The time spent in traffic should be used in such a way that it has as few harmful environmental effects as possible and as many beneficial effects as possible.
HM denied the traffic loss in his opinion letter (HS 18.9.) and warned against getting too excited about the possibilities of smart traffic. Smart traffic alone cannot create an efficient and environmentally friendly transport system.
Marchetti’s well-known constant says that a person spends about an hour a day traveling. However, it is best for both the individual and society that this hour is used in such a way that it has as few harmful environmental effects as possible – for example, using public transport – and as many beneficial effects as possible – for example, walking or cycling the first and last kilometers. Smart transport offers these opportunities, for example, by offering a route guide and information about city bikes.
Smart traffic applications can even eliminate the need for traffic.
With the help of intelligent traffic, we can guide people to use the current transport system better, for example to avoid rush hour or find empty parking spaces. Smart transport applications can even eliminate the need for transport: for example, Groceries can be ordered home so that the goods of several customers arrive in the same transport. With smart traffic, we can avoid building new roads or tunnels. In the best case, we can even reduce the current traffic infrastructure and dedicate space previously used for traffic to recreation or housing.
We need all of these: urban planning that takes traffic into account, such as compact residential areas and pleasant public spaces, traffic infrastructure such as roads and tracks, and intelligent traffic management that directs to the efficient use of traffic infrastructure.
This piece of opinion has been published in Helsingin Sanomat 19th September 2022.