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ITF: Reforming Estonia’s institutional structure for transport will increase efficiency


Today, the OECD International Transport Forum (ITF) presented its conclusions on the analysis of the transport sector in Estonia. The world’s only organisation dealing centrally with all modes of transport highlighted the main challenges of Estonia’s transport policy and proposed further developments.

In 2018, Estonia requested support from the EU’s Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP) to analyse its transport sector and produce a report that would contribute to a new transport and mobility development plan for the period 2021-2035. The project was approved under the SRSP and implemented by ITF in cooperation with the European Commission.

"Reasonable and factual decisions are always based on thorough analysis, and modelling future scenarios by experts is definitely more reliable than just predicting the future from a gut feeling,” explained the Director-General of DG MOVE Henrik Hololei. “When we talk about funding transport projects in the European Union, it is clear that future funding decisions are directly linked to supporting the European Green Deal as well as the transition to a more sustainable transport system, while supporting the functioning and promotion of the single internal market, cross-border connections and ensuring social and economic inclusion."

With the new development plan, the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications wants to bring Estonia closer to a greener, smarter and safer transport infrastructure. In order to set up and flesh out the development plan, the Ministry organised in the last 18 months inclusive events across Estonia to include the views of the target groups and to capture the general view on the development of the transport sector.

According to Taavi Aas, Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, the knowledge of the ITF project will contribute to a more meaningful debate on the future of transport. “I am delighted that we received a thorough assessment of the project from a world-class organisation, which also made its own proposals for the development of our transport system. We need to pay more attention to both decarbonising transport and improving connectivity, which are challenging but very important goals. We now have a better overview of our strengths and areas where we need to pay more attention," said Aas.

The starting point of the ITF was to analyse the challenges and opportunities facing the Estonian transport system and to identify the country’s needs in terms of infrastructure and reforms. The report, based on science-based empirical analysis, provides recommendations to guide reforms. The project collected data, analysed best practices from other ITF Member States and used quantitative modelling to investigate different scenarios in the Estonian transport system. The results should help Estonia to develop better quality transport solutions for its people and businesses.

The results of the ITF were published today in the report “The Future of Passenger Mobility and Goods Transport in Estonia”. The report can be downloaded free of charge HERE

Some extracts from the ITF-I study on how Estonia could develop its transport system:

  • The institutional set-up of transport should be reorganised through a one-stop-shop of strategic planning in order to create efficiency and more science-based decision-making;
  • The introduction of the polluter pays principle, which, in conjunction with the reform of transport institutions, will help to ensure a more efficient infrastructure maintenance and procurement system;
  • Estonia should be cautious about considering public-private partnerships on road and rail;
  • The creation of a common governance model for Rail Baltic, together with other project partners, should be pursued;
  • Estonia should carry out a thorough analysis of the procurement system and consider improving the infrastructure procurement system.

Young Tae Kim, Secretary-General of the ITF, said that governments should approach the challenges of transport policy in a systematic and long-term manner. ‘It means: The implementation of common policies to achieve evidence-based and clear objectives. The Estonian government adopts this approach and ITF is proud to be able to contribute to it. I hope that our report "The Future of Passenger Mobility and Goods Transport in Estonia" will be an important building block for the next national transport and mobility development plan in Estonia, which will pave the way for the development of the Estonian transport system in the next decade for the benefit of its citizens.”

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