On the 12th of April the Vital Nodes urban node workshop was held in Gothenburg. Within this workshop nineteen participants discussed the facts and figures, challenges and (impact of possible) solutions of the urban node Gothenburg. The workshop looked at the (inter)national, regional / functional area and local scale.
The discussion focused on the challenges of and solutions for the urban node Gothenburg in particular on the relation between infrastructure and spatial planning and the possibilities for funding and funding mechanisms. The following facts and figures as well as identified challenges reconfirmed during workshop centre around
- conflicting interests between growth and coexistence in the city;
- lack of coordination and cooperation among different areas of responsibility;
- the many physical barriers in the city centre of Gothenburg;
- competing transport flows;
- accessibility issues for the airport;
- a lack of understanding on what a vital urban node (especially Gothenburg) is.
Discussions were fed with several good practices, such as Port of Gothenburg – relocation of rail terminals and rail shuttles/intermodal transport, the Cable Car project, ElectriCity, examples from France as Monoprix and Chapelle International and from the Netherlands a.o. City terminal Waal-Eemhaven and Living Lab Approach. The workshop results will be input for knowledge exchange and project recommendations. Participants have the opportunity to submit further input on good practices and impact also after the workshop.
Interconnection between infrastructure networks
In and around the city of Gothenburg the same infrastructure is used for local, regional and (inter)national freight and passenger transport. When all these different networks need more capacity, as it might be the case with the growing amount of freight from the port and commuters from suburbs, bottlenecks can appear, e.g. a shortage of commuter rail lines results in an increase of road use.
Solving bottlenecks in the city centre
Freight and passenger flows on the local, regional and (inter)national scales are interconnected in the city centre of Gothenburg, causing a bottleneck on all scales. By completing the ring road of Gothenburg the long distance flows can be separated from local flows, increasing the robustness and vulnerability of the network. Besides, this can have positive effects on liveability issues in the city.
Awareness of the urban node function
There is little awareness of the role of the urban node Gothenburg in the TEN-T network. Within the transport planning department of Gothenburg the focus is making local aspects function well. On the other scales, the focus is more on the connections between Gothenburg and the rest of Sweden and Scandinavia. Focus is less on the rest of the Scandinavian-Mediterranean corridor.
Opportunity of logistics
Logistics is not often considered as something that can add value to the quality of the city and region. Gothenburg has a few really good initiatives such as shifting the rail terminals from the city centre to the port reducing the amount of heavy transports through the city centre. A second example is the ElectriCity project on route 55 combining comfortable transport with spatial aspects and a parcel collection point. So, logistics can bring opportunities to combine functions on for example the last-mile.
Eye opener, sit more together
It is really important to cooperate and plan together. Developing a clear vision and closer local-regional cooperation can help to speak with one voice to the national government. Focus should be on aligning the plans from the city, the region, the national level and all other partners. In these plans integration of infrastructure and spatial planning should be kept in mind.