Policy Transfer of Public Transport Funding Schemes: the Case of Norway

Policy Transfer of Public Transport Funding Schemes: the Case of Norway


S J. Olsen, F Longva, Institute of Transport Economics, NO


This paper will assess whether public transport funding schemes used in one country can be applied in another country, using Norway as an illustrative example.


Ensuring proper financing mechanisms is today vital both for the development of public transport networks and to the sustainable development of urban areas. This motivates continuous improvements of public transport (PT) funding systems, and a quest for best practices. This paper will assess whether schemes and models of PT funding used in one country can be applied in another country. Norway will be used as an illustrative example for exploring what degree of acceptance; politically and culturally, and similarity; including legal and institutional factors, previous practices, and geographic and demographic characteristics, is necessary for successfully adopting funding schemes from other countries.

The transferability of a wide range of funding schemes will be considered, including, firstly, various subsidy schemes for operation and investment; secondly, different solutions of loaning; thirdly, tax schemes, including regional petrol tax, corporate tax, tax on employer paid parking, and (local) personal taxation. We also look at property development as a way of funding, in the form of land value capture solutions; and finally Public Private Partnerships and similar solutions.

We find that Norway constitutes a good case for studying transferability of PT funding schemes, firstly, because the country has been innovative in its construction of the PT funding system; the Ministry of Transport's incentive scheme to improve public transport and reduce the use of cars in urban areas being the most prominent example. Nation- specific funding systems and innovation willingness may enhance or hamper the possibilities of PT funding transfer. Secondly, although an inherently wealthy country, research and experience show that Norway has an increasing gap between public transport investment and maintenance needs, and the funding allocated to this task. This may of course be due to a lack of political concern, but it may also be due to the Norwegian administrative model; where county councils are responsible for public transport, highly dependent on state grants, and arguably in need of a strengthening of their ability to obtain own funding.

The transferability of international PT funding schemes in the Norwegian context will be explored by, firstly, describing the Norwegian PT funding system and discussing inherent possibilities and limitations of this system. Secondly, categorizing different types of funding schemes and the types of barriers they are expected to encounter. Thirdly, considering how advantages and disadvantages of funding schemes and the PT measures linked to them are distributed. Finally, discussing whether combining funding measures in nation- specific policy packages can result in combinations that remedy the shortcomings of an individual measure. This discussion will be linked to the Norwegian case in particular; by including inputs from decision- making actors in the three largest Norwegian cities; Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, and to policy transfer in general; by pointing out the principal lessons learned.


Association for European Transport