Skip to content

Meet our Scientific Advisory Board: Karolina Isaksson

Karolina Isaksson is Professor of Transport Policy and Planning at VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute) and Adjunct Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Karolina has more than 20 years of experience in social science research on governance and planning for sustainable transport and sustainable urban development with a focus on both national, regional and municipal levels. Her research includes analyses of how climate and sustainability perspectives are integrated into policy and planning related to long-term development of transport infrastructure and the built environment. Further research areas concern the conditions for developing and strengthening transformative capacity to work purposefully to meet climate and sustainability goals in public policy and planning, where issues of political leadership and the dynamics between politics, administration and citizens’ perspectives are central issues. Karolina is currently also working as Deputy Program Manager for the Mistra SAMS (sustainable accessibility and mobility services) research program.

What are the main infrastructure challenges in your area?

– In Sweden, we have several known challenges when it comes to strategic planning of transport infrastructure, including lagging maintenance that has negatively affected not least the rail network, and which is a problem when there is also a need to shift more traffic (both freight and passenger transport) to rail. We also see that climate change is affecting maintenance needs – sometimes in ways that are partly unpredictable because we have no previous experience of certain types of weather phenomena. An important task for public policy and planning actors is to be able to relate to a partly uncertain future characterized by deep uncertainty regarding climate, sustainable development, geopolitical situation, etc. and at the same time develop planning processes that lead to long-term goal achievement. The type of transdisciplinary approach found in Mistra InfraMaint provides important conditions for both broad and deep learning, which is necessary given the challenges facing society.