The innovative Finnish AiRRport concept offers a solution for seamlessly connecting rail and air networks. This addresses the intensifying global competition where accessibility is a critical factor. Modelled around the Finnish city of Tampere, the concept could prove valuable internationally as well.
Orestad, Denmark, 16-3-2015 — /EuropaWire/ — The vision of the AiRRport concept is to utilise existing rail hubs and link them to the international air network with a small additional investment to create a fast, comprehensive transport system. Ramboll has been prominently involved in the creation of the vision.
The second phase of the AiRRport vision was recently presented in Tampere, Finland. The Finnish minister for transport and local government Paula Risikko named AiRRport one of the leading projects in the country, praising the working group for its open-minded approach to improving accessibility. The minister highlighted the importance of developing transport chains.
– Transport affects all of us. It is part of our everyday life. Transport chains could turn into a social innovation with export potential, Risikko predicts.
Tampere as a main transport hub
Since the main arteries of Finland’s rail and highway networks join at Tampere, they could be linked to Tampere-Pirkkala Airport to serve western and central Finland. A fast Automated People Mover link could be built between the railway station, the city’s exhibition centre and the airport.
Sector Manager Jouni Lehtomaa and Transport Planning Engineer Kimmo Heikkilä from Ramboll have been part of the project working group.
– The Tampere-Pirkkala Airport is expected to serve between three and seven million passengers daily by 2030. The AiRRport concept would save 44 million kilometres in car journeys and nearly two million hours of travel in a year. Depending on future air traffic volumes, these investments would pay themselves back in five to ten years, making the project clearly viable in financial terms, Lehtomaa explains.
– As an additional benefit, the project would link the Tampere Exhibition and Sports Centre to the international air network and the national railway system. This would offer unrivalled accessibility for events held in Tampere, he adds.
Export hinges on accessibility
The future of Finnish exports and new viable businesses largely depend on improving accessibility. This can be accomplished by creating a number of transport hubs with international links over the next five to 15 years.
The concept has been created through discussions with stakeholders such as business representatives, the Tampere Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Tampere Region, the local authorities of Tampere, regional universities, and community representatives.
The AiRRport concept involves three phases: the linking of different transport modes in the first phase, the linking of transport networks in the second phase, and the renewal of terminal infrastructure in the final phase. The working group for the first phase was established in 2013, while the second phase was launched in 2014 with representatives from various organisations.
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