Infrastructure management also part of rapid changes in transport sector

Infrastructure management also part of rapid changes in transport sector

Published 7.2.2020

Everyday mobility and business transport are currently at the centre of many discussions. Urbanisation, climate objectives and adaptation to climate change are reshaping the modes of transport that we use. A number of partly conflicting needs need to be fitted together when decisions are made on transport service levels, emission reductions and area accessibility.

At the Väylä2020 event, Director General of the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency Kari Wihlman highlighted three changes in the world of transport that are taking place over different time spans and are visible in the everyday life of people and businesses. ‘The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency is responsible for taking care of and maintaining the value of national assets worth around €20 billion. The value of transport routes derives from how well they serve citizens and businesses. The cornerstone of asset management is to think in terms of life cycles that stretch from now into the distant future.’

Smooth everyday traffic flows ensured through cooperation. Exceptional weather conditions have become more common and required us, the infrastructure manager, to implement new kinds of operating models. Adaptability has been increased, for example, through closer cooperation: In ice breaking operations, cooperation with Sweden is being carried out, and instructions for handling difficult weather conditions have been specified in more detail among railway operators. Busy roads and heavy goods traffic routes have been given special attention in winter road maintenance policy. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency collects real-time information on the condition and maintenance of the route network so that actions can be better targeted. The same information is also shared for the benefit of others.

Tomorrow's transport network responds to customer needs. The transport route network must meet customers' needs through a wide range of means. Transport efficiency and capacity are being improved through innovation and experimentation, such as the use of large HCT trucks. Alternatives for low-emission mobility will be developed through cooperation between the state and municipalities, and the appeal of the infrastructure will be developed through, among other measures, the maintenance of transport routes. The 12-year national transport system plan that is currently in preparation is aimed at achieving successful long-term travel policy. At the same time, the plan will strengthen determination to maintain the condition and service level of the existing transport network.

The infrastructure of the future is a service platform. In the near future, numerous decisions will be made for which the effects will only be seen further off. The goal is to halve greenhouse gas emissions from domestic transport by 2030 and bring emissions down to zero by 2045 at the latest, and this target will also be promoted through infrastructure maintenance. The infrastructure of the future will be a platform that enables the digitalisation of transport and mobility. Knowledge enables new types of mobility services, but also revolutionises infrastructure maintenance. The infrastructure of the future will be safer, more precise, more efficient, and more reliable, and will facilitate low-emission mobility.

The Väylä2020 seminar brought together in Finlandia Hall around 600 representatives of Väylä stakeholder groups who had an interest in the
infrastructure sector and the future of transport and mobility.

Further information

Interview requests for Director General Kari Wihlman: Director Anna Jokela tel. + 358 400 439 955