A varied environment of green areas and woods have been proven to have both health and recreational benefits to residents. The extensive green areas in the Lahti region allow for many free-of-charge nature services, function as a carbon sink and slow down climate change.
The Lahti’s Direction project combines traffic planning and land-use planning in a whole new way, helping build a sustainable city together with the different parties. The Lahti’s Direction project includes a Master plan, a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, and the Environmental programme and a Service programme.
The Master plan is an illustrated strategy, explaining our shared objectives in terms of land use and traffic planning. The Master plan of Lahti will be updated every four years, upon the re-election of a city council. The latest plan was drafted in early 2017, and the finished plan will be approved in 2020. Various workshops for residents, experts and interest groups were held in 2017 in order to gauge the current state of e.g. traffic and mobility of people.
Number of journeys made by public transport grew
The number of journeys made using regional public transport in 2017 was 7,320,913 for the entire region. This means an average of 36.3 journeys per resident.
Other news in public transport in 2017:
The relative change index for vehicle traffic, calculated with data from ten individual monitoring points, was on the rise in 2017. This rise is explained by the increased traffic on Vesijärvenkatu and Mannerheiminkatu after the removal of roadblocks at the travel center construction site. Also this is explained by growth of drive-through traffic on a national level, and growth of local vehicle mileage.
For a medium size city, Lahti monitors its air quality with as many as four monitoring stations. Additionally, Lahti has had a mobile air quality monitoring station since 2015. In 2017, the mobile station was located in Salpakangas, Hollola. In 2017, EUR 32,000 was invested in an analyzer measuring the concentration of various particles in the air.
The automatic monitoring stations monitor the amount of ozone and particles of varying sizes in the air, and three stations also have monitoring tubes for detecting VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) over periods of two weeks.
In 2017, the monitoring of air quality was launched in two residential areas of detached houses. The mobile monitoring station in particular is used for monitoring concentrations of PAH compounds. PAH compounds are produced when organic matter such as wood burns incompletely. Many PAH compounds can cause cancer or mutations.
During 2017, there were 21 days when the air quality was poor or very poor for at least one hour per day. These notches in air quality were caused by high concentrations of particles in the air.
Promotion of cycling
In 2017, Lahti received EUR 4.7 million European Urban Innovation Action project: The CitiCAP project aims to encourage residents to move more sustainably, reduce traffic emissions, compile and share digital resources on transportation as well as develop new transportation services for the residents. The project develops and pilots the residents’ personal emissions trading as part of transport policy, together with the Lappeenranta University of Technology. Additionally, a smart cycling route will be constructed to connect Apilakatu to the city center, and the mobility data currently being collected on various platforms will be compiled in a more usable format.
According to current data, cycling will not be efficiently promoted through the construction of paths shared by pedestrians and cyclists. Instead, more attention should be paid to the quality and maintenance of cycle ways, as well as comfortability and safety of the walking environment.
Future plans and challenges:
• Achieving a change in modes of transport: 2030 more than 50 percent of journeys will be made sustainably
• Increasing the comfort and safety of the urban environment.
• Ensure investment funding for main cycle ways / separated cycling routes.
• Understanding the overall picture and enhancing co-operation in promoting sustainable urban mobility.
• Decreasing noise and its adverse effects.