Finland aims to become leading ecosystem for intelligent transport
Technological development and digitalisation are the most significant factors transforming the transport and communications operating environment. Data is evolving into a critical production factor, and it will dominate the future's transport and communications architecture. Finland has the opportunity to become a pioneer in the swift adoption and application of new, globally created technology solutions. The rapporteurs' report Liikenne- ja viestintäarkkitehtuuri 2030 ja 2050 (Transport and Communications Architecture in 2030 and 2050) states that success will require the effective utilisation of the combined transport and communications ecosystem.
The chairman of the working group is Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland, and its other members include Lauri Lyly, former President and Chairman of the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions (SAK), and Inka Mero, startup investor and Founder and Chairwoman of Pivot5 Oy. The rapporteurs submitted their report to Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner on 26 April.
"The current system does not need to be adjusted because it functions poorly, but rather because the present model cannot respond to the coming challenges that will impact transport and communications. In addition to current reforms, the vision we have presented gives the means for determining how and in which direction Finland's transport and communications operating environment should be developed. The experiences gained from the telecommunication sector during the mobile technology revolution are a good example of this," Mr Aho explains.
"Work on this vision highlights the growing significance data will have as a competitive asset in the future. I hope that Finnish companies grab hold of this opportunity to develop new services and business prospects. Work on the vision will also provide ideas and tools for the Parliamentary working group tasked with considering the funding of the transport network," Minister Berner emphasises.
In the working group's vision, traditional transport and digital solutions will meld with the broader ecosystem. Automation and e-services tailored to customers' needs will increase and become more diverse, and traditional security risks will shrink. The reform will see us transition from a standardised and rigid system to more individualised and flexible solutions. At the same time, the report finds that we will experience new challenges with regard to data protection and the reliability of digital systems, which must be solved during the coming preparation process.
The report describes the trends that will influence the transport and communications sector, as well as the components that make up a functioning transport and communications architecture. In addition to data, the working group feels that accessibility, open interfaces, pricing, taxation as well as regulation will be key factors. Finland's strengths, which will allow the now presented vision to be attainable, include a high level of education and, in particular, critical ICT expertise as well as fluid cooperation between the private and public sectors.
The report finds that in order for the development of a cohesive transport and communications infrastructure in line with the vision to be a possibility, sufficient funding must be ensured. Infrastructure is expected to develop primarily on the basis of demand, in which case society's task will be guarantee that the needs of those areas that fall outside, such a sparsely populated areas, are met. The funding system for future infrastructure would comprise more and more public and private funding.
The rapporteurs also presented future scenarios for 2030 and 2050 in which Finland has succeeded in utilising technological solutions in the manner described in the vision. In 2030, the Northeast Passage cable has made Finland a hub for telecommunications between Europe and Asia. Metropolitan Helsinki will be in the same work commute area as Saint Petersburg, Tallinn and Stockholm. Fast telecommunications connections have made it possible to utilise services, live and work also outside of residential centres.
In addition to data, the working group wanted to highlight key factors, which will require attention during the creation of a strategy for achieving the vision. Transport and communications networks must be developed together, in synch. Additionally, transport and communications services must be produced on market terms, utilising data and open interfaces.
In September 2016, the Ministry of Transport and Communications appointed rapporteurs to produce a vision on how a favourable environment can be created for Finland's wellbeing, competitiveness and national economy in 2030 and 2050 via the bold development of our transport and communications system. The final report by the working group Liikenne- ja viestintäarkkitehtuuri 2030 ja 2050 -Selvityshenkilöiden loppuraportti (Transport and Communications Architecture in 2030 and 2050 - Final report by rapporteurs) can be read in Finnish on the ministry's website at www.lvm.fi (Raportit ja selvitykset 7/2017).
For more information, please contact:
Esko Aho, interview requests to Päivi Yli-Kyyny tel. +358 50 352 1481
Lauri Lyly, tel. +358 50 68293
Inka Mero tel. +358 45 121 4394
Mr Mikael Nyberg, Director-General, Ministry of Transport and Communications, tel. +358 40 837 8794