Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Independant Study Project - ISP

This has been the main reason behind my selection of Norway and the SUST program.

ISP- Scandinavian Public Transport

After our class visit to Copenhagen, I became interested in studying the major public transport systems of the three major Scandinavian Countries in the order our class has interacted with them: Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. The analysis will follow a compare and contrast of the systems with the following guidelines:

• Population – the size of the three capitols varies, how has this shaped their transport systems and what challenges has it provided?
• Size of Geographic area – this can be linked to population and size can be measured in hectors or square miles. This section could also feature geographical challenges for example Oslo’s Fjords and difficulties with Tunneling or because of Copenhagen with no geographic boundaries and no hills and what challenges this has presented to planners.
• The Age of the System – age is important in determining popular support and continued improvements. If the system is associated with failure, it is likely that it could fall victim to privatization. Age also has factors in condition of lines and decisions behind infrastructure improvements such as tunneling underground important sites for Metro lines.
• Sources of funding – How much of their funding comes from fair box recovery, how much is Nationally subsidized, what political institutions control them, is their a Minister of transport that oversees these operations, etc.
• Modes of transport – this would include all rolling stock of metro lines, busses, trams etc. Some of the major manufactures that have contracted with these services could be mentioned.
• The future of these systems – this would be the final chapter, expressing challenges these systems face be it in expansion, waning political support for public subsidy as is the example in Norway from the Progress Party, pressures of privatization. How will Norway’s EU membership (if it occurs) affect public transport, how are Denmark’s and Swden’s already affected.

My motivation to switching to Scandinavia and its three major capitol is to try to tie closer into the goals of the program. Tim and I have talked about how there is continuing pressures of cooperation in the Nordic countries. One of these players is the Nordic Council Ministers, whom we met with a representative of while in Denmark. It would be interesting to find out how this organization plays a role in transport. The motivation for the selection of capitol cities, is because they have the largest concentrations of people and activity requiring transport. And lastly, I would like to take back what I learn from this analysis and apply them to transport policies and infrastructure development in the Twin Cities, which was one of the main anchors in my reason for coming to Norway.

I continue to face challenges with the Norwegian Language in terms of research. Progress is being made in the volunteer placement, though I feel time is continuing to slip away. This will be the last change of the ISP. The end result will be a 15-20 page paper as stated in the syllabus in the program, and as a benefit to future SUST students a power point presentation summarizing the three major systems will also be presented.

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