Finnish Transport Agency paints a grim picture of corridors in 25 years time
In its first year of operations, the Finnish Transport Agency has focused on long-term planning. According to its report “Transport Conditions in 2035”, the prospects are grim.
The plan, which covers all modes of transportation, describes the anticipated changes in the service level of transport corridors over the next quarter century.
The Finnish Transport Agency anticipates a lower of funding according to the plan. The description that follows is of gradually deteriorating transport system. The service level of main roads will deteriorate particularly in urban areas, and the condition of other corridors will also weaken. Speed limits will be reduced, and the cost efficiency of transportation will be undermined.
Starting point for plan cannot be a deterioration of corridors
According to the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK the anticipated trend and planning is unacceptable. The key starting point for the plan must be how the transport system can reinforce growth and Finland’s competitiveness as a business and investment environment.
“There is good reason, of course, to assume that further budget cuts will be required to balance public finances in the coming years, also in terms of the transport system. However, this cannot be the basis for planning the next quarter century,” comments Tiina Haapasalo, chief policy adviser on transports and infrastucture at EK.
“What is needed in the future is a review of alternative trends and financing options so that planning can serve decision-making in changing conditions and circumstances,” Haapasalo emphasises.
Improvements to productivity offer alternatives for funding corridors
The next parliamentary elections will be held in Finland in April, so the new government will be faced with making decisions on the funding levels for transport corridors. Improvements to funding procedures and productivity will also offer room for manoeuvre.
Improving the productivity of transport corridors is the greatest challenge facing the Finnish Transport Agency. Productivity should be improved in terms of procurement methods, planning, construction, maintenance and administration.
This entails the same as in any industries, i.e. focussing on the opportunities presented by digitalisation, ICT, modelling, automation and other technologies. These will also help meet the needs of customers.
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