Background and challenge

Background and challenge

Efficient transport is important
The Forum for Innovation in the Transport Sector brings together stakeholders wishing to play a part in creating a climate of innovation that will enable common solutions to be achieved. Our reason for doing this is that Sweden needs efficient transport. We want – and need – to be able to travel: to get to work, to deal with the practicalities of everyday living, and to get away from it all and relax. A well-functioning transport system is also a crucial factor if Swedish companies are to survive in the future. That goes for every type of transport – by road and rail, by sea and by air.

For a country like Sweden, transport issues are particularly important. Partly because of our dependence on exports, with the automotive sector a key part of the country’s industrial structure. And partly because of our geographical distance from major markets, which means that Swedish companies have to pay more for transport, making it harder for them to compete. On top of that, there is a risk of transport costs rising, as our safety and environmental standards become increasingly stringent. These are challenges which no stakeholder in the transport sector is able to meet single-handed. The Forum for Innovation in the Transport Sector therefore brings together all stakeholders, across the different modes of transport, that want to help solve the problems that we share.

The challenge is a difficult one, though. We need to smooth the way for our import and export industries, and to free up the traffic bottlenecks that threaten to bring functioning transport to a standstill. But we also need to find alternatives to today’s fuels, to reduce the risk of shortages in the future – which could dramatically increase transport costs.

Climate change is another major challenge which the sector is actively seeking to address. Transport already accounts for almost a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union. The trend, moreover, is towards growing demand for transport in the future. If nothing is done, emissions of a range of harmful substances will increase, posing potential threats to both human health and the environment. In response to this challenge, Sweden has set itself a goal of achieving a fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030.

Meanwhile, global trade is changing. Europe is no longer automatically the centre of the world. This is clear in shipping, which is now centred in the South China Sea, while aviation increasingly has the Arabian Peninsula as its hub. This could leave Sweden, along with the rest of Europe, a more peripheral part of the world. As major markets end up further and further away, there is a growing risk that everything we buy will become more expensive. But also the things we want to sell.

Sweden also has significant advantages, however. Within the country, we have all the knowledge and skills we need to develop our transport system in the right direction. Sweden’s business sector, universities and government agencies have world-leading capabilities in everything from vehicle development and logistics to environment, transport safety and spatial planning.