Walking and cycling are modes of transport which are in line
with a sustainable and environmentally-friendly transport policy.
Their promotion also contributes to the establishment of a fair
transport system. As not everyone has their own car or access to an
efficient public transport link, it must also be possible to get
from place to place by walking or cycling.
It is the aim of the Ministry of Transport and Communications to
increase the modal share of pedestrian and bicycle traffic,
particularly in urban regions. The street network and walking
and cycling routes in towns and cities should be planned in such a
way as to ensure safe movement throughout.
In its Transport Policy Report for 2012, the Government stated
that the promotion of walking and cycling in an appropriate manner
will be taken into account in transport policy, the procurement of
transport services and the development of transport
In the Climate Policy Programme for the Ministry of Transport and Communications' administrative branch (2009), quantitative targets were set for non-motorised traffic with a view to reducing emissions. These aims remained unchanged in the 2013 update to the Programme.
Provisions on non-motorised traffic are laid down in the Road
traffic act (267/1981) and decree (182/1982) and in the Ministry's
decision on traffic control (203/1982). A comprehensive revision of
the Road Traffic Act was begun in the autumn of 2013.
The Finnish Transport Agency has joint planning instructions for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
A Strategy for Walking and Cycling 2020 and the associated
implementation plan were completed in 2011. The Strategy aims to
increase the share of journeys made by foot or bicycle by 20 per
cent, or 300 million trips. A corresponding decrease should
occur in short passenger car trips.
The implementation of these policy lines requires that different
kinds of organisations and various levels of administration are
committed to the project and engage in close co-operation.
According to the Strategy, walking and cycling are healthy modes
of travel, which citizens should be encouraged to use. Walking and
cycling should be fully recognised in the transport system
alongside other modes of transport, and this should be reflected in
the allocation of resources. Non-motorised traffic should also be
given attention in urban, traffic and land use planning.
When the trip to work, school or everyday services is reasonably short, pleasant and safe, people are more likely to see walking and cycling as attractive options for making the journey. Goal-oriented co-operation among all the actors involved, a reallocation of resources, changes in legislation and follow-up of development are needed to realise this.
Together with relevant stakeholders, in 2012 the Finnish
Transport Agency drafted a national action plan for implementing
the Strategy for Walking and Cycling by 2020. The plan will be
jointly implemented and an interim evaluation will be conducted in
Walking and cycling safety is promoted by building pedestrian
and cycle routes, which at the moment comprise some 5,000 km, and
by building over- and under-passes along roads. On roads that have
no separate paths for pedestrians or cyclists, it is important that
the verges are properly maintained. Measures to improve
lighting and traffic control will also contribute to the safety of
pedestrians and cyclists.
The transport and infrastructure division of Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) is responsible for implementing the tasks of the state regional administration. The Finnish Transport Agency is responsible for the operational control of ELY Centres in the field of road management. The Finnish Transport Safety Agency and Liikenneturva (the central organisation for traffic safety in Finland) monitor and develop traffic safety measures.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications cooperates with its administrative branch, local and regional authorities, the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and Ministry of Education and Culture in developing pedestrian and bicycle traffic. The Ministry is represented on the Committee for Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (TELI Committee), whose focus includes the promotion of walking and cycling.
There is also unofficial co-operation on developing non-motorised traffic, particularly with other Nordic and EU countries.