Work Place Location, Transport and Urban Competitiveness: the Oslo Case
Ove Langeland, Institute of Transport Economics, Frants Gundersen, Institute of Transport Economics, Jørgen Aarhaug, Institute of Transport Economics
This paper examine where firms and industries locate in the Oslo region, how this relate to land-use and transport needs and, how the interplay between localisation and transport may have impact on urban competitiveness.
This paper focuses on the relation between urban competitiveness, firm localisation and transport. It examines where firms and industries locate in the Oslo region, how this is related to land-use and transport needs and, how the interplay between localisation and transport may have impact on urban competitiveness.
The Oslo region aims to be an attractive city for both businesses and people, i.e. to be an “engine of growth” and to be a liveable and sustainable city region. In order to do so the city region is eager to upgrade its business environment and skill base and, particularly its transport infrastructures which is regarded as important for attracting and retaining innovative and profitable firms and industries and a well-educated and creative workforce. A successful city region will achieve both a high productivity and employment rate, high wages and high GDP per capita.
Regional and urban competitiveness often refers to agglomeration and spatial clustering. There are several possible advantages related to this, such as - shared costs for infrastructure, the build-up of a skilled labour force, transaction efficiency, and knowledge spillovers leading to firm learning and innovation. Location of firms and industries, therefore, is important for urban competitiveness and, transport infrastructure may foster economic development through its ability to nurture agglomeration in related industries. Knowledge industries are, for instance, assumed to be particularly dependent on a well-functioning transport system, which promote high mobility of labour and competence.
The paper focuses on why some parts of a city region are more attractive than other parts and discuss the following questions:
Does people follow jobs, or do jobs follow people – is urban transformation and location of jobs due to migration of individuals and household, or does it come from shifts in the location of firms and industries?
How does the commuting pattern and access to transport systems vary between industries (specific focus on knowledge industries)?
Do firms and industries locate at transport hubs, or do such hubs develop as a consequence of workplace concentration (focus on proximity and accessibility)?
The paper draws on several theoretical approaches and data sources. The analytical framework builds on economic geography, agglomeration and location theory. Data comes from both quantitative and qualitative sources, such as register data on firms and industries, commuting and travel survey data, interviews with industries and policy makers and planners.
The paper concludes the discussion by pointing at some main factors, which may explain the complex relations between urban competitiveness, firm localisation and transport systems. Accessibility and transport system are undoubtedly important for city attractiveness and industrial development and this may vary between industries. An efficient transport system, therefore, is probably necessary but not sufficient for making specific parts of a city attractive for specific industries. Several other location factors related to labour, land, capital, and managerial and technical skills etc. will also shape firm’s locations and city attractiveness and competitiveness.
Association for European Transport