Matti Lahdenranta - Articles and news items
Issue 3 2013 • 3 July 2013 • Matti Lahdenranta, Managing Director, HKL – Helsinki City Transport
The tram is the main mode of public transport within the Helsinki inner city and approximately 200,000 passengers per day use the extensive network. Helsinki City Transport (HKL) is increasing and modernising its tram fleet over the next five years, as the network will be extended and the oldest tram generation in Helsinki is coming to the end of its life cycle.
The Helsinki region ranks high in international benchmarking on public transport. It is well-known that an efficient public transport system is a major success factor in large urban regions. People need to get to work, have meetings to attend, go shopping and visit people. Also, corporate and retail transport should flow smoothly, without any unnecessary delays. In order to maintain a good situation in Helsinki, the organising authority and tram and metro service provider – Helsinki City Transport (HKL) – created, in 2004, a public transport vision for 2012 and strategic actions to achieve the goals for 2005-2012. The question is; how has HKL succeeded to make its vision come true?
The Finnish Capital Region has an efficient transport system. Traffic flows well, thanks in part to effective public transport. The City of Helsinki plays a key role in developing public transport and Helsinki City Transport aims to offer all citizens equal possibilities to travel, creating a base for a sustainable city.
A private car offers good service but only if there is enough capacity on the traffic network. But traffic keeps growing. An old truth all traffic engineers recognise well is that an empty space tends to be filled. This means that more capacity only creates more traffic. It is important to realise that the problem of growing car traffic can not be solved by increasing street capacity, the only sustainable solution is to make public transport more competitive in relation to the private car.