The transport system of the future will be a harmonised, interoperable entity composed of infrastructure, services and information. The aim is that transport will be genuinely seen as a service. The principle is that mobility and transport services matching people’s needs should be provided on market terms, be interoperable and easy to use, preferably via a single interface. Where a basic service would not otherwise be available, this will be secured with public funding.
As transport systems become more digitised, physical mobility and digital transactions will not only be alternatives but will also complement each other. The emergence of new service markets will be accelerated by the declining appeal of car ownership and the rapidly advancing automation in transport. The customer will have a stronger role, becoming ever more closely involved in designing and developing the services. The increasing utilisation of data and the development of advanced ICT solutions will also improve traffic flow, enhance safety and advance the eco-friendliness of transport, and will therefore help meet the traditional challenges encountered in transport policy.
Transport and communications networks, information and the services covering these serve as a growth platform for wellbeing in society and for corporate and regional competitiveness. The obstacles to utilising digital data are becoming fewer. Nevertheless, the value of data often depends on how it can be combined with other datasets. The issue of data confidentiality and privacy protection is one that must be resolved. This can in part be dealt with by anonymising data.
The entire transport system must have an all-encompassing basic readiness to use renewable fuels or electricity in all transport modes. The aim is to reduce dependence on oil and to achieve a position where the export value (in euros) of renewable fuels for transport exceeds the value of fossil fuel imports. Other transport emissions, such as sulphur emissions from shipping and carbon dioxide emissions from aviation, could also be considerably restricted via the adoption of new propulsion systems.
The use of new fuels and propulsion systems must be promoted by removing obstacles to market-based distribution and through choices in Government procurement.
The use of electricity as a genuine alternative is being promoted in urban transport in particular. Electrically powered transport will open up new opportunities regarding the production of electricity in towns and cities and at the level of individual properties. In the future, electrically powered transport will be able to operate not only using battery systems but also hydrogen or compressed air. The public sector, with its procurement needs, will be able to establish reference cases on the Finnish market. As the choice of different propulsion systems becomes more diverse, it will be essential to ensure that vehicle purchasers have access to objective information on the alternatives.
In he field of transport economy there are following conclusions:
Key transport policy challenges for the next few years include the deteriorating service level of the transport network and the growth of the repair backlog for upkeep of the infrastructure. Too little has been invested in basic infrastructure management over the years. In the short term it will be essential to concentrate on bringing the funding for basic infrastructure management to a sustainable level and safeguarding the purchasing power of this funding. Finland’s transport system, and especially its main road network, is used inefficiently in relation to its capacity. Its capacity utilisation could be increased with the aid of private service provision and business activities. In terms of transport network ownership this means turning the network or parts of it into a platform for service business that would be based on the desire and ability of users to pay for the service they receive. The efficiency of the transport system could also be improved by developing transport pricing, i.e. by introducing payments based on user pays principle and by modifying the taxation arrangements. Pricing based on user pays principle would make personal travel decisions highly transparent to the users. Transport system users would be able to influence the price of their travel more effectively than at present through their independent choices and travel behaviour. Users would also have a genuine incentive and opportunity to take into account the externalities of transport in their decision making. This economic control mechanism could thus also support environmental policy objectives. A position on renewal of the car and vehicle tax system ought to be taken in the next government term. 15 Efficient and economical management of the transport system will require modification of the budgeting procedures so as to facilitate the use of a diverse set of tools and comparison of different alternatives. The budgeting procedures must more flexibly enable parties benefiting from a project to take part in the funding of projects. It has to be possible in the future to coordinate the funding for travel and transport in the public sector’s different administrative branches more flexibly than at present.