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Regional transport system planning

The regional transport system plan is a shared vision of the operators in the region regarding what is important for the region in order to ensure the functionality and safety of mobility and transports. Regional transport system planning takes place in urban regions, at the province level and across provinces.

According to the Act on the Transport System and Highways, transport system planning is continuous and interactive planning based on impact assessment and cooperation between authorities and other operators. Strategic planning aims to coordinate the different objectives and measures concerning the transport system. In practice, the cooperation-based planning referred to in the Act is currently organised through regional transport system working groups. 

Transport system work is a continuous cooperative process. Regional transport system plans are drafted and updated as necessary. In particular, the planning takes changes in the development of land use and business needs into consideration. The plans describe the strategic intent shaped through cooperation. The plan includes a proposal on the actions and measures to be prioritised, prepared together with the state administration. The plans include measures by municipalities and the state. Implementation decisions are made separately in accordance with the normal decision-making procedures of municipalities and the state.

The planning is based on the development objectives of the region concerned and the national transport policy objectives and framework conditions. National starting points include the objective set out in the Act on the Transport System and Highways for transport system planning and the climate objectives set for transport in the national energy and climate strategy. Going forward, the national transport system plan will be a key starting point for regional planning. 

Transport system planning is closely linked to land use planning. In some regions, such as the Helsinki and Tampere regions, the planning process incorporates land use, housing and transport planning. This is referred to as “MAL planning”. According to the Land Use and Building Act, municipalities and regional councils are responsible for land use planning. 

Actors and the role of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency

The responsibilities of regional councils include initiating the planning process of the regional transport system plan and managing related cooperation in accordance with the Act on Regional Development and the Administration of Structural Funds. The work on trans-regional transport strategy can also be headed by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centre). 

The transport departments of the ELY Centres are key partners of the regional councils in transport system planning. In addition, municipalities, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom are involved in regional transport system planning. Other stakeholders, such as regional public transport authorities and chambers of commerce, also take part in the planning in many regions. 

According to the Acts on the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency, the agencies participate in regional transport system planning with regional councils, municipalities, urban regions and other parties. The role of the agencies is to incorporate national objectives and views into the planning. The role of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is primarily related to the development and maintenance of the railway and road network and waterways, as well as the coordination of transport and land use. 

Further information on regional transport system planning is available on the websites of the regional councils and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.