In their proposal, vehicle manufacturers and transport companies must show that their vehicles are also adapted to all other rules and laws that regulate traffic safety in Sweden.
- And it is not easy for someone who is an outsider to keep track of all the rules that must be followed! notes Patrik Sveder.
Funding from Vinnova
The result has been long processing times where applications have to be supplemented again and again, often due to insufficient information and ignorance, which has delayed the pilot projects. This in turn increases the costs for the companies and delays the application of the new technology.
In order to try to find a solution to the situation, Vinnova granted support to the research institute RISE. The goal was to invite both public authority and concerned companies to dialogue in 2018, to jointly see if policy innovation could be a way out of this dilemma. The effort was made within the framework of the Vinnova effort on the government's partnership programmes "Next generation travel and transportation" and the national project "Krabat", coordinated by the innovation program Drive Sweden.
Knowledge of each other's problems
- Everyone wanted to move forward, but we also saw that on both sides we had a lack of communication and skills regarding each other's conditions, says Maria Schnurr, senior researcher at RISE.
- The Swedish Transport Agency is the last person who wants to stand in the way of new technology and development, but at the same time they have a responsibility to ensure that Swedish traffic and the vehicles that move in traffic are safe. We saw working in a policy lab where you interact with each other and together try to find ways forward as a good solution.
Under the leadership of RISE, a mapping of the problem was therefore carried out, where all actors were allowed to speak and present their view on the whole thing.
- I thought it was very positive because we at the Swedish Transport Agency felt a need to hear and understand what the various stakeholders think and have needs, says Patrik Sveder.
- There have been tough processes for everyone involved and it has been clear that we have not fully understood each other. In addition, we are in a situation where the stakeholders need help to understand our regulations, but we cannot sit on two chairs and be both a consultant and an auditor.
The collaboration resulted in a smooth process
The result of the collaboration was that several participants put forward an idea that a third, independent party is needed who knows the regulations and who can assist the vehicle manufacturers in contact with the Swedish Transport Agency. In this way, the authority would avoid being overwhelmed with work due to incomplete applications, and the applicant would avoid the additional cost and delay that a protracted application process entails.
- I think it was great that we all got to meet and discuss these issues, says Patrik Sveder.
- Personally, I have realized, for example, that we need to give our stakeholders in this area a completely different type of information on our website than we do today. The hope is that together we can look at how we can make the process easier and smoother for everyone involved.