Baltic loop discusses mobility challenges at co-creation seminar in Riga

Baltic loop discusses mobility challenges at co-creation seminar in Riga

Within the framework of the international project “Baltic Loop” or “Baltic Transport Circle”, an online co-creation seminar was held on local level mobility in the Riga metropolitan area and connectivity with the southern transport corridor Ventspils – Riga – Valka.

The aim of the seminar was to discuss the current situation and possible solutions for passenger and freight traffic in the corridor, including the Riga metropolitan area, taking into account the need for connectivity between major development centers (in areas along the corridor) and international multimodal mobility points (Riga port, Riga central railway station, Riga International Airport).

Experts agreed that the backbone of regional mobility for both passenger and freight transport should be rail. In passenger transport, one of the challenges right now is how to create efficient mobility points by transferring from one transport to another. For example, in many places of passenger transport, stations are located far from the administrative center, so it is necessary to create an attractive public transport network that complements each other and ensures a convenient and fast flow of passengers. The integrated public transport ticket is an issue that is on the agenda of various planners in order to reduce the flow of private transport in the center of Riga, but at the same time promote the mobility of the population.

Speaking about the circle of the southern transport corridor Ventspils – Riga – Valka seminar experts have pointed out the need to use the railway infrastructure to Ventspils, resuming passenger traffic. It could possibly be further developed for tourism, offering additional trips by sea.

Regarding the flow of passengers around Riga, the experts pointed out the need to consider better accessibility of the airport in terms of public transport with the center of Riga and further to other settlements in Latvia. At present, this is time-consuming and insufficiently addressed. The Freeport of Riga also has poor connections with the railway and the airport. To get from the port to the airport, you have to drive through the center of Riga.

The participants of the co-creation also emphasized the intention of the Rail Baltica project, which is important in the Baltics, to establish 16 regional stations, which means that local governments must be ready to provide adequate infrastructure for mobility.

With regard to freight transport, the seminar participants emphasized a number of areas to be addressed. One of them is to think around Riga about the establishment of new significant logistics centers, which would also promote business and ease the workload of the center of Riga from the flow of trucks. A good example is the logistics center in Salaspils.

There is no easy solution to the question of how to promote the shift of freight from land to rail, which is more environmentally friendly in terms of harmful emissions. One of the contributing factors was the planned electrification of the railway, which was not in the planned direction Riga – Ventspils.

Project contribution – 51 ideas for transport development in Latvia

Project contribution – 51 ideas for transport development in Latvia

As part of the project, the Riga Planning Region organized a series of seminars-workshops “Cooperation Dialogues in the Transport Sector” with the aim of improving cooperation between different parties in the region to achieve better end results and find solutions to reduce travel time in the corridor. 

The final online meeting on 9 December discussed the results, which will allow the report to be finalized. 

The first meeting “Cooperation Dialogues in the Transport Sector” took place on September 22, 2020 in Riga. It was attended by 22 people. During the face-to-face session, the participants of the event analyzed the strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 

The second meeting “Cooperation Dialogues in the Transport Sector: Ideas and Solutions” took place on October 20, 2020, in Riga. During the face-to-face seminar-workshop, 21 participants created and discussed ideas and solutions for weaknesses, opportunities and threats. 

Identified:

 

  • 18 weak sides
  • 7 threats
  • 5 options
  • 51 ideas and solutions

 

“In the field of transport, we cannot ignore the trends of recent years. Mobility issues are affected by structural changes and changes in accessibility of citizens. This needs to be taken into account and much closer cooperation chould be developed in transport planning.” – Rūdolfs Cimdiņš, Head of Riga Planning Region administration

Stakeholders in Latvia develop SWOT analysis to reduce traffic bottlenecks and hindrances

Stakeholders in Latvia develop SWOT analysis to reduce traffic bottlenecks and hindrances

On September 22, a valuable working session took place in Riga within the framework of the international project Baltic Loop. Discussion participants from state and municipal institutions, Riga planning region and industry experts created a SWOT analysis on how to reduce traffic bottlenecks and hindrances. The work will continue in the next sessions but in the meantime some good lessons from the discussion!

Strengths

Strengths:

  • Clearly understood policy planning system in Latvia
  • Cooperation between the administration of the Riga planning region and the local governments of the region in all areas, incl. in the transport sector
  • Inter-ministerial working groups to address specific issues in the transport sector
  • A common vision for integration into the Single European Transport Area

Opportunities

Options:

  • Exploiting the research and development (R&D) potential of higher education and research institutions in transport planning
  • Identification and use of examples of good practice from Europe and other countries of the world in the Latvian transport sector
  • Use of synergies of EU cross-border as well as other projects in the development of the Latvian transport system
  • Experience in dealing with emergencies (Covid-19) and increasing the speed of decision-making
  • Development of smart and environmentally friendly technologies and their impact on the development of the transport sector

Weaknesses

  • Congestion with policy planning documents, frequent amendments to legislation
  • Lack of vision/strategy for overall long-term transport development
  • Rapid staff turnover at the decision-making level, which makes communication difficult
  • Non-systematic cooperation between public administration and academic environment (use of research results)

Threats

  • Lack of common policies and measures at the level of EU Member States, including to eliminate the consequences of Covid-19
  • Developments in unforeseen political events in the Eastern neighbor countries and the impact on international transport flows
  • The unpredictability of the Latvian legal environment (changes)
Introducing Baltic Loop to Riga stakeholders

Introducing Baltic Loop to Riga stakeholders

September 17, 2019 Vidzeme Planning Region and Riga Planning Region participated in MadCity seminar-workshop “Mobility Points in Latvia – Strategic Illusion or Great Regional Opportunity?”

The event brought together specialists and experts responsible for the planning, promotion and implementation of mobility in Latvia on a daily basis, including the Minister of Transport Talis Linkits.

Given the wide representation of the industry in the audience, it was a great opportunity to share the plans of the recently launched Interreg Central Baltic Program project BALTIC LOOP, which raises issues of a similar nature.