In the ongoing programme period, 447 million euros (13%) of structural funding is planned for transport investments. In the last programme period between 2007 and 2013, 638,2 million euros were assigned to the Operational Programme for the Development of Economic Environment (MARK in Estonian) and 76,7 million euros to the Operational Programme for the Development of the Living Environment (EARK in Estonian) in order to improve transport connections and mobility. As the latter exemplify, transport projects are costly and extensive, with long-term and far-reaching results and impact. The study examines whether structural funding for transport investments during programme periods 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 has been efficient and whether it has led or will lead to expected results.
Transport plays a vital role in the development of national and regional economy. A smooth-running and sustainable transport system ensures lower transport costs and access to workforce, domestic consumers, foreign markets and capital. A well-functioning and integrated centre-periphery allows for an even distribution and development of economic activity in a country, therefore, this study does not only compare the direct costs and revenues of projects, but also assesses changes in traffic load, road traffic safety and the environment resulting from transport investments.
The study focuses on the following:
- Target reach – to what extent have transport investments helped reach the objective of ensuring accessible, comfortable, safe, fast and lasting transport for people and companies?
- Traffic load – have road and rail transport investments increased road traffic safety, the use of different road sections, and reduced time spent on travelling?
- Road traffic safety – to what extent has road traffic safety improved?
- Economic efficiency – have transport investments helped businesses to reduce costs and/or optimise work? To what extent has the number of companies changed in areas that received funding for road, rail, airport or port projects?
- Sustainability – what impact have investments had in the fields of transport development, entrepreneurship, public transport and light traffic?
- Environmental stress – what impact have sustainable transport investments had on environmental objectives – reducing negative environmental impact and energy use in transport?
In the context of the study, light traffic ways are counted and a non-motorised traffic count is conducted using mobile positioning in order to determine the number of road users and evaluate the extent of use and efficiency of investments. In order to improve mobility – including but not limited to fixing road and rail networks – the experiences of planning and implementing previous projects are invaluable when drafting new projects.
The impact assessment will be completed in spring 2017.