Study: Trams from Tallinn to surrounding municipalities would pay off

Trams in Tallinn.
Trams in Tallinn. Source: TLT

Tram traffic between Tallinn and its surrounding municipalities would pay off, it appears from a light rail transit (LRT) feasibility study commissioned by the Tallinn Transport Department and the Union of Harju County Municipalities.

The recently completed and opened Reidi tee has already increased the speed of traffic flows for drivers who used to sit in traffic by the Russalka Memorial every morning. The city is now planning on adding a public transport lane from Russalka to Pirita Selver at the expense of parking along Pirita tee, for which €1.5 million has been budgeted, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera on Sunday night.

"Our general priority is the promotion of public transport, which means the prioritization of public transport," explained Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Centre). "This means an entire slew of measures. This means bus lanes; this means new rolling stock."

According  to Novikov, Pirita District isn't big enough to justify the high cost of a tram line, finding that bus service is appropriate there. When it comes to tram lines, Tallinn has other priorities, including addressing the bottleneck located between Viru ring and Hobujaama in Central Tallinn.

"Namely, all of Tallinn's [four] tram lines come together between Viru ring and Hobujaama bus stop," the deputy mayor highlighted. "Before we address the bottleneck that has appeared there, before we cut through that tram line, figuratively speaking, with another, we can't discuss tightening tram traffic or building new lines."

The problems created by this bottleneck could be resolved by a proposed Old City Harbour tram line, which according to Novikov would move along Rävala puiestee, Laikmaa, Hobujaama and Admiraliteedi bassein as well as Linnahall before connecting with existing tram lines.

All tram network updates would pay off

The LRT feasibility study currently being completed indicates that upgrades to Tallinn's tram network within the city would pay off, as would tram service from the capital city to its surrounding municipalities. The study considered where tram lines could be built as well as where demand for them exists.

"According to this, directions were highlighted involving Viimsi, as well as Maardu, Rae and Peetri, which is another one with very good potential," Union of Harju County Municipalities adviser Kaarel Kose said.

Viimsi would be the most worthwhile direction, as well as the direction with the most potential to convince drivers to switch to using public transport.

Dago Antov, professor of transport planning at Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech), confirmed that the plan to extend tram lines into surrounding areas proved worthwhile according to the study.

"It will take time, of course, as building trams does, but in the long run, this is actually a very reasonable and good idea for the city," Antov said.

The results of the feasibility study will be introduced to the general public in January.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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