Knowledge production for transport policies in the information society

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Insinööritieteiden ja arkkitehtuurin tiedekunta | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
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Verkkokirja (523 KB, 69 s.)
VTT publications, 719
This dissertation explores and analyses the challenges and needs that developments in the information society are bringing to knowledge production supporting policy development and strategic decision making in the field of transport. Currently, the context of transport policies is about to shift from a transport infrastructure network design towards the development of a large socio-technical system, depending largely on ICT technology and applications. Dynamic decision making clusters or networks, consisting of different actors and having a variety of goals, are growing around policy items or transport system innovations, and they need information and knowledge as the basis for their mutual decisions. This development will change the roles of the different actors within the system as well as the nature of strategies and measures. My key argument is that in this new context the traditional, analytical knowledge production approaches (such as "planning" and "impact assessment", referring to infrastructure investments and project appraisals) are alone not sufficient in providing the knowledge needed to understand the socio-technical nature of the transport system or the dynamics between the different actors, as a basis for transport policy development. The knowledge provided to make informed transport decisions needs to include, in addition to the traditional issues, also new forms to serve the needs of a wider variety of societal actors. Based on the field of science and technology studies (STS), which aims to illuminate the relationship between knowledge and political power as well as investigating the place of science and technology in society, I have identified five emerging forms that I consider relevant to transport policy knowledge production in the future. These are knowledge production through system-based foresight, knowledge production through system-based evaluation, knowledge production in networks, knowledge production as processes of social learning and argumentation, and knowledge production as a source of renewal. Further, I have identified the basic characteristics of these forms. I believe that the presented forms can shed light on the relationships between knowledge production, policy making and the society, which may lead to the implementation of new, socially embedded ways of developing transport systems and policies. The dissertation also presents implications of these emerging knowledge production forms for transport policy and business development (in Finland) and related future research needs. The thesis is an article dissertation including four scientific papers (Papers I-IV) and this summary chapter, bringing together and elaborating further on the ideas of the individual papers.
transport policy, knowledge production, information society, transport system
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  • [Publication 1]: Anu Tuominen and Toni Ahlqvist. 2010. Is the transport system becoming ubiquitous? Socio-technical roadmapping as a tool for integrating the development of transport policies and intelligent transport systems and services in Finland. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, volume 77, number 1, pages 120-134. © 2009 Elsevier Science. By permission.
  • [Publication 2]: A. Tuominen, T. Järvi, J. Räsänen, A. Sirkiä, and V. Himanen. 2007. Common preferences of different user segments as basis for intelligent transport system: case study – Finland. IET Intelligent Transport Systems, volume 1, number 2, Special Issue: Selected papers from the 13th World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems and Services, pages 59-68. © 2007 The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). By permission.
  • [Publication 3]: Anu Tuominen and Veli Himanen. 2007. Assessing the interaction between transport policy targets and policy implementation—A Finnish case study. Transport Policy, volume 14, number 5, pages 388-398. © 2007 Elsevier Science. By permission.
  • [Publication 4]: Anu Tuominen, Jacques Leonardi, and Christophe Rizet. 2008. Assessing the Fitness-For-Purpose of strategic transport research in support of European transport policy. European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research, volume 8, number 3, pages 183-200. © 2008 Delft University of Technology. By permission.