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On the right track? Reviewing the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Transport Agency (2015:14)

In 2009 and 2010, several organisational changes were carried out among the authorities in the transport sector. Based on the changes, Statskontoret has been commissioned by the Government to review the operations and results of the Swedish Transport Agency (Transportstyrelsen) and the Swedish Transport Administration Trafikverket). In this report, Statskontoret looks at the detailed questions presented in our interim report 2014:33.

The Swedish Transport Agency

The Swedish Transport Agency was formed in order to improve the conditions for transmodal learning and uniformity between modes of transport in the provision of regulations and supervision. The authority is also required to have simple and effective regulatory frameworks. Statskontoret has reviewed how the Transport Agency has worked towards achieving this and studied the authority's market surveillance.

Operations are developing on the right track, but shortcomings do exist

Statskontoret's assessment is that the Transport Agency has worked towards fulfilling the requirements with regard to simple regulatory frameworks, transmodal learning and uniformity between modes of transport by means of successive changes in working methods and organisation. The activities that we have studied are generally developing in the right direction. At the same time, the follow-up shows that there are shortcomings and challenges that the Transport Agency will have to solve.

The authority's administration and management have taken several initiatives to simplify the regulations in the transport sector. However, the transport sector criticises the Transport Agency for, in practice, regulating details and over regulating. According to Statskontoret, the management has not entirely managed to steer operations to ensure that they are in line with the authority's own strategy and goals.

Important to have functioning supervision of the Transport Administration

The follow-up shows that there have been shortcomings in the Transport Agency's supervision of the rail sector and in the supervision of the Transport Administration. Functioning and independent supervision is fundamental to maintaining safety in the transport sector. It is also important as to ensure that the Transport Agency's credibility as a regulator is not brought into question.

The Transport Agency is able to impose sanctions as part of its supervision of the Transport Administration and other government authorities; however, this can be too blunt a tool in certain situations, and there is a risk of sanctions not being fully imposed. We propose that the Government commission the Transport Agency or another issuer to analyse whether today's sanctions are appropriate, and to submit proposals for measures, if required.

The Transport Agency must develop its market surveillance

According to Statskontoret, market surveillance in the transport sector is a matter of improving the transport markets' way of functioning by following and analysing how they function, identifying problems and proposing measures. Since the authority was established, the Transport Agency has been enquiring into how it should interpret and operate market surveillance. Statskontoret believes that the authority needs to develop its supervision and it proposes that the authority initiates an internal overhaul of its activities. We also recommend that the Transport Agency increases its consultation with the Swedish Competition Authority in order to improve its working methods in the market surveillance.
Government should clarify the steering of the market surveillance.

The Government has not been clear enough in steering the market surveillance.

Statskontoret proposes that the Government clarifies the commission and expectations of the authority's initiatives. Among other things, the Government should clarify that the surveillance concerns the entire transport sector; it should also clarify that the requirements which are in the appropriation directions, state that the Transport Agency must develop initiatives in the area.

Statskontoret considers it difficult to assess what result the market surveillance has had on the transport markets. We therefore propose that the Government commission the Transport Agency to develop the review of the results of the supervision.

The Swedish Transport Administration

Among other things, the Swedish Transport Administration was formed in order to improve the conditions for transmodal planning and to achieve a higher level of productivity and a higher degree of innovation in the construction sector. In connection with its formation, however, there were apprehensions that the authority's size could entail difficulties steering it. Statskontoret has reviewed how the Transport Administration has worked with this in mind.

Better conditions for transmodal planning

Statskontoret's assessment is that the formation of the Transport Administration and the authority's way of organising the work has facilitated transmodal planning. The planning process has however become more resource intensive. One obstacle to transmodal planning which has been mentioned in our interviews is that the Transport Administration has a lack of expertise, primarily in the maritime and aviation sectors. Statskontoret thus recommends that the Transport Administration analyse how it will maintain sufficient knowledge of all modes of transport in its planning activities.

Uncertainty over how best to promote productivity and innovation in the construction market

In order to stimulate increased productivity and innovation in the construction sector, the Transport Administration strives to establish greater commitment among the actors in the sector. The authority has also coordinated and systematised its procurement work. The difficulties of measuring levels of productivity and innovation make it hard to determine whether the Transport Administration's measures have led to increased productivity or innovation. However, Statskontoret's assessment is that the work has probably led to cost reductions and that planning conditions on the construction market have improved.

Statskontoret recommends that the Transport Administration actively trial different measures in its ongoing work and vary its working methods based on the conditions in different segments of the construction market. In its dialogue with the Transport Administration, the Government should endeavour to reach a consensus on the authority's client role and the extent to which the activities can and should be run
in-house. The Transport Administration – a difficult authority to steer and organise

Statskontoret's assessment is that the Transport Administration's organisation and working methods are in line with the intentions expressed in government bills and committee reports, prior to the establishment of the authority. However, there are problems in the current organisation; for instance, the increased distance between higher management and other employees.¬ The Transport Administration should also address other shortcomings in the coordination between the different organisational areas.

Research and statistics in the transport sector

Work related to research and statistics has been brought forward as an area in which responsibility has not been clearly or appropriately distributed between the authorities in the transport sector. We have therefore analysed this in more detail.

Research responsibility is appropriately distributed but not all authorities have their own research funds

According to Statskontoret the distribution of responsibility for research and innovation among the authorities in the transport sector is clear, and that it provides good conditions for relevant research that can provide useful research findings.

With regard to research in the maritime and aviation sectors, there are earmarked funds in the Transport Administration's appropriation directions. This leads to ineffective administration. Statskontoret recommends that the Government investigate the opportunity to instead allocate the Swedish Maritime Administration and the Swedish civil aviation authority their own research funding.

Low risk of duplicate work in statistics

Statskontoret's assessment is that there is no unmotivated or extensive duplication of work in the transport sector, whether in data collection or statistics production. The concerned authorities coordinate the work within the scope of a "board of producers", which reduces the risk of duplicate work.