The Riga and Pieriga area approximately corresponds to the Riga agglomeration territory with a size of 6,984 km² and a total of 1,069.7 thousand inhabitants. This population is 47 % of the whole population of Latvia and 67 % of this population inhabits the city of Riga.
Riga is the capital city of Latvia and the largest city of the Baltic States. Riga has a major seaport and an international airport and is a junction point of several significant transport arteries (European transport corridor - motorway E77, ‘Via Baltica’ - motorway E67, motorway E22, and the ‘Rail Baltica’ railway line (to be constructed)).
The city of Riga is divided by the river Daugava with only few connections between the two banks. In the Pieriga territory a radial road and railway network has historically developed. Riga can be accessed from seven main roads and bypassing is possible through the roads A4 and A5. There are six railway lines connected to Riga.
LET106-1 Mobility Plan and Action Program for Riga and Pieriga SEA Report final version dated December 23, 2010 2. The city of Riga is divided by the river Daugava with only few connections between the two banks. In the Pieriga territory a radial road and railway network has historically developed. Riga can be accessed from seven main roads and bypassing is possible through the roads A4 and A5. There are six railway lines connected to Riga. Figure 1.2 gives an overview of the city of Riga and the main road infrastructure.
Riga and Pieriga face several main problems related to traffic infrastructure, amongst others:
- lack of unified planning and management of public transport, road and rail networks;
- lack of capacity of the bypasses of the city of Riga, lack of bridges between the two banks of the Daugava river and a fragmented street network resulting in traffic flow congestion;
- one of the highest number of road accidents in Europe;
- inefficient transportation businesses;
- lack of pedestrian, cycle and segregated public transport facilities;
- weaknesses in the organisational and legal framework regarding integrated transport systems and promotion of sustainable mobility;
- high levels of air pollution.
The Riga and Pieriga Mobility Plan (RPMP) should address these problems and has the objective ‘to determine necessary actions in order to promote unified
transport system development in Riga and Pieriga, thus improving accessibility of the territory’. The RPMP will include three perspectives: long term
(20-30 years, strategic level), medium term (15 years, traffic flow survey level) and short term (5 years, action program).
The RPMP is meant to create an overall framework in which all existing and new plans for construction and improvement of the traffic and transport system in Riga and Pieriga are evaluated and prioritised. Professional expertise and ideas of the consultant team have been combined with existing plans and information in the development. The plan provides solutions for the traffic and transport problems which the Ministry of Transport of Latvia is facing, contributing to spatial, ecological, economic, social and institutional optimization.
The RPMP has the following overall goal:
To determine a vision and necessary actions in order to promote unified transport system development in Riga and Pieriga, thus improving accessibility of the territory.
The RPMP objectives are:
- to make effective use of the existing transport system of Riga and Pieriga and prefer soft measures (management, organisation, ITS) over hard measures (infrastructure development) where possible;
- develop an efficient, attractive and competitive public transport system, with priority for electric and railway modes;
- to create a coherent network with clear road and street classifications and prioritisation of modes, by eliminating bottlenecks in the road and street network;
- increase the level of road safety, without hampering accessibility;
- provide multi modal accessibility to different places;
- ensure good and reliable connections between the Riga Free port, Riga and other national and international (TEN-T) transport infrastructure networks;
- ensure good and reliable connections between the Riga international airport, Riga and other main regional centres in a sustainable way.
As a consequence of this, the methodology for the SEA needs to be customised for this specific circumstance. The most obvious strategy for this is to include environmental issues into the CBA model.
By allocating budget for environmental investments related to the infrastructure development, it can be assured that the environment will be probably addressed. The exact (amount of) measures strongly depend on the (more) detailed design of the individual projects, which will take place in a later stage, when also the EIA procedures are carried out 18. It should be emphasised that the purpose of the EI
Procedures should be to identify full alternatives (including the environmentally friendliest option) per project. In order to give input to the CBA model, the following activities have been performed:
- the CBA Model takes costs into account for the main environmental impacts related to the project developments;
- for each project development with a significant environmental impact, project fiches are prepared containing relevant environmental information:
- screening against annex I and annex II of the EIA Directive and Latvian law ‘On Environmental Impact Assessment’; overview of qualitative environmental impacts; influences on nearby special locations.