International seminar " Public transport in the Baltic States: EU policies – national opportunities – local contexts in Riga

International seminar

Development of public transport is one of the main component of sustainable urban mobility planning system. Discussion of best practices and possible directions of activities in this direction are very actual

On 5 March 2015 under the patronage of the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Unionthe international seminar "Public transport in the Baltic States: EU policies – national opportunities – local contexts" was organized in Riga by international organization UITP in cooperation with Latvian Ministry of Transport and the Riga City Council.
International seminar in Riga discussed the state-of-the-art of public transport in the Baltic States, but also the broader Central and Eastern Europe region. The seminar focused on the current situation and developments of the public transport sector and the impact of EU legislation and the structural funds. There was also a strong emphasis placed on contexts, opportunities and challenges faced by local, suburban and regional passenger transport, including bus, trolleybus, tram and commuter railway in the Baltic States.

More 70 delegates from national, regional and local governments, officials from the European Commission and the European Parliament, but also professionals and experts from public transport (PT) operators and companies from 10 European countries participated in the workshop.

The seminar was opened by welcome speeches of Director of UITP European DepartmentThomas Avanzata, Deputy State Secretary of Latvian Ministry of Transport Dins Merirands and Executive Director of Riga City CouncilJuris Radzevics.

Key speakers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and EU representativesdiscussed the development of public transport within the three sessions:
• Public transport in the Baltic States: Current developments and future perspectives,
• EU transport policies and structural funds: Impact and assessments,
• Urban mobility in the Baltic States: Best practices and lessons learned.

The presentation “Two years of free public transport in Tallinn” by Head of Tallinn EU OfficeAllan Alaküla was one of the most debated topics. Since 2014 residents of the Estonian capital can travel free of charge. The social, economic, environment and fiscal aspects and results of this first year experience were presented:
• Number of passengers in 2014 up by 9% compared to 2012,
• PT is for 51% tallinners main mode of mobility in the city,
• 74% of PT users are satisfied with the quality of the service,
• Satisfaction index up from 3,61 (2010) to 3,93 (2014) on the scale of 5,
• 19% respondents claim they use PT more while it became free, 4% drive and 4% walk less,
• 43% of unemployed respondents claim FPT helps them to find new job.

Other presentations were devoted to main topics of the seminar:
• Recent developments and evolution of public transport in the Baltic States and the CEEC region,
• The impact of mobility on economies, environment and societies in the region,
• The impact of EU policies and structural funds on public transport’s efficiency and attractiveness,
• Latest mobility trends: electromobility, open data, combined mobility, free public transport, etc.
• Baltic States’ cities on their way towards smart cities – mobility’s key role,
• Local, regional and national business models for urban mobility.

The presentations of the seminar can be downloaded from the web site of Transport Department of Riga City Council (

Contact: Igor Kabashkin

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