High expectations for future transport infrastructure

High expectations for future transport infrastructure

Published 8.5.2019

This year’s most important and timely topic in the field of transport planning is the national 12­year transport system plan. The preparation of the plan will commence in parliamentary direction under the auspices of the Ministry of Transport and Communications after the new parliament begins its work. The final decisions concerning the national transport system plan are scheduled for the spring of 2020. Thus, the preparation process will be fast-paced.

“The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency will participate in the preparation of the plan as an expert of transport network maintenance and development. We will play an active role in both the preparation and implementation of the plan,” states Mirja Noukka, Division Director, Transport Network Planning.

The users of transport infrastructure expect that the current infrastructure is both maintained and improved. This cannot be achieved without sizeable additional investments. “As part of the planning process, we aim to draw attention to significant renovation targets which require more funds.”

Sustainable transport on rails and by bicycle

In addition to paying attention to the condition of the current transport infrastructure network, the national transport system plan should promote sustainable and carbon-free mobility, and in particular, take note of the demanding expectations set for the development of rail transport. In addition to rail transport, the expectations for the infrastructure of other sustainable transport modes, such as walking and cycling, are remarkable.

“The renaissance of rail transport has set very interesting challenges for us. In addition to renovating the current rail network, there is a call for increased axle loads, further electrification of the rail network and more additional tracks for the current rail network. Furthermore, there have been discussions on completely new, high-speed passenger rail connections,” states Division Director Noukka.

As a whole, the cost for meeting the expectations will reach billions of euros. “I warmly welcome alternative models, such as project companies, that complement the budget funding.”

The need for good infrastructure that supports walking and bicycling is another – and not at all less significant – requirement for the improvement of sustainable mobility. Smooth transfers from one transport mode to another should be facilitated particularly in population centres by, for example, supporting transport hub parking and bicycle parking. Several station region development projects that aim at bringing housing and jobs closer to good traffic connections are also underway.

Infrastructure investments are very permanent by nature. On the other hand, the world is at a major turning point due to digitalisation, the automation and servitisation of transport as well as the trend to develop more sustainable mobility. “How do we know what to invest in? This poses an enormously intriguing challenge and equation – a true key issue of design,” says Division Director Noukka.

Mirja Noukka’s three highlights in timely transportation planning matters:

The 12-year national transport system plan

Rail transport

Sustainable mobility