Road transport sector

Ensuring the safety of road users has become one of the most important goals in the area of road network and road transport.

The Estonian road network is quite well developed and it won’t be feasible, from an economical perspective, to start to decrease time and space distances. Therefore, road maintenance planning is aimed at ensuring safe conditions for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

The aim is to reduce the number of traffic fatalities to under 50 people by 2020. The required measures are listed in the traffic safety programme; the implementation of the programme will be coordinated by the traffic committee, which is formed by the Government. The current version of the programme is valid until 2015. A new traffic safety programme for 2016–2025 is also being currently developed. Traffic regulations are laid down with the Traffic Act.

Road transport sector

Road maintenance

In general the road network in Estonia can be divided into state owned and local government owned roads.

Road maintenance requirements are laid down with the Roads Act.

The maintanance and development of state owned roads is the responsibility of Estonian Road Administration. The road maintenance of state owned roads is funded on the basis of road maintenance plan, which is confirmed by the Government. Road maintanance budget, including foreign financing, is determined annually, upon the development of state budget.

In November 2014, the Government approved the updated road management plan for 2014–2020.

Local roads are maintained and developed by local governments. For the maintanance of local roads the Government assignes subsidy, which is up to ten per cent of the overall road maintanance expenses. In addition, in every European Union budget period there is foreign financing support for the investments in local roads.

According to the confirmed strategy for state budget in 2015-2018, annually 28.0125 million euros will be granted to support the maintenance of local roads.


Public transport


Public transport services as provided in the form of taxi service, occasional services or regular services and these can be divided into four categories, organised by different institutions:

  • Local public transport is organised by local government. The largest line networks are in Tallinn and Tartu. Rural local governments mostly use local public transport to drive pupils or to ensure the availability of social welfare services.
  • Regional public transport is organised by the state with county governments or local governments, via public transport centres. The purpose of regional public transport is to ensure a connection with the most important centre of attraction to allow people to work and attend school there and give them access to social welfare services.
  • Transnational public transport is based on commercial grounds that mainly provide the connections between centres of attraction. The line network is formed according to the applications filed by carriers; the applications will be processed by the Public Transport Department of the Estonian Road Administration.
  • International bus services are also based on commercial grounds. International passenger transport is regulated by the European Parliament and Council regulation no. 1073/2009/EC or international agreements. The line network is formed according to the applications, filed by carriers; the applications will be processed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.

On 1 January 2012, an amendment to the Public Transport Act entered into force, stating that the European Union activity permit will be used instead of public transport and an attested copy of activity permit will serve instead of a licence card. The carriers will have to contact the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers (AEIRC). The public transport permits and licence cards will be valid until they expire.

The Public Transport Act is the most important legal act that regulates public transport and related issues.

Taxi service represents the carriage of passengers to the destination specified by the customer, or going to pick a passenger up from the requested location using a vehicle that has been adapted to provide taxi services. Taxi services are organised by local government, which issues taxi licences and taxi service licence cards.

Passengers who use  occasional services are carried at the initiative of the customer or carrier. The carrier must hold a European Union activity permit and one attested copy of the European Union activity permit per every vehicle to provide occasional or regular services.


Licence for the carriage of goods

A licence for the carriage of goods is required of a motor vehicle or a road train with a weight exceeding 3,500 kg that provides the carriage of goods for a charge.

Provisions of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union regulation no. 1071/2009/EC and the Road Transport Act lay down the regulations for the competence, reputation and financial capacity of the licence applicant.

The applications for the European Union activity permit are handled and permits issued by the Association of Estonian International Road Carriers (AEIRC); in addition to the application, the carrier will be required to submit a document verifying the assignment of a carriage operator and a document that proves professional competence. The applicant for the activity permit must also be entered into the Commercial Register or the register of non-profit organisations and foundations.

The licence is not required in the case of a carriage of minor importance for the purposes of Article 4 of the Road Transport Act (e.g. removal of snow, carriage of wood for heating, waste collection and removal, mail delivery, etc.).

The licence is also not required for carried passengers, defined as free road transport for the purposes of Article 8 of the Road Transport Act, carried out at the operator’s own expense. This is a provision that is applicable to the transport of passengers by a vehicle that has nine seats, including the driver’s seat, and a carriage, and road transport, carried out at the operator’s own expense, using a motor vehicle or road train with a full weight exceeding 3,500 kilograms.


Last updated: 13 March 2015