Foreword: Enhancing city public transportation in Finland

4 July 2014  •  Author(s): Henna Virkkunen, Minister of Transport and Local Government for Finland

Henna Virkkunen, Minister of Transport and Local Government for Finland

Henna Virkkunen, Minister of Transport and Local Government for Finland

A well-functioning public transportation system in big cities is the cornerstone for an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable urban society. Finland has set an ambitious goal of increasing public transportation usage with a target of 200 million new trips by 2022. For Eurotransport, Henna Virkkunen, Minister of Transport and Local Government for Finland, explains that most of the new trips will take place in big cities and to achieve the goal, improvements in the service level are required: public transportation has to be genuinely competitive in comparison with private cars. The public transportation system has to be seamless and synchronised, with up-to-date passenger information easily available.

Rail traffic is one of the focus areas of current Finnish transport policy. For this reason, there are several initiatives on rail transportation: extending the Helsinki region subway line and building new tram networks in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere areas. These projects are mainly financed by the local authorities. However, the state contributes by subsidising the planning and designing of the networks. Extension of the Helsinki metro, new tram lines and The Ring Rail Line, which will connect Helsinki-Vantaa Airport to the main rail line by 2015, reflect the new role of transportation in society: the planning is coordinated with land use planning and there is a strong will to align the networks with the needs of dwelling and business life and vice versa.

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