The coronavirus continues to have a significant effect on traffic volumes
Published on 18.3.2020
Last edited on 23.4.2020
Updated 23 April 2020
The first signs of increased traffic volumes can be seen. The volume of road traffic has gradually increased over the past days. The number of planes passing through Finland’s airspace has also been on a tentative rise due to the increasing number of flights from China to Europe.
On the whole, traffic volumes are still exceptionally low on land, at sea and in the air. All forms of travel and traffic in Finland are still widely affected by the instructions and recommendations given by the authorities to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Finland has restricted cross-border traffic since Thursday 19 March.
Road traffic volumes on the rise - still far below the usual numbers
Week 17 is off to a relatively calm start with regard to road traffic. However, there have been regional increases to traffic volumes compared to the previous weeks.
When compared to the weekday average for week 10, there was -24% less traffic in Uusimaa on Wednesday 22 April, while the corresponding number was -33% on Tuesday 7 April. Total traffic volumes are also increasing in other parts of Finland, although the situation on Wednesday 22 April was still at least -19% compared to normal.
Road traffic volumes by region on Wednesday 22 April, measured in TMS points (automatic traffic monitoring system):
- Uusimaa: -24.2%
- Southwest Finland: -21.0%
- Southeastern Finland: -26.4%
- Pirkanmaa: -20.9%
- North Savo: -19.0%
- Southeastern Finland: -21.3%
- South Ostrobothnia: -19.0%
- North Ostrobothnia: -25.8%
- Lapland: -30.1%
Long-distance trains most impacted on the railway
The impact of the coronavirus is also reflected on the railway, particularly in long-distance train traffic. Passenger trains to Russia as well as night trains are not running at all. VR has also announced additional cutbacks, which will remain in place until 24 May 2020.
In week 16, the volume of long-distance train traffic decreased significantly. The volume of long-distance train traffic was 23.0% lower than around the same time in 2019, and almost 18% lower than in week 15.
The volume of commuter train traffic has remained almost unchanged. It decreased by 1.8% compared to the previous week and increased by 0.7% compared to the previous year.
The number of freight trains increased by 3.0% from the previous week and 1.1% from the previous year.
Passenger restrictions still reflected in air traffic
In air traffic, the number of landings and take-offs fell steeply towards the end of March in Finland. The number of flights in Finland is now around 90% lower than around the same time last year (www.eurocontrol.int). International air traffic is focused on Helsinki-Vantaa, Turku and Maarianhamina for the duration of the restrictions.
The number of flights from China to Europe has begun to increase gradually. This increase is also reflected in the number of flights passing through Finland’s airspace. The number of flights on other routes has remained relatively even in the past weeks. It is likely that growth rates in air traffic will initially largely depend on the demand for cargo transport and passenger restrictions.
At sea the focus is on smooth cargo traffic
Passenger traffic at sea has practically ceased altogether since 11 April. With regard to cargo traffic, the number of vessels visiting ports has remained at the usual level.
“Starting from March, the instructions given out by authorities have reduced traffic volumes on land, at sea and in the air at a record rate. Over the past days there have been the first signs of increases in traffic volumes, particularly in road traffic. Although the sunny weather can be tempting, it is important to remember that the authorities are still recommending that people avoid unnecessary contact and crowds. Cargo has still been transported using all modes of transport throughout the coronavirus situation, although recently there has been some decrease in cargo volumes. Traffic Management Finland’s traffic control is doing everything in its power to ensure that traffic, the crucial network connecting society, continues to run smoothly even in exceptional circumstances and that traffic control services are available,” says Mikko Saariaho, Traffic Management Finland’s Chief Impact Officer.
Real-time information about the traffic situation is available through the Traffic Situation service at https://liikennetilanne.tmfg.fi or the Liikennetilanne mobile application.
Check our instructions for preventing infection when using public transport:
Ministry of Transport and Communications information package:
VR on 17 March 2020: Tolstoi- ja Allegrojunat perutaan toistaiseksi
Finnair’s travel updates: https://www.finnair.com/gb-en/flight-information/travel-updates
Traffic Management Finland controls traffic on land, at sea and in the air. It provides traffic information that helps companies create new transport solutions for people and goods. Intelligent traffic control and management services, real-time traffic information and the competence of the company’s 1,100 professionals improve the safety and smoothness of traffic and help reduce emissions. Traffic Management Finland promotes sustainable traffic and is a unique operator worldwide.