Jan Owe-Larsson is the Chairman AERs working group on Transports & Mobility and the second vice-chair of Region Östergötland’s Transport and Urban Planning Committee. The AER working group aims for smart and connected regions and has recently broadened its activities to better grasp the potential and address issues and barriers for regions. With the digitalisation of the economy and the growing weight of data management, the working group now looks at themes such as connectivity and permeability (in particular intelligent transport systems, seamless transport services; -freight management & data; smart green infrastructure; financing of infrastructure; follow up of the regulation of state aid and regional airports.
Jan Owe-Larsson is particularly interested in leading the AER work on transport and mobility as this is also a key topic for Östergötland and Sweden in general. The construction of Sweden’s first high-speed train tracks is planned for 2017 with the region of Östergötland right at the heart of the project. The tracks will run between the capital – Stockholm – and the second and third largest cities, Gothenburg and Malmö. The first 150 kilometers running from Järna outside of Stockholm to Linköping, the biggest town of Östergötland. This part of the tracks is called Ostlänken (“the Eastern link”) and is hugely important for the region as the trains will have the possibility of stopping at stations in both of the region’s biggest towns.
“This investment is highly important for Sweden as it will shorten travel time between the three largest cities and the cities in between them, and because there isn’t enough room on the tracks that we currently have. Two new tracks will increase the ability of both freight and passenger trains to be on time and the improved conditions for commuting will boost economic growth. For Östergötland, less congested train traffic will be good for regional commuter trains which are currently being down-prioritized and new stations for commuter trains may be opened in the region”, says Jan-Owe-Larsson.
Sweden’s largest infrastructural investment in 150 years will mainly be financed by the Swedish national level through direct financing and loans, and there are also negotiations taking place regarding in what way municipalities along the tracks can contribute. Some of the financing is expected to come from EU programs.
Exciting times are ahead for Sweden and Östergötland, and we are looking forward to seeing the big project be taken under way.