Even though COVID-19 is impacting the economy in several areas, the signs point to a tendency for cities to increasingly invest in rail traffic in the 2020s. The requirements of sustainability and a denser urban structure contribute to the revival of rail traffic.
Tampere Tramway has been a trailblazer as trams make a return in Finland. It is already undergoing testing and it will start its operations next year. The Jokeri Light Rail and Kruunusilta Tramway Alliance are currently in progress in the capital region. Helsinki City Transport has made a significant investment plan amounting to more than one billion euros for the current decade.
According to Antti Korhonen, head of YIT’s railway and track construction unit, the popularity of railway and tramway projects is increased due to global mega trends. Even though COVID-19 has already changed the world, mega trends continue to make progress.
“The change begins with cities wanting or being forced to reduce their carbon footprint, which is also evident in the subsidy policy. The reduction of carbon emissions has been set as a political target at both the national and EU levels. That’s why subsidies are focused on public transport projects – specifically on rail traffic,” says Korhonen.
A significant part of the economic benefits of rail projects is received through rising property prices and urban development potential, and the expected increase in value is carefully calculated in many projects. Cost-savings are also important in public projects, and the project model is a major factor in this respect.
According to Aleksi Laine, Head of YIT’s Infrastructure projects division, an alliance is the best model for a rail project because extensive rail projects are very complex due to the environment in which they are implemented. There are many interfaces and a lot of uncertainty involved.“Of course, alliance projects pose a similar number of challenges as any other models, but when the client, designer and constructor all share the same goals, there are hardly any disputes, and that saves taxpayer money as well.”
More extensive article on the subject: https://www.yit.fi/en/in-focus/cities-on-rails
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