Economic situation and war in Europe continue to dampen traffic volumes
Published on 30.1.2023
Uncertainty in the economy, the now-established trend for hybrid working, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are still impacting road traffic volumes in Finland. During the last quarter of 2022, there were notably fewer passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles on highways and main roads than a year earlier. In contrast, Lapland had its busiest Christmas season ever in terms of air traffic. All these insights were gleaned from Traffic Management Company Fintraffic’s October–December statistics.
“Several overlapping crises and a new way of working were reflected in traffic volumes last year. Although there are fewer vehicles on the road, a great deal of traffic data is being transferred between different parties, as traffic operators look to data to provide new inspiration for their service development. This can be seen in, for example, the growing volumes of open traffic data shared by Fintraffic and the broader range of situational and road-condition data being provided to consumers through a variety of services. Both the increasing prevalence of remote work and the development of data-based traffic services will help Finland to reach its goal of halving traffic emissions by 2030,” says Fintraffic’s CEO, Pertti Korhonen.
In October–December, traffic volumes on highways and main roads were clearly lower (-4.4 per cent) than in the corresponding period of the previous year. The volume of heavy-duty vehicles fell by just over eight per cent on October–December 2021, and light-duty vehicles by about four per cent.
According to preliminary figures, full-year traffic volumes saw a year-on-year decrease of just over one per cent. The volume of heavy-duty vehicles fell by just under four per cent, and passenger car traffic by around one per cent.
There was almost eight per cent less traffic on Finland’s roads in 2022 than in the last pre-pandemic year (2019). Contraction in traffic volumes has been quite rare in Finland since 1996, and annual decreases on highways and main roads have only been observed in 2008, 2009 and 2020.
In the last quarter of 2022, the average speed of vehicles on highways and main roads was 88.9 km/h, with the average speed of cars and vans being 89.8 km/h and the average speed of trucks, buses and coaches being 81.3 km/h. Compared to previous years, there was a slight decrease in average speeds throughout the year.
In October–December, commuter traffic volumes rose by almost 5.5 per cent on the corresponding period of the previous year. A year-on-year rise of 8.5 per cent was seen for 2022 as a whole. In contrast, the number of freight trains in October–December fell by 3.5 per cent on the corresponding period of the previous year. Cross-border traffic further decreased in late 2022 and, in practice, only freight traffic was passing through Vainikkala towards the end of the year. Compared to 2021, the number of long-distance passenger trains decreased by about 10.4 per cent in October–December, and by approximately 6.7 per cent for the year as a whole.
“A great deal of track work was carried out during the year. In late 2022, the amount of ongoing track work was almost a third higher than in the corresponding period of the previous year. This increase was largely due to the early onset of winter and the subsequent need for snow clearance,” says Sanna Järvenpää, Service and Development Director at Finntraffic Rail.
As a result of Russia’s overflight ban, the number of flights flying over Finland has fallen below even 2020 levels. The total volume of air traffic in Finland is still almost one-third lower than in 2019. 9.3 million flights were flown in Europe last year, which is 83 per cent of the number flown in 2019.
“Air traffic got off to a brisk start at the beginning of the year and looked promising in terms of development. However, after Russia introduced an overflight ban in response to sanctions, Western airlines redesigned their routes and the number of overflights once again plummeted. No changes in this situation are expected in the near future, at least not as long as the war in Ukraine continues. Conversely, Lapland had a busy Christmas season with more than 700 flights from Continental Europe landing in Santa Claus Land. This is not only notably higher than the previous year, but also exceeds 2019’s record-breaking figures,” says Raine Luojus, CEO of Fintraffic Air Navigation Services.
Nearly 1.2 billion calls were made to the open traffic data interfaces provided by Fintraffic in September–December. More data was shared than in the corresponding period of the previous year – and road traffic data in particular, as information about driving conditions and road maintenance is being put to greater use. During the corresponding period, approximately 1.1 billion interface calls were made for public transport travel data in the Digitransit platform.
Fintraffic provides a traffic situation service to consumers, companies and the media, as well as open-source data for transport operators, logistics service operators, and app developers to develop a variety of map services and navigators. During the autumn, the usability of rail traffic data in particular was improved in travel planners, and a new kind of view was piloted for public transport between Helsinki and Lahti (https://liikennetilanne.fintraffic.fi/ajankohtaista/?lang=en). Static and real-time travel information for public transport is available via the Digitransit platform.
Check out Fintraffic’s services:
Find out what open-source data on road, rail and maritime traffic is available in the Digitraffic service: https://www.digitraffic.fi/
The Traffic Situation service visualises data provided by Fintraffic, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency and the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom) on a map. This service is available as both a web service and a mobile app (iOS and Android). The app enables you to monitor the traffic situation in Finland and make reports on the condition of roads.
The Traffic Customer Service is a nationwide advisory service for matters concerning roads, railways and waterways. It is jointly provided by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, ELY Centres and Fintraffic. You can use the Traffic Customer Service’s Feedback Channel to leave a message or propose action on the state of Finland’s roads.
Read more about road and rail traffic volumes: https://www.fintraffic.fi/fi/fintraffic/liikennemaarat
A summary of services for all traffic users, traffic professionals and application developers.