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The Nordic Road Association ensures Nordic cooperation in a changing world

Published 23.5.2024

The Nordic Road Association has been an important asset in promoting Nordic cooperation for nearly a century. The main objective of the Association is to ensure that road and transport experts have strong networks and the opportunity to share information across borders. Building and maintaining these networks is at the core of all activities.

Tunturi ja tie.

The Nordic Road Association was established in 1935, and Finland joined in 1937. The activities originated from a Nordic gathering, initially organised every now and then, about every two years. Nowadays the cooperation is close, including a large conference, Via Nordica, that is organised every four years. The Association has some 600 members who represent a wide range of sectors, including public organisations, private companies and higher education institutions.

“The busy pace of today’s work poses challenges in how experts use their time. The Nordic Road Association has to find effective ways of convincing its members why it is worth investing in cooperation”, says Anne Ranta-aho, Secretary of the Finnish Department at the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency. According to Ranta-aho, the network especially helps experts find information and exchange ideas with colleagues from neighbouring countries; people working at the management level are more prone to making connections.

Active working groups

Working groups are a key part of the Association’s activities and consist of both long-term and ad hoc working groups. The activities of the working groups are regularly reviewed to ensure that they cover all topical themes of transport infrastructure management.

“The traffic safety and road technology working groups have been particularly active. The role of team leaders is central, since they have to inspire and engage the other members.” Anne Ranta-aho says that hectic work environments have developed solutions such as Teams lunch meetings, where project information and ideas get shared in short bursts.

Finland to chair the next four years

Finland will chair the Association for the next four years, starting in summer 2024, after the Via Nordica conference is held in Copenhagen. The conference marks the transfer of chairmanship from Denmark to Finland. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has prepared the themes of the chairmanship well in advance. It is important to maintain the positive direction of Nordic cooperation and keep the association vibrant, which is essential in the current global situation.

“Creating a Nordic network is the best outcome of the activities of the Nordic Road Association. Experts are encouraged to be active and maintain contacts. Failures are also discussed openly at meetings, because others’ experiences can be valuable for everyone else’s work. Nowadays, the aim is to minimise travelling to meetings, and we hold many of our discussions virtually”, says Anne Ranta-aho.

Read more about the activities of the Nordic Road Association.