www.tallinn.ee, Delfi, Postimees/Scanpix
© www.tallinn.ee, Delfi, Postimees/Scanpix

Tallinn on the way to free public transport

In the beginning of 2012 the city government of Tallinn, Estonia announced that starting from beginning of 2013 there will be free public transport in Tallinn for citizens of the Estonian capital.

This is one of the steps with what Tallinn aims to be applicable to receive the title of European Green Capital for 2018.  However, this plan caused a lot of nation-wide discussion among different stakeholders. Free public tranport was also one of the topics tackled during the Tallinn Sustainable Transport Forum held on 12th of June 2012.


In that forum one of the key speakers was Eric Britton – sustainable transport promotor and scientist who has consulted governments, private sector and also NGOs related to applying sustainable transport systems. Mr. Britton pointed out that providing free public transport is a huge work, this has been tested in some other countries and more often it has been a failure. He also stressed that city transport should be thought about systematically.

Eric Britton formulated 10 suggestions for Tallinn:

  1. Tallinn should understand the changes in city tranport system development (based on cars, based on public transport and better than cars transport system). Tallinn can achieve the 3rd stage – the city is relatively small and flexible for making quick changes.
  2. As the current transport system in Tallinn is so inefficient, then everything that is done for making it better, will improve it. The system should be looked as a whole.
  3. It should be understood that the relation between people and cars changes. Cars will have much more functions in the future. The future of cars in city is car charing, joint taxis etc.
  4. Posssibilities of making better than car transport system should be used, Tallinn can do that. This system is at the end cheaper, quicker and better than the system s based on cars or public transport.
  5. At least in transport sector should be joined public and private services – development of software application, car charing system etc.
  6. Lowering speed limit – suitable speed in city areas should be  deoending on the place  -15, 30 or 50 km/h. When lowering the speed of cars, you will notice that public transport vehicles will drive much quicker- instead of previous 11 km/h it will be 13 km/h.
  7. People organise themselves in pairs, families but they also like to be part of a village or community which is like a nowadays village in a city. Think more about communities. A well-working city consists of happy communities.
  8. Put IT in the centre of rearranging the transport system. No-one has so far made the system a whole with help of IT – you can do that. Mobile phone is the linkage between you and better transport system.
  9. It is the time for creating fair transport system. Each citizen has equal possibilities to participate in city life. Fairness is accompanied by efficiency, cost-efficiency and being outstanding.
  10. Look forward, reconsile dissensions. We are too much differenciated as car-people and non-car-people. Lets create a system for our grandchildren.

Audioclip of Eric Britton´s closing speach is available at:


Eric Britton will consult Tallinn city government in transport questions.





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