The purpose of transport policy is to ensure convenient, safe, quick and sustainable movement opportunities for both the population and enterprises.
Requirements to transport infrastructure vary – in towns, pedestrian and bicycle traffic plays an important role combined with public transport, whereas in low density areas, attention must be given to the comfort and safety of road traffic. Exporting companies are interested in international connections and transport costs, while the tourism sector asks for quick connections with international centres and immediate neighbours.
Thanks to our position – on the eastern border of Europe, next to the Baltic Sea, we can participate in international transit. Considering the global economy trends, the transit volumes are expected to increase in the long term.
The most environmentally sound and sustainable plans for improving different transport facilities and connections are set out in National Transport Development Plan 2014-2020.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications works with the following transport sector areas:
Apart from the development of marine enterprises, the aim is to improve the safety of vessel traffic and other marine-related activities and to protect marine and coastal environment.
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Estonian aviation must be safe, environmentally sound and in compliance with the national defence principles. All the EU aviation operators must hold an activity permit to carry passengers, post and cargo.
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Rail transport services
Rail transport services must contribute to environmentally sound and fast transport of passengers and large-scale cargo. Rail Baltic represents the largest devised investment into the transport sector.
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National Transport Development Plan 2014-2020
The National Transport Development Plan 2014-2020 describes the plans for both international passenger and carriage of goods for the next six years.
Economic efficiency and environmental soundness have become the most important aspects for planning the development of the transport sector.
Estonia’s main goals in the development of the transport sector over the next years are related to the following areas:
- Maintaining the condition of main roads and improving the condition of basic and secondary roads, as well as the continued reconstruction of Tallinn-Tartu highway into a four lane road.
- Decreasing the use of vehicles in towns by improving the conditions for walking, cycling and using public transport and use smart solutions to offer various new services, particularly short-term bicycle and car rent.
- Increasing the number of departures and speed of connection for train traffic for trains to become the most favoured means of transport, by connecting Tallinn and other towns; improving the train connection with Latvia (on Tartu-Riga line, Rail Baltic) and Russia (the trip to St Petersburg should be shorter than 5 hours). Providing a tram connection to the Airport.
- Improving traffic safety by bringing it to a level where the average number of traffic fatalities would not exceed 50 occasions for every three years and, in the long term, there would be no traffic fatalities altogether.
- Increasing the share of more economic vehicles that run on renewable energy so that bio methane or compressed gas, generated from domestic bio mass and waste, would become the main alternative type of fuel in Estonia.
The European Union transport policy
Estonian transport policy is based on the long-term European Union transport policy that is defined in the White Paper.
The transport policy White Paper, Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a Competitive and Resource Efficient Transport System – relies on three main pillars:
- Common internal market
The most important goal of the European transport policy is to create a system that would offer high-quality mobility services and allow for more efficient planning of resources to advance the European economy and enhance its competitiveness.
To reach these goals, less energy should be used in transport, supported by the implementation of environmentally sound solutions, modernisation of transport infrastructure and reducing its negative impact on natural resources, like water, soil and ecological systems.
The two main areas funded as part of the transport system managed by the state:
- Public transport subsidy to regional and transnational transport, incl. connections with islands, which will be determined annually, upon the development of state budget.
- Infrastructure construction and re-construction is funded from the state budget as well as from the Structural Funds, the latter can be used for transport sector investments over a seven year period.
In the Ministry, funding of transport sector is among the functions of the Transport Development and Investments Department that participates, among other things, in the planning of the use of the European Union Structural Funds and the state budget, development, implementation and surveillance of programmes, funded from foreign aid.
A significant part of transport sector infrastructure investments is made by state companies, Port of Tallinn, Estonian Ralways Ltd. and Tallinn Airport. Harbours and Edelaraudtee Infrastruktuuri AS are the main private sector enterprises that make investments into transport infrastructure. Local governments fund the maintenance of local roads and local public transport.