Challenges for Europe and North America
Edited by Karst T. Geurs, Kevin J. Krizek and Aura Reggiani
Chapter 10: A bridge over troubled waters: valuing accessibility effects of a new bridge
In Norway, the sea and numerous fjords act as significant barriers to transport. This is particularly problematic since the spatial distribution of jobs and people still reflects, to some extent, a time when transport was predominantly by water. Our aim in this chapter is to explore the accessibility effects of bridging such topological barriers. We also highlight some of the modelling troubles which can be encountered when conducting such analysis. We examine the case of a large infrastructure investment which took place in a relatively rural region in southwest Norway. We consider one part of the project, which replaced a ferry with two suspension bridges linking two islands (Stord and Bomlo). The entire investment project, known as Trekantsambandet (the Triangular Connection), was designed to meet a variety of needs. In the long term, it is part of a project to increase the connectivity between different areas of western Norway, in particular the cities of Stavanger, Haugesund and Bergen. Stavanger and Bergen are among the largest cities in Norway. On a local scale, it was hoped that reducing the travelling time between the islands would lead to a more integrated labour market. Increasing accessibility to the labour market in this way was felt to be important since many less connected municipalities in the region have experienced depopulation. It was hoped that the new infrastructure would help prevent this from happening. Our questions therefore are: What has been the effect of the investment on accessibility? and, What is the value of this effect? We will focus our attention on the labour market accessibility effects.
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