Cooperation agreement signed for Harju County unified transport system ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Free rides on county bus lines will still need to be validated.
Free rides on county bus lines will still need to be validated. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and the city of Tallinn are discussing the creation of a unified public transport ticketing system in Harju County.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas and Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kolvart signed a memorandum of cooperation on Tuesday, establishing the principles for future planning with regard to mobility in Tallinn and its neighboring areas.

The ministry and the capital city agreed on a shared set of objectives to reduce the negative environmental impact of transport in the Tallinn region, and highlighted that the planning of mobility should stem from shared principles that are not hampered by local governments' borders. 

The carbon footprint of Tallinn and its neighboring regions accounts for around 50 percent of all Estonia's transport emissions, which is why investments in sustainable mobility would be the most cost efficient in this area. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications supports the initiative and will take the agreement into account when allocating EU support funds during the next budget period. 

Aas noted that cooperation is crucial for making commuting as easy as possible regardless of local government borders.

"We need to take into account that with our ever-growing population the number of cars cannot increase at this speed, otherwise our infrastructure will not be able to withstand it. I am glad that the Tallinn city government sees that these challenges need to be faced together," the minister said.

In order to meet the objective, various scenarios for improving mobility will be analyzed, and it is not ruled out that a joint agency may be created to coordinate the field in Harju County. The creation of a unified public transportation route network and ticketing system in the Tallinn region will also be weighed.

Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kolvart said that the capital city and its neighboring regions require a more coordinated approach to ensure the best possible coverage and maintenance of infrastructure, which in turn should improve competitiveness and social cohesion in the region.

In order to meet environmental objectives and ensure good interconnectivity, efficient alternatives to cars must be provided and the use of public transport and active means of mobility should be increased.

A safe network of cycle paths will also be developed in Tallinn and interconnected with cycle routes in Harju County in order to enable to better get around in the area. The city and the state also seek to render public transport faster and more competitive and improve tram transport services.

In order to implement the goals, a mobility council will be created for the Tallinn region, which is to start developing action programs and mapping investment needs for 2021-2035.

The city of Tallinn and the state will also propose for other interested local governments in Harju County to join the memorandum.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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