International Transport Forum Discussion Papers

ITF Discussion Papers make economic research, commissioned or carried out in-house at the International Transport Forum, available to researchers and practitioners. They describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on a broad range of issues on which the ITF works.

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Public Transport Provision in Rural and Sparsely Populated Areas in Norway

Norway and Finland share several commonalities, being Nordic democracies with a population of 5.1 and 5.5 million and large rural areas. With decreasing population in rural areas, given aging and structural changes in society, both countries face challenges in trying to keep the costs of passenger transport services down while ensuring an adequate standard of service nationwide. Grappling with similar issues, experiences and information about different policies in Norway may provide useful information to the Finnish Government. This contribution therefore provides some insights into public transport provision in rural and depopulated areas in Norway, how the public authorities have attempted to solve efficiency issues while maintaining good quality services and related experiences sparsely populated rural areas. It includes aspects concerning the market of transport providers, user needs and political barriers of reform. In both Finland and Norway there are many different authorities that are responsible for the administration, procurement and planning of various passenger transport services. In both countries there are concerns with increasing costs and certain public authorities are interested in using coordination among different organisations in order to exploit potential savings, while retaining an adequate level of public services, also in rural areas. This working document includes references to Denmark, as certain Danish municipalities have coordinated their special transport services to a larger extent than in for example Norway.


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