Integrated urban planning in Tartu

At the HEAT-project partner meeting in October 2019, Tartu municipality guided the partners in a workshop on integrated urban planning with Tartu as a case study. During the workshop the project partners were presented with a walkthrough of Tartu’s work to develop their Masterplan for Light Traffic by Heiki Kalberg of Artes Terrae, which exemplifies several features of integrated urban planning.

The work to develop the Masterplan for Light Traffic began with a question of: where are people moving and what are they moving to? In order to design the light traffic network for cyclists and pedestrians, the planners needed to understand the movements of different citizens and their various needs related to, for example: access to work, education or health services and integrate these into the light traffic plan. The most important question for Tartu was particularly to understand the main pedestrian and bicycle streams among students, because the main users of biking and walking paths are students. Answers to these questions was sought by analyzing various data sets available to the planners, for example: the road network, living spaces, public transport stops, bike rental movement, workplaces and the location of schools and other services.

The preparation for the Master plan for light traffic began with an idea gathering stage using a digital and interactive map about new bicycle paths and problematic places  in Tartu. By providing the map over the internet, participants could share their opinions about problematic points in the city and draw their ideas for paths and more direct connections on the city map. 

In the design stage of the light traffic network several different perspectives needed to be taken into account. The perspectives of the cyclists and pedestrians themselves have been taken into account, but also those of other groups such as car and public transport users as well as property owners in addition to integrating an ecological perspective and environmental protection questions. Following the development of the first draft of the light traffic plan, Tartu will host public forums for citizens to participate in the development of the plan and gain insights into their perspectives and integrate this further into the final draft, which is due to be finalized in November 2020.

According to Heiki Kalberg, a big part of the work developing the plan is to ensure cooperation and integration between the plan for light traffic and other city government policies, such as the overarching traffic plan and modal split goals for the city, a key component of integrated urban planning, in addition to multi-stakeholder participation.


Tartu’s vision for the transportation modal split by 2040

Jaanus Tamm from the Tartu City Government also presented Tartu’s new integrated cycle strategy and vision. The strategy is based on a modal split in Tartu where cycling increases by 1% per year and car use decreases by 1% every year. The goal is to achieve a 26% modal share for bikes by 2040, 25% for cars, 23% for public transport and 21% pedestrian traffic. The overall vision in the cycling strategy is for the bicycle to be “the preferred all-year-round mode of transport and walking is the preferred mode of travel – the residents of Tartu travel daily mainly by bicycle or on foot.” The Cycle Strategy 2019-2040 will be integrated into the Tartu Energy 2030+ plan, hopefully allowing for harmonization and coordination between several interdependent policy domains.

Other presentations from the workshop included: Walking and bicycling streets built in Tartu, by Mihkel Vijar, Cycle Track Specialist as Tartu City and Tartu Smart Bike by Roman Meeksa.

Emilia Sternberg, Cykelfrämjandet