Development of the SUNRA Tool to Improve Regional and Local Sustainability of the Transportation Sector

Yvonne Anderson-Sköld, Muhammad Amjad Afridi*, Lina Nordin, João Patricio, Åsa Lindgren, Carl Martin Johansson, Alexandra Olofsson, Angelica Andersson, Sigurdur Erlingsson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Highlights: What are the main findings? Framework for SDG-related target settings in transport infrastructure projects. Application of the framework promotes sustainability awareness and discussions. This and the performance follow-up ability contribute to a learning process. Drivers and barriers found at national, municipal and actor levels. Drivers and barriers change with new or harder regulations and requirements. What is the implication of the main finding? Improved sustainability awareness in infrastructure planning, design, construction, and maintenance. This contributes to improved sustainable infrastructure development. The Swedish Transport Administration’s request for using the framework and its applicability will contribute to the sustainable development of the road and railway infrastructure. Overcoming the barriers to applying the framework will improve sustainable infrastructure development in urban contexts. To fulfil the global sustainable development goals (SDGs), achieving sustainable development is becoming urgent, not least in the transportation sector. In response to this, the sustainability framework Sustainability National Road Administrations (SUNRA) was developed to contribute to improving the sustainability performance of national road administrations across Europe. In the present study, the framework has been tested, applied and further developed to be applicable for target setting and follow-up at the project level at both the Swedish Transport Administration (STA) and at municipal levels. The aim was a framework relevant for investment, re-investments, maintenance and operation projects and also to make it more user applicable. The study also investigated how the framework can contribute to sustainability, identified drivers and barriers for applying the framework and examined whether the framework can be applied and adapted to projects of different complexities. The adaptations and developments were done in collaboration between researchers and practitioners. The results show that the framework could easily be used and adapted for investment, re-investment, maintenance and operation projects in the planning stage, as well as for small municipal establishments, construction or reconstruction of residential areas and frequent maintenance. The framework contributes to increased awareness on sustainability, and it provides a common structure and transparency on how infrastructure project goals/targets are set and fulfilled. The framework can also be applied to follow the fulfilment of the goals/targets and thereby adapt the project to better fulfil the goals. Identified barriers include the lack of obligations and lack of experience in using sustainability frameworks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11275
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was funded by MISTRA (Stiftelsen för miljöstrategisk forskning), through the research program Mistra Infra Maint Projects 1.12 and 1.8. The project has also been funded by the Swedish Transport Administration, contract ID 10609. The APC was funded by the library of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.

Other keywords

  • project level
  • setting targets
  • sustainability follow-up tool
  • sustainability framework
  • sustainable transport infrastructure management
  • user adaptation


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