Finland to become a global hub for mobility of people, goods and data
The Ministry of Transport and Communications published its futures review together with other ministries on 4 June. In the Ministry's view, the topics to be resolved during the next government term include transport network financing, implementation of emissions reductions and communications network coverage.
"Transport and communication sectors create wellbeing, sustainable growth and competitiveness. Our future transport and communications policy will need an even bolder vision in which Finland will be a global hub for the mobility of people, goods and data. In order to achieve that goal, national commitment extending over several government terms is necessary," says Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications Harri Pursiainen.
The futures review assesses the future prospects and action points in the transport and communications sectors on the basis of four themes: services, data, climate and networks.
The transport and communications networks are a platform for services and utilisation of data and they must reflect the service needs of the customers. Digitalisation and automation call for a good transport infrastructure in order to ensure that new transport services are accessible and transportation services for the business and industry are cost-efficient. The deterioration of the transport network is further accelerated by the climate change and requires significant emission reductions in the transport sector.
The greatest challenges in future are posed by transport and communications networks. There are problems in the coverage of the communications networks, and the scarce financing of the transport network is deteriorating the quality of the transport routes. This risks becoming an obstacle to Finland's welfare and competitiveness.
The transport and communications networks must be developed to respond to future changes in transport digitalisation, automation and urbanisation, emission reduction targets and utilisation of the Nordic regions.
"Advancing the transport network should not be regarded as an expense but considered as an investment, the same way as with the communications networks. Long-term investments serve our wellbeing and competitiveness, and with interest," says Permanent Secretary Pursiainen.Aims are improvement of the transport network and reduction of emissions
Restoration of the current transport network and construction of new routes that would serve the entire Europe will call for significant additional investments. The Ministry of Transport and Communications and Transport Agency have examined that the finance need for transport projects supporting sustainable growth will amount to EUR 60 billion during the next ten years. While the annual financing of transport investments in the state budget has been on average around EUR 450 million, the implementation of future transport projects using the current spending limits would take more than 130 years.
The repair debt of the transport network is worth EUR 2.5 billion and it must be reduced. The level of appropriations for the basic transport infrastructure has a direct influence on the amount of the repair debt.
The requirement for emission reductions in transport is very substantial. Finland is committed to halving the 2005 level of transport emissions by 2030. It is our ambitious aim that transport will be carbon-free by 2045.
"This requires a clear shared vision and an ambitious action programme extending over government terms. New, concrete ways to reduce emissions are needed now, not in the 2030s," Pursiainen says.What is futures review?
The futures review of the Ministry of Transport and Communications has been prepared by Ministry officials and the views have not been politically addressed. It aims to assess situations in society and matters requiring political decision-making during the next government term. The same goals may be on the agenda of Finland's Presidency of the European Union in autumn 2019.
The futures reviews of the ministries describe Finland's key questions in the years ahead. Their purpose is to provide information on key issues that require political decision-making or otherwise concern the state of society to generate public debate and to serve as the basis for the forthcoming elections and government formation talks.
This is the fifth time the futures reviews were drawn up. The earlier ones were published in 2003, 2006, 2010 and 2014. The ministries' foresight working group coordinates the drafting process and has members from each ministry.
Inquiries:Harri Pursiainen, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 295 34 2389
Taina Pieski, Director of Strategic Affairs, tel. +358 50 5351574