Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2014 - Page 62

Time to Move From pedestrian zones to intermodality, face of transportation keeps changing Photo: VR Group City centres around the world are struggling with congestion issues – but the rising green consciousness is providing urban planners with tools to combat the problem. Bicycle-minded pioneers such as Denmark and Holland have shown that bikes are extremely cool, green and hip and many cities are following their lead. P rofessor Jorma Mäntynen from Tampere University of Technology says that urbanisation is a strong global megatrend which forces all communities to consider their traffic mix. “Cities find it useful to allow for both pedestrian and bicycle activity, since when you remove cars from downtown, the setting becomes more enjoyable – which contributes to people spending more time and money there,” Mäntynen says, adding that cities have a clear motive to turn downtown areas into “pedestrian paradises”. Small Cities, Big Ideas In Finland, there are a number of cities that have been rather active on this front. Helsinki, for one, has had success with the “Low Line” bicycle route Baana, which connects downtown with west Helsinki. But there are other success stories out there, too. 60 Nordicum “Kokkola, for example, has realised a pedestrian zone along the lines of the Central European model and Oulu has a great pedestrian area and the best biking in Finland,” Mäntynen says. “Also Jyväskylä has shaped its centre from the pedestrian perspective and the City has very ambitious plans for development.” Discussing other strong trends in logistics, Mäntynen believes that intermodality will only be strengthening during the coming years. The concept relies on combining various forms of transportation to create a smooth traffic solution. “The challenge lies in making sure that the transport chain works seamlessly,” he says, pointing out that, for example, various “Airport City” concepts draw their strength from optimised intermodality. Air cargo will continue to grow; according to some estimates, the global total air cargo volume will triple by 2030. In Finland, the volumes have grown about 50% during the last ten years. Still, there are no real estimates as to the growth of air cargo in Finland in the future. Nevertheless, even though Climate Change poses a challenge to all air traffic, Finland occupies a “gateway” location and is quite well positioned. Rock the Rail According to Mäntynen, there is plenty of untapped potential left also in the rail traffic – both passenger and cargo. In Finland, the success of Allegro fast connection between Helsinki and St. Petersburg has created at least a partial “rail renaissance”. Allegro has already had one million passengers since its launch in December 2010. In September, the future of rail traffic was very much on the agenda at the RailForum 2013 seminar in Kouvola, a key rail-