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Traffic is busy during the holiday season on roads, rails and in the air

Published on 22.12.2021

Winter traffic is expected to peak around the holiday season this year as well. Fintraffic predicts that the majority of trips made this year will be by car. Some will skip their holiday trips altogether due to the pandemic, which is expected to lessen traffic volumes somewhat.

“The pandemic has greatly changed how people in Finland travel between locations. The share of trips made by car has significantly increased since the pandemic began. This makes it more difficult to accomplish the emission reduction goals and reduces the health-enhancing physical activity of people related to the use of public transportation. Whenever possible in the context of your trip and schedules, using public transportation while observing the health safety instructions issued by authorities during the holiday season is a sustainable choice. It is important that we continue to have access to functional public transport and good mobility services as an alternative to cars,” says Pertti Korhonen, CEO of Traffic Management Company Fintraffic

According to national transport performance statistics, 90% of the kilometres travelled as passenger traffic in Finland were travelled by car in 2020. Before the pandemic, the market share of trips made by car was 84%. The market share of railway traffic has decreased to 3.9% (6% in 2019) and the share of bus traffic to 3.6% (5.6% in 2019). The market share of domestic air traffic of the total kilometres of passenger traffic in 2020 was 0.4% (1.7% in 2019). In 2021, the popularity of public transport has recovered somewhat, but it remains below the pre-pandemic level.

Fintraffic publishes reports on the volumes of road and railway traffic on its website (https://www.fintraffic.fi/fi/liikennemaarat).

Holiday traffic on the road: Maintain safe distances and keep traffic and road conditions in mind when planning your departure

Fintraffic’s road traffic centre looks after the safety and smoothness of road traffic throughout the holiday period. As the holidays fall on a weekend, the lack of additional public holidays means that the majority of traffic will take place in a short time span: the busiest days for outward traffic are expected to be 22nd and 23rd December and the busiest day for return traffic 26th December.

“It is difficult to give traditional Fintraffic road traffic centre forecasts about road traffic during the holiday season now, as the short holiday period and, more importantly, the poor situation with the pandemic does not encourage people to travel. If you decide to travel by road, you should keep in mind the pandemic guidelines regarding safe distances in traffic and when taking a break from driving long distances,” says Fintraffic’s Traffic Centre Manager Marika Saarenpää.

When travelling by car, you should pay particular attention to planning your trip in advance. A part of planning in advance is to check the traffic volumes and road conditions of your route before departing. This can be done easily in Fintraffic’s Traffic Situation service (https://liikennetilanne.fintraffic.fi/). The service also includes live feeds from road condition cameras and the charging and re-filling stations for electric and natural gas-powered cars.

Holiday traffic on the railways: For current information see the Train Departures service

The holiday season is busy also in railway traffic. The popularity of railway traffic has recovered lately and the holiday season is also expected to be quite busy. Fintraffic recommends passengers to follow the health safety guidelines provided by the transport operator and authorities.

The smoothness of railway traffic may also be affected by wintry conditions, particularly drifting loose snow, strong winds and freezing temperatures. Particular attention has been paid to winter preparations together with various parties.

“Fintraffic’s Rail Traffic Management is responsible for the safety of railway traffic throughout Finland, also during the holidays. Our centres guide traffic around the clock. We have collaborated closely with VR and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency in preparing for the winter conditions to ensure the punctuality of the trains,” says Fintraffic’s Acting CEO of Fintraffic´s Rail Traffic Management Sanna Järvenpää.

Fintraffic provides railway traffic passengers with passenger information 24/7. In normal and exceptional situations, information is displayed on the screens of stations and platforms as well as through separate announcements. Current information is available on mobile devices at junalahdot.fi.

Holiday traffic in the air: Holiday traffic has already started

Air traffic control, airports and airlines engage in close cooperation and they are prepared for wintry weather conditions in holiday traffic, as usual. 

Air traffic in Finland’s airspace has been at its busiest during the pandemic in late 2021. The overall volume of air traffic in Finland in November was 67% of the volume in 2019, and, regarding the entire year, about 45% of the volume in 2019 (about 90,000 flights in total).  

International holiday air traffic to Finland’s northern airports has been busier than last year, as tourism to Lapland has increased in popularity and, regarding Kuusamo and Kittilä at least, the volume of flights in the holiday season will even exceed the volume in 2019. The volumes of other northern airports will be similar to the volumes in 2019. The recovery of charter traffic during the holiday season has been rapid.

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