On 20 April 2020, Turku City Council decided that the planning of tramway will continue by the creation of general plan and implementation plan for the Science Park and Port lines. The lines will link together the most notable urban development projects in Turku, namely Turku Science Park, the development of the city centre and Linnakaupunki. Implementing the tramway as a comprehensive urban development project can support and speed up the development of these areas.
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As regards the public transport system, three options were examined and compared: a trunk bus system, a tramway and a superbus. Of these options, the trunk bus system is closest to the Turku region’s current bus transport system. Tramway- and superbus-based solutions are primarily based on lanes set aside from passenger car traffic and have significantly higher positive impacts on traffic than a trunk bus system. Various route options were planned for the first line and compared to define an optimal first phase for the implementation.
The tramway was found to most effectively meet four out of the five objectives set. From a financial perspective and based on the applied assumptions, a superbus solution would be a more profitable investment due to the large initial investment required by the tramway, provided that the superbus’s capacity remains sufficient for the entire 30-year examination period. The most notable risks associated with the superbus are uncertainties related to the achievement of the sought urban development impacts, the effects of potentially greater population and passenger number growth than predicted by the traffic forecast and uncertainties as regards the development and operating costs of bi-articulated electric buses. A trunk bus system would not meet the set objectives as well as a superbus or tramway.
According to VTT, similar projects elsewhere in Finland, in other Nordic countries and the rest of Europe have increased the attractiveness of cities, which has also translated into positive population and economic growth. The cities that are the most successful in the competition for companies, entrepreneurs, new jobs and young adults are the ones that are able to attract the most residents to move and stay in the city. Key factors contributing to the appeal of a city include the experience of urban living and the accessibility of workplaces and residential areas by public transport.
The tramway project is an extensive and long-lasting project. Therefore, a separate allocated project company will be established for its implementation. The project company will create a general plan for the tramway for the route Market Square – Travel Centre – Port and an implementation plan for the route Varissuo – Science Park –Market Square. The necessary amendments to the city plan and street plans will be prepared alongside the general and implementation plans. Based on the plans, the final estimation of the costs of the project can be made for the investment decision.
When the general plan and implementation plan have been completed, the City Council can make an investment decision on the construction of tramway approximately in 2024. According to current estimations, the construction work will last approximately five years. This means that the Science Park and Port lines would be completed around 2029. The schedule will be clarified during the development phase.