HSL proposes amendments to the Government Report on Transport Policy

On 15 March, the Ministry for Transport and Communications
released a Report on Transport Policy, which aims to increase the
popularity of public transport. HSL endorses the policies set out
in the report but proposes a few amendments to and comments on e.g.
Park & Ride arrangements and financing of transport projects.

According to the report, one of the future challenges of
transport in Finland is urban sprawl which increases traffic
congestion. This would increase emissions and decrease living
comfort. The report states that land use in urban regions should be
more compact and public transport should be made more attractive by
improving its service level. In the Ministry’s vision for 2030, the
travel chain is seamless door-to-door, public transport is
accessible and there are more Park & Ride parking
possibilities. Public transport is supported by an urban
environment that is favorable to walking and cycling.

With regard to Park & Ride parking, HSL’s opinion is that
is important to decide who is responsible for the parking
facilities in future, and how the costs of building and maintaining
parking facilities are divided. 

The Ministry envisions that in future the planning of
transport, land use, housing and services is more and more
integrated. HSL agrees with the Ministry on this but emphasizes
that the Letter of Intent on Land Use and Transport (MAL) has to be
made more binding and the viewpoints of business and industry
should be better taken into account.

State supports rail transport

The report mentions that the State finances small cost-effective
transport network development projects by EUR 30 million during
this term of government. HSL points out that the need for financing
in the Helsinki region is far greater than that. HSL considers that
also the amount of money budgeted for road investments is too small
to meet the needs. 

In HSL's opinion, the policies regarding accessibility and
encouraging walking and cycling should be made more explicit.

HSL is content that the State says it is ready to participate
in the financing of rail transport investments in large cities. As
the State is ready to support the construction of the Metro and
light-rail projects by 30 percent, more State funding can probably
be expected also for the Jokeri rail connection.

Parliament to discuss the report in April 

With regard to opening rail transport to competition, the
State’s position is that it should be promoted if it is sustainable
from the perspective of transport policy and socio-economy. In
HSL’s opinion, competitive tendering of rail transport could be
started with Helsinki region commuter train services or parts of
them, and efforts should be continued to remove the obstacles for

The Ministry for Transport and Communications continues to
work on the report on the basis of comments submitted by some 150
actors in the field of transport. The Parliament will discuss the
report in April.