partners, and on many fronts; our work on higher traffic safety started as early as the 1950s in Sweden. But we still have a long way to go to reach our vision. Today, Sweden has a high usage of safety belts, a low percentage of drunk driving and we have improved the road infrastructure – the addition of centre guardrails on the roads is just one example of that. Fortunately for us, the Swedish car fleet consists of safe cars and Sweden has car manufacturers that are interested in safety issues.

EUI: The number of cars on European roads has surged in recent years, leading to increased congestion and rising pollution levels. Is this a problem in Sweden? What solution are you exploring to address some to these issues?"

I.S.: In some Swedish regions – mostly in the bigger cities, such as Stockholm and Gothenburg – we have congestion and pollution to the extent that it causes problems. In an effort to combat this, Stockholm has a congestion tax for the inner city zone. Congestion tax is also under discussion in Gothenburg.

We also manage different kinds of traffic information that the drivers can receive, both through the radio and via our traffic management system, and provide data for navigation systems. Where possible, we adjust the road design to maximise the capacity of the roads and, together with municipalities, cities and other partners, try to improve the conditions for other transportation modes such as combination terminals for goods, and improvements for cycling and public transportation.

The pollution levels have generally improved through the combination of several of the above measures. From time to time, we unfortunately experience problems with high levels of particles along the roads in periods of dense traffic. This is mainly due to our winter roads and the high usage of studded tyres. As a result, we are working on new ways of decreasing the spread of particles, as well as a reduced usage of studded tyres.
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