3 countries, 4 metropolitan cities, including 2 capitals; this is The Scandinavian 8 Million City. 8 million of Scandinavia's19, 3 million inhabitants live in the corridor between Oslo and Copenhagen.
The goal for 2025 –not so distant future – is a high speed rail link that will physically connect these 8 million inhabitantsand contribute to making this region one of the world's most competitive.
The region is already in the world's topleague when it comes to an educated and skilled workforce, and represents oneof the most dynamic an innovative regions in Europe. Scandinavian cities have,however, got small and rather dispersed populations, with notableconcentrations only around the metropolitan areas of Oslo, Göteborg, Malmö,Copenhagen and Stockholm. In a world were regions increase in size to attracttalent and be more competitive globally, this is a challenge.
As economic activity increasingly takes placeon a global scale, the emergence of new strategic areas and networks becomesapparent, resulting in the development of new organizational structures andcross border regions. City regions have become the engines in developing theknowledge and information based community. Their performance andcompetitiveness rely on connectivity, knowledge, quality of life, urbandiversity and image.
The development of The Scandinavian 8 MillionCity is rooted in the philosophy that collaboration forms a firm basis fordevelopment in a globalised world. By exploring the potential of cooperation,jobs can be created and innovation milieus can be enhanced. Cooperation overlong distances requires an appropriate infrastructure, both for passengers andfreight. Whilst Europe and the world have been expanding their greeninfrastructure to stimulate growth – through massive investment in High SpeedRail, for example – such investment has been slow to progress in Scandinavia.
Corridor of Innovation and Cooperation(#COINCO) is a strategic development project working to improve infrastructurefor transport and innovation and business in the corridor, creating the Scandinavian8 Million City.
The overarching objective of the project is topromote sustainable economic growth by reducing travel time, create new arenasfor business cooperation, stimulate closer academic cooperation and strengthenthe marketing of the region as an attractive location.
With this motivation, the project takes astrategic approach and will, by illustrating the benefits of a world classgreen and multimodal transport system, secure that the national authorities in Denmark,Sweden and Norway reach a common decision regarding investments in Inter Cityand High Speed Rail.
The partners are the majority of the local andregional authorities as well as three government agencies in the corridorbetween Oslo, Gothenburg and Copenhagen, and this is an extended continuationof the partnership in a precedent project, hence the name COINCO (Corridor ofinnovation and cooperation) North II.
The Scandinavian 8 million City is co-fundedby the EU. The project was approved for funding through the Interreg IV AÖresund-Kattegat-Skagerak programme in Deember 2011, and will be running untilautumn 2014.
Organization and scope of the project
The project is organized in three workpackages:
Work package 1, Inter City trains and Green Freight Corridor, focuses on short termmilestones regarding the existing Inter-City network. Upgrading it to doubletrack standard in the whole corridor will create more capacity for both passengersand freight, increase the potential to gain a higher market share and preparefor a high-speed rail future. The leadership is shared by Akershus CountyCouncil and the Capital Region of Denmark.
Work package 2, HighSpeed Rail, the focus will be onfinancing models to build separate tracks for highspeed rail. The major visionis a high-speed rail line that will allow a traveler to leave Oslo CentralStation and arrive in Copenhagen approximately 140 minutes later. The City ofOslo and Skåne Regional Council will be in charge.
Given that the overall objective of theproject is to secure binding resolutions for the transport sector, work package 3 is dedicated to externalcommunications and lobbying activities. By identifying influential key actorsin the transport sector, such as national and European politicians, bureaucratsand NGOs, and producing targeted information, this work package's main goal isthat Danish, Swedish and Norwegian authorities reach a common and historicaldecision regarding investments in a Scandinavian High Speed Rail line. Skåne Regional Council is in charge of theleadership.
The Norwegian project leader, The City ofOslo, and the EU Lead Partner, Business Region Göteborg, is in lead of theproject management, including reporting, coordinating work, etc.