Ice and restrictive land use policies problems for urban water transit

Water transit is the public transport form that increases mostly in Sweden's two largest cities. Still, it's sluggish. Weather and wind and overly restrictive laws and regulations on land use are slowing down the development. This is stated in an article from KTH published in the scientific journal Transportation Research Record.


Between 2011 and 2016, the number of travelers increased by 49 percent in Stockholm's waterborne public transport. In Göteborg, the increase was even greater - 78 percent. However, this does not mean that ferry traffic constitutes a major part of public transport in the country's two largest cities. In Gothenburg it is almost one percent, even less in Stockholm states the article ”Water Transit and Ferry-Oriented Development in Sweden: Comparisons with System Trends in Australia”.

It is written by Lighthouse postdoctor Michael Tanko and Harsha Cheemakurthy, both at the KTH, and Matthew I. Burke of Griffith University, Australia and has three related aims: i) to compare the development of water transit in Swedish and Australian cities, ii) to compare changes in patronage over time, and iii) to analyze the role of ferry-oriented development (FOD) and planning policy effects on water transit development. The  approach is exploratory and comparative, and the writers use the cases of Stockholm and Gothenburg in Sweden with comparison to Brisbane and Sydney in Australia.

Integration of water transit with land use plans in FOD varies, with Brisbane and Sydney embarking on large-scale waterfront and transit plans focused on economic development. In Sweden integration with land use remains in the early stages, with ad hoc terminal location and restrictive land use being limiting factors, especially in Stockholm. There are also conflicting strategies toward FOD in Gothenburg. Better conceptualization of land use implications for development of water transit planning is therefore suggested.
Also, an efficient year-round vessel operation is an ongoing challenge in planning water trans- port in Sweden due to ice conditions.