THE IMPACT OF FIXED LINK PROJECTS ON CHANGES IN LAND USE CHARACTERISTICS - FOUR CASE STUDIES FROM NORWAY
Stig Nyland Andersen, Norwegian Public Roads Administration/Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Maria Diez Gutierrez, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Oyvind Lervik Nilsen,
Fixed link projects have impacts on land use characteristics and hence in transportation. We observe empirical evidences to analyse if the initial size of a town/settlement can explain differences in development patterns caused by fixed links.
The aim of this paper is to address the question of how fixed link projects impact on land use characteristics in non-urban areas in the case of Norway. Fixed link projects are projects where car ferries connecting two destinations are replaced by a bridge or a tunnel. There are many such links along the Norwegian west coast and they are readily characterized into two groups: (1) fixed links that link smaller towns/settlements to cities and, (2) fixed links that link smaller towns/settlements together and/or improving national roads. An interesting feature with fixed links is that they reduce travel time tremendously since they remove waiting time, diminish the question of reliability and punctuality, shorten routes and increase speed of travel. Their wider impacts are that people get access to larger labour markets and the industries obtain a greater recruitment base for qualified work force. Fixed links can also lead to relocations and new establishment of housing and commercial activities as a result of the overall reduction in the generalized cost of transport. Fixed links are therefore regarded as an incentive for regional development.
The simulation of fixed link projects in transport models in Norway has however shown some inconsistencies as compared to actual observations. Traffic counts for instance, have shown that the forecasted traffic is often overly over-/underestimated. These mismatches might be caused by the models not dealing with changes in land use characteristics beyond general growth. Housing, employment, and population are examples of such features which may be affected when establishing fixed links. Our previous studies, where such characteristics have been considered, have shown that fixed links linking towns to cities/urban areas i.e., type 1 projects; affects the development of the settlement and commercial activities.
In this paper, we move a step further and consider fixed links of type 2 i.e., those that link small towns/settlements together and/or improving national roads. A general question that we ask is: are the impacts of the same type as those observed with regards to fixed link of type 1 in terms of changes in land use characteristics? We formulate this question into several hypotheses such as, fixed links increase interaction between affected areas; housing markets in the areas close to fixed links become more attractive etc.,.
The methodology that we use is a time series analyses that accounts for traffic growth, commuting patterns, commercial developments, housing market, and population growth both for periods before and after the fixed link was built and opened for traffic. We do this for four different case studies situated in the western part of Norway. This enables a comparison such that some general conclusions can be drawn.
Our results indicate that fixed link that serve smaller settlements impact land use characteristics differently as compared to those that serve cities/urban areas. The differences are both in the magnitudes and composition of the land use characteristics. We illustrate the differences found across the 4 cases studied in comparison to those that have been found with regards to type 1 projects. We argue, irrespective of project type, that land use impacts should be an integral part of any transport analysis for more accurate assessment of fixed links.
Stig Nyland Andersen, Norwegian Public Roads Administration/Norwegian University of Science and Technology
María Díez Gutiérrez, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Øyvind Lervik Nilsen, Rambøll Norge AS/Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Trude Tørset, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Association for European Transport