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Finding constructive solutions for reducing car traffic in Gothenburg: new project


Sofie Hellberg, who holds a PhD in Peace and Development Research, has been awarded SEK 2.8 million from the Swedish Energy Agency, for her new project Reduction of car use in Gothenburg: a prerequisite for combating climate change, but how? The project will commence in 2019 and run for a period of three years.

What is the project about?
“The aim of this project is to investigate conflicts of interests, challenges and constructive solutions for a reduction of car use by favouring walking and cycling in the City of Gothenburg. A transition in the transport system is necessary to combat climate change and the City of Gothenburg as high ambitions. Focus in our project will be placed on the relationship between infrastructure, identity/lifestyle and means of transport.”

“The study will begin with an analysis of the city’s climate and traffic strategies and conflicts of interests. A case study of the district of Majorna will be executed, which will include qualitative interviews with target groups and inhabitants and focus group discussions with committed citizens, as well as a study that specifically focuses on transports to and from schools. Constructive solutions will be drawn up together with target groups and reference persons with the aim of guiding policy and producing concrete measures.”

What do you hope your research will lead to?
“We want to identify conflicts of interests in relation to the city’s climate and environment strategies. This will be done by, for example, increased knowledge on how built environments affect people’s transportation choices, and what people’s choice of transportation means to them in terms of lifestyle and identity. We will also investigate how parents reason regarding transportation to and from their children’s schools. The outcome of the project will be to create a dialogue with relevant target groups and actors, and to identify constructive proposals for solutions on conflicts of interests and other obstacles, as well as communicating the results of the research project to relevant target groups and actors."

Why did you choose to study this?
"I will do the project together with Beniamin Knutsson, associate professor at the Department of Pedagogical, Curricular and Professional Studies. We have chosen to study this area as a reduction of transportation by cars is a crucial issue when it comes to Gothenburg’s measures against climate change, and as a reduction of car traffic would also lead to other benefits that could positively affect security, safety and social sustainability in the city."

Sofie Hellberg