Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2015) was drawn up for the first time combining regional land use plan, housing strategy and transport system plan.
The high rate of population growth in the Helsinki region poses challenges for transport and the urban structure. Transport planning, housing strategy work and urban planning have traditionally been all separate processes.
Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) coordinated the Helsinki Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2015) process in new way. It is a strategic plan taking an overall view of the transport system. Now it was carried out for the first time as an integrated planning process of the regional land use plan, housing strategy and transport system plan during 2012-2015. The goal of the plan is to provide the rapidly growing population with a sustainable transport system and urban structure. The land use, housing and transport system plans for the 14 municipalities of the region were prepared in close co-operation with said municipalities.
Participation and co-operation has been established on many levels, both policy makers and officials were involved. The targets and vision of the plan were steered through a multi-tiered regional decision making system.
The process included an extensive impact assessment process, as well as the presentations and hearing events for participants. Officials from every municipality and different sectors were consulted and their views and proposals were collected for the plan.
The process and the plan combined the needs of different sectors and 14 municipalities. A good and comprehensive cooperation between municipalities was created.
The participation process was implemented mainly by using internal human resources (several thousands man-hours). External consultants assisted in impact assessment. The process was financed by HSL´s budget, which consists of ticket revenue, municipal contributions, subsidies, other incomes.
Evidence of success
The HLJ 2015 process managed to combine the needs of different sectors and municipalities on a regional level. Regional compromises were successfully made in the process. Representatives of different sectors and levels, both elected officials and civil servants, were successfully committed to the planning and results. Good and comprehensive cooperation between municipalities was created. The events organised in the process had a very positive atmosphere.
As the HLJ 2015 plan is a strategic level regional plan heading to year 2050, there was some difficulties to organize participation with general public.
Potential for learning or transfer
In many countries and metropolitan regions, the planning processes in land use, housing and transport sectors are separate. When creating a sustainable urban structure, it is important to combine these planning processes in order to avoid both urban sprawl and the creation of new urban areas with insufficient public transport connections. The systematic and determined joint planning process can secure the balanced and sustainable development of the region. The multi-tiered participation process with all municipalities of the region insures the commitment of the municipalities to major transport and land use projects, also financially.
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