In 2008 and 2009, a special committee established by the Swedish government was tasked with reviewing the efficiency of the Swedish Road Administration, the Swedish Rail Administration, and the Swedish Maritime Administration. The review found that the agencies could operate more efficiently if combined, and in April 2010, Trafikverket—the Swedish Transport Administration—was formed. Its role is to provide long-term infrastructure planning as well as operate and maintain transport services.

Torbjörn Suneson, now acting Director General, worked for the Swedish Road Administration at the time the merger took place. He became the director of strategic development at the new agency, before becoming a senior adviser and then in March 2015 being appointed acting director general. “I would say they appointed me because I was a former director of planning and had a place on the board,” Torbjörn says. “Before that I was the strategy director for the transport administration area. I knew the team, I knew the board, and it was a good solution because we could keep going with all people in place full-speed ahead.”

Torbjörn has a different background to many of his colleagues. Originally a landscape architect, he came into the sector by chance, and has enjoyed himself ever since. “As a landscape architect, I am kind of the odd guy out in the transport society. I was formerly a professor in landscape architecture and was on the advisory board to the director general in the road administration at that time, in the mid 90s, and I was on the board for five years. They created a position as a chief architect in the road administration and asked me if I would I be interested to come and do that. I thought, I am 51 years old, why don'’t I change my career, take a chance. So I left and went into road administration.”

The new agency is responsible for all transportation planning, as well as the maintenance and construction of roads and rail lines. It’s a large job, one that Torbjörn is confident the agency can do better now that all transport agencies are under one roof. “In April 2010, we created a multimillion-dollar transport administration. We are responsible for the planning of the entire governmental transport system —roads, rails, seaways, and airports, the planning of the airports. Airports are owned by the state government or smaller municipalities; we don'’t own them but we have responsibility for the planning aspect.