Public transport use increased in Espoo and Kirkkonummi

Residents of the Helsinki region travel less than before. In particular, driving and public transport use have decreased as working from home has become more common. Unlike in other municipalities in the region, public transport use has increased in Espoo and Kirkkonummi.

In 2023, residents of the Helsinki region traveled less than in 2018, although the number of residents in the region has increased. Increased remote working brought on by COVID-19 is undoubtedly one of the reasons for the decrease in public transport journeys as well as journeys by other modes of transport.

In 2018, 60 percent of journeys in the Helsinki region were made by public transport, walking and cycling. In the last year’s survey, the figure was 62 percent. 

In particular, the relative share of walking increased due to the decrease in car and public transport journeys. However, the number of journeys made by walking per person remained the same as in 2018.

These results are from the 2023 Travel Survey conducted by the Helsinki region municipalities and HSL to study the travel habits of the region’s residents.

Espoo residents make more public transport journeys than before

In 2023, residents of the Helsinki region made 21 percent of their journeys by public transport, which was one percentage point less than in the previous survey in 2018.

In Espoo, by contrast, the number of journeys made by public transport and walking increased and the number of journeys made by car decreased. The number of public transport journeys increased and car journeys decreased also in Kirkkonummi.

“The good figures in Espoo and Kirkkonummi are an example that investing in public transport yields results,” says Johanna Järvinen, Head of the Transport Systems Unit at HSL.

“The extension of the metro to the west and the reforms made to bus services in Espoo in recent years show in the results. In order to achieve strong growth in the use of public transport in all HSL municipalities, we need extensive cooperation with the cities,  businesses and employers.

“The results are also a message to the state decision-makers that we need to invest in long-term support for public transport,” continues Järvinen.

“The results show that remote working has reduced overall mobility in the region. The positive thing is that people are driving less than before because of remote working. On the other hand, we are concerned about the decline in the use of public transport in the Helsinki region. It is desirable that people move around and keep the urban region alive, especially by using sustainable modes of transport, i.e. by walking, cycling and public transport," says Mari Flink, the Director of the Markets Division at HSL.

HSL will continue analyzing the results and will tell more about them later in the spring.

It is important to use the results to develop public transport

Approximately 11,000 randomly selected residents over 7 years of age participated in the survey in 2023. Each participant filled in a travel diary for one day. The respondents were also asked about their travel habits in general.

“We warmly thank the respondents for participating in this important study,” says Marko Vihervuori, Head of Research at HSL. “We will use the results as a basis for transport planning and transport policy decisions. A comprehensive sample survey is the only way to get an overall picture of the mobility of the Helsinki region residents.”