Street view of people and traffic.

Helsinki explores ways to accelerate reduction of transport emissions

The City of Helsinki, which aspires to carbon neutrality in 2030, has been investigating the realisation of the reduction of transport emissions. By 2030, the city aims to reduce transport emissions by 69 per cent from the 2005 level.

The target of the Carbon-neutral Helsinki programme is to produce only around 220,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions from transport in 2030. To achieve the target, the city has taken several measures to mitigate climate change, but according to a recent survey, progress is too slow.

The calculation produced by the consultancy firm WSP shows that the current measures will reduce transport emissions by only 39 per cent instead of 69, and the 2030 target will not even be met in 2040 with the current measures.

“The figures speak for themselves. The situation looks very grim from the point of view of the target, and the city quickly needs to use its full range of means to achieve the target,” says Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, director of the emission reduction programme.

The calculation produced by WSP is based on the traffic model of the Helsinki region. It has taken into account measures aimed at achieving the city’s climate goals and sustainable growth, such as the tightening of the urban structure and the development of rail transport. In addition, the projection of the renewal of the car population and the increase in the share of electric cars have been taken into account in the calculation according to the national forecasts.

Although emissions will decrease significantly, it is calculated that the decisions made will not have a sufficient impact by 2030. This year, the city intends to carry out a study outlining the most effective ways of reducing transport emissions and achieving the target.

Most of the transport emissions in Helsinki are produced by passenger cars. Although the emissions from heavy vehicles are higher per vehicle, their traffic volume is considerably lower than that of passenger cars. In total, transport accounts for approximately 20 per cent of the emissions in the City of Helsinki.

Image: © Paavo Jantunen