Models, Environment and Manipulation: Power and Knowledge Filtering in the Decision-making process about the Third Limfjord Crossing

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Using the Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed Third Limfjord Crossing in Aalborg, Denmark as an example, this paper discusses how transport models can be designed, consciously or unconsciously, to be imbued with a political program of discrimination, causing forecasting error in transport infrastructure planning. Assuming that traffic growth would be the same regardless of whether or not a new motorway was constructed, the planners in the Limfjord case concluded that intolerable congestion would arise in the absence of increased road capacity. The paper discusses how the zero-alternative was fabricated through unrealistic assumptions of the Limfjord case traffic model about relevant causal mechanisms, and gives an outline of the planning and decision-making process in which the model was used. The paper concludes that a process of knowledge filtering has taken place, where state-of-the-art knowledge about induced and generated travel ended up being dismissed in the political and legal decision-making system.
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