Planning a road, railway or waterway project is only one part of an entity; planning is now focused more on achieving a functional entity. “It is seldom that planning leads to major investments in development. They are only needed when all other measures have failed,” says Rami Metsäpelto, Director General for the Planning and Projects division of the Finnish Transport Agency.

In the summer of 2015, the Finnish Transport Agency restructured its organisation by creating a new division, Planning and Projects, which is tasked with transport system planning, the planning of road, railway and waterway projects, and the implementation of investments in development based on Parliamentary decisions.

“We had a good reason for doing this: the restructuring brought planning and implementation closer together. We also launched the restructuring of the planning process and content,” Rami Metsäpelto says.

In his new role as a director general, Metsäpelto, who has long worked for the Finnish transport authority, emphasises the importance of overall optimisation. The Finnish Transport Agency as an organisation has excellent capabilities for this now that the entire range of modes of transport is under one roof.

“Naturally, there is some need for improving the transport network within individual modes of transport. For example, the sufficiency of the carrying capacity of certain sections of the railway network needs to be ensured, and we need to continue with the electrification of key track sections and increasing axle weights. It causes unnecessary additional logistics costs to trade and industry when an electric locomotive is switched to a diesel locomotive midway,” says Metsäpelto.

According to Metsäpelto, as industrial investments in Finland are now looking brighter than they have been for a long time, it is the Finnish Transport Agency’s duty to ensure that the required infrastructure is in order by the time the construction of a mill or other type of investment is completed.

“In our view, more than anything else, our role is to act as an infrastructure partner and a provider of opportunities. With regard to the bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, for example, our goal has been to ensure that the transport infrastructure functions as well as possible throughout the chain, within the framework of the available funding.”

Original source: Finish Transport Agency