Many European cities have defined a clear vision of their future goals. People want cities to be enjoyable and safer. This is worth striving for also in Finland. Transport is an important instrument that can bring us closer or further from these goals. Transport should provide us with accessibility within a reasonable time. However, the constant increase in mobility causes severe problems, such as noise, pollution and accidents. There just isn't enough space for the constantly growing amount of private cars especially in city centres.
Urbanisation and dense population provides an excellent opportunity for public transport. Service must meet the needs of modern people; it has to be fast and smooth-running. Only this way the proportion of public transport can be increased. Public transport is a part of the transport system, but it also facilitates reaching many other goals than just those related to traffic. Public transport should be for people, not vice versa.
Intercity transport in Finland faces the challenge of vast area, long distances and low population density. The biggest question in these circumstances is how to develop transport services in a cost-efficient way. On the other hand, there is a lot more than money to consider, namely the quality of life of many people. The issue brings us to the question of values. International connections from Finland to Europe or elsewhere in the world are important. Public transport plays a key role in securing these connections.
The ongoing public transport research programme is striving to find means of better correlating Finnish public transport supply and demand. Finnish and international innovation should be used to the fullest extent. The problems analysed in the research programme are taken from the real world. It is equally important that the findings can also be brought back to the real world, as measures put into practice by different stakeholders. However advanced the problem-solving methods are, one can be satisfied only if the research programme results is improving Finnish public transport.
The general objectives of the JOTU programme are:
- to analyse the social, economic, and ecological impacts of public transport and to develop methods, approaches and tools to assess and estimate these impacts,
- to research travel, modal choice and transport mode choice behaviour in a way that makes it possible to better direct transport policy actions and more efficiently market public transport,
- to increase the expertise and competence of public transport planning professionals, researchers and decision-makers, and the amount and quality of education in Finland related to public transport planning and decision-making.
The JOTU research programme also aims to decrease the gap between practical work and scientific research in the field of public transport planning and research. The desired way of working is networking between research units, consultants, authorities, decision-makers and other actors in the field. Co-operation beyond the boundaries of different research fields and between academic actors and consultants is encouraged. The aim is also to advance public transport research co-operation between Finnish and international consultants and researchers.
The JOTU programme has a steering committee consisting of the main funding parties and experts of different companies, ministries, universities, cities and associations. The chairman of the programme comes from Tampere University of Technology. The programme co-ordinator is responsible for practical implementation of the programme.
See the 'programme stakeholders' section.