And so it Begins!

Greetings from Gothenburg, Sweden! After an exhausting 20+ hour travel day, we are finally in the EU, and we are excited to start our adventures abroad. One thing we have immediately noticed from our short stay in Gothenburg is the impact that Democratic Socialism has on transportation.  Visiting the headquarters at Volvo and the non-profit organization, the Lindholmen Science Park, we learned a lot about how the culture and identity of Scandinavia has made it easier for progressive ideas to flourish in regards to transportation.Ship, gothenburg, viking, east india, blake, ash

Ash and Blake on the bow of the 18th century replica: Swedish Ship Götheborg 

At Volvo we saw that they are building their cars to be safer and more efficient.  Although many car companies are developing autonomous cars, Volvo appears to be leading the pack in regards to safety. They have already started testing their autonomous cars with people inside the cars; something that many car companies have not started doing yet.  Volvo has even made the commitment to create an absolute safety standard for all their cars by 2020. Their goal is to have zero fatalities for those who are driving their cars.  Volvo is promising that all of their cars will be so safe, that no one driving a Volvo will ever die going forward due to a traffic incident.   This is a commitment to the people and it is fostered and fueled by the mindset of the Swedish people.

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Blake and Ash at the Volvo Headquarters

While visiting The Lindholmen Science Park, we learned even though there is already a vast network of existing infrastructure for public transportation (trains, trams, buses and ferries), as a community, they are still trying to expand and make the system more efficient. Their reasoning is even though you can easily move around the city without a car (we have noticed an absence of severe traffic congestion due to cars in the city center), there is still a long travel time to get around because of the large number of trams and busses.  

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An interesting building located in the middle of the Lindholmen Science Park

A solution they have developed through a series of private and governmental partnerships at the Lindholmen Science Park is the development and implementation of cable cars. These cars offer faster and more efficient public transportation by having passengers simply pass over the congestion below.  This is something that is vastly different than the way government approaches transportation in the United States, and specifically Southern California.  While we do try to upgrade our transportation infrastructure back in the United States, it is mostly for fixing our freeway systems.  Oftentimes this actually creates more traffic during the process. Also these renovations do not always address the lack of space (or lanes) to drive on the roads, but rather the potholes and poor road conditions.

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Blake at Lindholmen

The transportation provided by the Swedish Government fosters growth and technology as demonstrated by the rapid expansion of the Lindholmen Science Park. It reflects a competitive advantage described by Porter’s Five Forces, especially when looking at the 6th and newest force, technology.  Gothenburg is able to come up with solutions like this because at the Lindholmen Science Park they believe in “open innovation” and being neutral in their approach to what they fund and how they fund projects.  All of the projects they choose must fit their company culture and identity. The cable car fits their goals and blends well with the ideas behind Democratic Socialism and the need for using money to better the overall living conditions of the community at large.  After learning about all of this through our class discussions, readings, and the company visits, it was quite an experience to witness and participate first-hand.  During our 3 days in Gothenburg, we traveled on busses, ferries, and trams, and we will be taking a train to Stockholm.  One thing is certain, public transportation has made it much easier for us as tourists visiting this great city (and it appears to have a great impact on the local citizens as well). We look forward to seeing how this trend continues through the rest of our travels in Scandinavia.  

FOOD VLOG PART 2: Our latest adventures with the delicious food in Gothenburg