The year is 2025. Oslo is connected by high-speed rail to Copenhagen. Eight hours travel has been reduced to 140 minutes. The Oslo-Göteborg-Copenhagen corridor is one of the most attractive mega-regions in the world. To bring this vision to reality, “Corridor of Innovation and Cooperation (COINCO) North” is created. The project is more than transportation itself, it focuses in on stimulating innovation and business in the region.
“Mega-regions are large-scale economic units of multiple large cities and their surrounding suburbs,” as defined by Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class”. This concept is a fundamental building block in the ongoing creative class exchange, and the region stretching from Oslo in the north to Malmö, Sweden and Copenhagen, Denmark in the south is part of this Mega-region trend. Already the region has much in common, with extremely high levels of educated inhabitants, with a high quality of life and a common focus on such areas of business as the life sciences, ICT, energy and environment and maritime.
Tying this region together physically is a vision of the year 2025 – not so far in the distant future – when a high-speed rail connection will contribute to making this one of the world’s most competitive regions. The high-speed rail line will connect this mega-region of 8 million inhabitants, allowing a traveller to leave the Oslo Central Station and arrive in Copenhagen approximately 140 minutes later.
COINCO North consist of 15 partners including the major cities of Oslo, Göteborg, Copenhagen and Malmö, regional organizations and the rail authorities, EU funding and Oslo Teknopol.
COINCO North looks at projects in relation to the entire region – thinking about networks and dynamics instead of isolated projects and activities. This is in line with the EU’s new TEN-T strategy where the focus has been to establish a planning model to ensure rapid development and linking national infrastructure systems to a coherent European network. COINCO North is striving to be a pioneer project in this respect.
COINCO North is contributing to developing the business in the corridor to be among the foremost in its field globally by creating a basis for increased cooperation between the players in life sciences and other sectors in the region. Culture and tourism is in focus as well, as the high-speed transportation will make the regions more accessible to the global tourist industry. And in keeping with Richard Florida’s ideas, the raised level of mobility will continue to attract talent and creativity from far outside of the region.
Oslo: Green and Dynamic
This all fits well with Oslo’s green and dynamic profile – at the same time emphasizing innovation, cooperation and sustainable growth and development reducing transaction costs related to freight and passenger transport. According to Knut Halvorsen, CEO Oslo Teknopol, the COINCO North process is having a positive synergy effect among members in working towards the 2025 goal, “One dynamic effect of the project will be the large and integrated employment market that is created – one that stretches from Oslo in the north to Copenhagen in the south. This will have a magnetic effect for employees, employers, innovators, and investors.”
These plans related to the COINCO North high-speed train between Oslo and Copenhagen is representative of a global tendency towards more effective transportation within mega-regions. Oslo knows that this high-speed connection is strategically very important for continued future competitiveness in the European market – and that the year 2025 is really not that far in the future.