The idea of Tallinn-Helsinki undersea tunnel becomes reality

Source:www.theguardian.com

Source:www.theguardian.com

Tallinn – Helsinki: The idea of a fixed link, connecting two European capitals is one of the most ambitious projects within the Baltic Sea region. Connectbaltica has been a great supporter of this initiative, by adding this subject to the agenda of its various events.

In 2013 there was a conference, where Niko Stahlberg introduced the idea, which he came out even before Elon Musk.

In 2014 at the 4th Annual Connectbaltica Conference, an Estonian well-known businessman Joakim Helenius presented another approach: The Tallinn- Helsinki undersea tunnel. This initially skeptically adopted idea is now becoming more and more true.

Joakim Heleneius, 4th Annual ConnectBaltica Convention 2014

Joakim Heleneius, 4th Annual ConnectBaltica Convention 2014

During the conference Mr. Helenius has promoted a fixed link between Helsinki and Tallinn enabling prosperity and growth of the “Two-city-Region”. Once a tunnel has been build connecting both cities, Tallin and Helsinki, people can communicate on daily basis and have direct access to international flights via Helsinki airport. According to the estimations, the travel time between the two cities could be reduced to approximately 30 minutes. The project has been seen as one which will further impact at least the following: immediate ROI perspective, positive strategic impact for the whole region and travel time between two cities could be reduced to approximately 30 minutes.

This initially skeptically adopted idea is now becoming true. The cities of Helsinki and Tallinn, Estonia, have just signed an agreement to develop a rail line connecting the two capitals via a 92-kilometer (57.2 mile) tunnel beneath the Baltic Sea. If all goes to plan, the link could slash journey times: a trip that currently takes one hour and 40 minutes at its very shortest would last just 30 minutes.

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ConnectBaltica 5th Annual Convention 2015 focused on Mobility

Tallinn 11.11.2015: This year’s ConnectBaltica Convention took place in Swissotel in Tallinn focusing on Mobility. Following the approach to transform ConnectBaltica towards an Estonian ITS Organization the event was mainly performed in Estonian language and live streamed to the Internet. There have been almost 30 participants on-site and almost 100 participants on-line via live stream.

From left to right:  Gilbert Konzett and Andres Peets

From left to right: Gilbert Konzett and Andres Peets

Gilbert Konzett, Policy Officer at Kapsch TrafficCom AG, in his presentation, sketched out European best practice examples of different transport taxation solutions and mobility pricing schemes. A shift from fuel taxes to user-based fees would adequately address both, congestion and socio-economic challenges. Steps to be taken should be guided by the principles of proportionality and equal and non-discriminatory rule enforcement. [Presentation of Gilbert Konzett]

In the second part of the convention respective speed limits have been discussed.

Marek Rannala

Marek Rannala

Participants at Connectbaltica 5th Annual Convention 2015

Participants at Connectbaltica 5th Annual Convention 2015

The convention has been opened and moderated by Andres Peets, president of ConnectBaltica and Estonian traffic specialist Signaal TM AS.

IMG_0726

Andres Peets

The first session dealt with the topic of Road charging and city congestion charging. Mr. Keiu Rõa of Ernest & Young (EY) presented the outcome of a study performed by EY analyzing the possibilities of inventing respective pricing schemes for road usage in Estonia.

Keiu Rõa

Keiu Rõa

The objective of the study was to find out whether and which possibilities there are for road transport taxation in Estonia that would not unreasonably negatively affect the Estonia‘s competitive position as a living and entrepreneurial environment and that would be economically and technologically feasible. Based on the analysis of various countries such as Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Portugal and Slovakia most of the transport tax revenues is based on fuel excised duty, in average 72% comes from road transport taxes. In Estonia revenues mainly come from fuel tax (99%). Currently Estonia has only heavy goods vehicle taxes at the minimum extend and no personal vehicle tax or road user charges of any kind. All EU countries excluding Finland and Estonia are implementing road user charges (RUC) for heavy goods vehicles. Implementing a car tax for passenger cars would have a positive impact. However heavy goods vehicle should be also charged.

IMG_0741

Gilbert Konzett

Gilbert Konzett, Policy Officer at Kapsch TrafficCom AG, in his presentation, sketched out European best practice examples of different transport taxation solutions and mobility pricing schemes. A shift from fuel taxes to user-based fees would adequately address both, congestion and socio-economic challenges. Steps to be taken should be guided by the principles of proportionality and equal and non-discriminatory rule enforcement.

[Download here the presentation of Gilbert Konzett]

In the second part of the convention respective speed limits have been discussed.

Marek Rannala

Marek Rannala

One of theses of Marek Rannala was that Tallinn has to set the limit speed of 30 km/h to provide a calmer traffic flow of road traffic and avoid fatal accidents. In opposing speech Ain Kendre told that car traffic should stand separate from pedestrians. Traffic speed should be more flexible.

[Download here the presentation of Marek Rannala].

Ain Kendre

Ain Kendre

In different cases could be allowed even up to 70 km/h. The Ertico study “ Intelligent Transport Systems for reducing CO2 emissions for passenger cars” shows that at low speed will cause much more pollution.

The Convention has been closed by round table discussion moderated by Andres Peets.

From left to right: Christoph Demuth, Gilbert Konzett, Ain Kendre and Marek Rannala

From left to right: Christoph Demuth, Gilbert Konzett, Ain Kendre and Marek Rannala

Christoph Demuth, managing director of ConnectBaltica and Managing Partner of Austrian Stratum Traffic Engineering GmbH favors a solution based on exact analysis beforehand positively and sustainable influencing mobility. However a fixed link between Helsinki and Tallinn might also have positive effect on the development of the region, even today’s statistics might not show it.

From left to right: Gilbert Konzett, Margus Nigol, Andres Peets, Ain Kendre, Christoph Demuth and Marek Rannala

From left to right: Gilbert Konzett, Margus Nigol, Andres Peets, Ain Kendre, Christoph Demuth and Marek Rannala

 

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Connectbaltica 5th Annual Convention 2015

CONNECTBALTICA Convention 2015

Tallinn, 11.11.2015

This year CONNECTBALTICA – ITS ESTONIA Convention 2015 will focus on mobility. Mobility stakes are increasingly important in today’s fast-growing urban centers all over the world. Our biggest city Tallinn is no exception in this regard. Hundreds of private cars (as well as public transport) share the city space with pedestrians and users of bicycle traffic.

All this car traffic produces a large extent of pollution. We may instinctively hop into our car, even though cycling or public transport could be a more efficient choice. This year’s theme of multimodality encourages people to think about the range of transport options available, and to choose the right mode when travelling.

One of the aspects is also congestion charge successfully used in several European capitals as well as ITS-bringing solutions for reducing CO2 emission.

Date: 11.11.2015

Location: Swissotel
Address:  3, Tornimäe | Tallinn 10145 | Estonia
Tel: +372 624 2444 | Mob: +372 5302 6646 | Fax: +372 624 2445
Web: www.swissotel.com/tallinn

Program:

14:00 – 15:00
1st Session – Road charging and city congestion charging 

Keiu Rõa - Ernest & Young   
“Ernst & Young study on the effects of road use charges in Estonia”

Gilbert Konzett – Kapsch TrafficCom AG
“Italy‘s limited traffic zones – Z.T.L. Zona traffico limitato – for city centers”

15:00 – 15:00
Coffee break

15:30 – 16:30
2nd Session – The opposing views

Marek Rannala – Kami OU
“The main street of Tallinn’s vision for the future (a speed limit of 30 km/h)”

Ain Kendra – Draken Expert OU
“Better and smoother traffic in the city (“a speed limit up to 70 km/h”)

 Round table discussion

If you want to participate, please fill in the online survey HERE.