Listening to customers in an effort to decrease debt related to the transport network's maintenance backlog

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 12.2.2016 9.42
Press release

Measures that will reduce debt related to the transport network's maintenance backlog are being planned in accordance with strategic guidelines. The selection criteria for measures include customer needs, management of maintenance backlog, as well as digitisation and new services.

"The Finnish Transport Agency has planned a programme of measures for debt related to maintenance backlog based on these criteria. There are a large number of projects that will be carried out in different parts of Finland, and these are based on genuine needs observed among transport users such as commerce and industry. I also believe that it is important that the opportunities provided by digitalisation and overall readiness for future services are taken into account in the maintenance of the transport network," said Ms Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications.

The government's objective has been to improve the condition of the transport network to the extent that it meets customer needs and can act as an effective foundation for growth. Debt related to maintenance backlog refers to the amount of money necessary for the repair of transportation routes to a condition that meets today's needs.

"The repair projects that are now being launched will specifically employ the services of small and medium-sized companies all over Finland. Additionally, the selected measures will improve the safety of all transport users and conserve the environment," Ms Berner explained.

The Finnish Transport Agency as an expert in the field will be responsible for selection of the measures. The Finnish Transport Agency has published a programme for debt related to maintenance backlog for 2016-2018. The programme comprises road, rail, waterway and digitisation projects, which will be realised with 600 million euros of additional funding from the government. The programme has been published in Finnish on the Finnish Transport Agency's website.

Selection of measures based on continuous assessment

With regard to targeting the funding of maintenance backlog work, it is essential to take the needs of commerce and industry into account and to ensure the functionality of transport in commuter areas. The government works in cooperation with commerce and industry to identify important sites for maintenance. The Finnish Transport Agency and the ELY Centres have carried out a survey on this. Commerce and industry have provided them with lists of reasons for already identified needs, as well as new needs and perspectives on the prioritisation of maintenance sites. With regard to the effective functioning of transport in commuter areas, the identification of important sites has required the combining of fragmented data and development of digitised customer feedback.

The objective has been to halt the accumulation of new debt caused by maintenance backlog and steadily decrease existing debt. Without any measures to alter debt related to maintenance backlog, the debt would grow and the condition of transport routes would quickly decline.

Digital data facilitates the effective integration of customer needs and transport measures, but the analysis and processing, as well as strong utilisation of data is also required. This will help in controlling debt related to maintenance backlog and prevent the accumulation of new debt. The automation of traffic will also be promoted.

Changing conditions will be taken into account, and the selection of measures will be based on continuously updated information, the actual needs of customers and impact assessments of a high standard. All the selected measures will have a positive impact on safety and the environment.

The Finnish Transport Agency will report transparently and in an up-to-date manner on selected measures and their effectiveness. The maintenance backlog programme and sites can be viewed on the Finnish Transport Agency's website.

Further information:

Ms Sabina Lindström, Director, Services Reliability Unit, Ministry of Transport and Communications tel. +358 295 34 2576, Twitter @LindstromSabina

Mr Vesa Männistö, Senior Advisor for Asset Management, Finnish Transport Agency tel. +358 29 534 3569