Road Planning Process | 3The following is a summary of the highway (i.e. state road) planning process – what are its phases and what can be done to achieve the best result? Why Highways Are Improved and ConstructedImproving an existing highway is preferred to the constructing a new one. Highways are improved to meet general traffic needs, to eliminate or reduce negative impacts caused by traffic or when changes in land use so require. A new highway shall be constructed when the existing highway network no longer meets the requirements of traffic or land use, and these requirements cannot be satisfactorily met or eliminated through road improvements or other transport system develop-ROAD PLANNING Processments, or the negative impacts caused by traffic cannot be reduced enough.Reasons to improve existing highways and con-struct new ones include the following:•Increased mobility/travel due to residential, work place and service developments.•Requirements better serve the transport needs of industrial and commercial activities.•Increasing mobility during working hours and free time and growth of the car fleet.•Need to make highways safer and reduce negative impacts on the environment caused by traffic.•Aim to improve pedestrian and bicycle traffic conditions, and the use of public transport.•Aim to improve traffic mobility.Highways are improved and built to increase traffic safety, among other things.
4| Road Planning Process Who Plans and Constructs Highways?Highway planning is based on the Highway Act and Decree, and other legislation concerning land use planning. The state is responsible for maintaining and planning highways. The Finnish Transport Agency acts as the responsible organisation at state level. The Centres for Economic Develop-ment, Transport and the Environment (EDTE Centres) are regional-level authorities. The EDTE Centre commissions the planning, construction and maintenance of highways from companies offering such services. In addition to highways maintained by the state, there are streetsin urban areas, construct-ed and maintained by the municipalities. In addi-tion, many private roadsexist, especially in rural areas, which are the responsibility of shareholders or the owner of the real estate in question.Road Planning as Part of Road Network ManagementRoad planning is part of community planning. It is part of a planning system in which plans for traffic, land use and areas are all integrated. Co-operation is therefore necessary between the different parties involved in planning.Road maintaining and planninginvolves planning of maintenance, upkeep and develop-ment of the highway network. It is based on goals set by the Ministry of Transport and Com-munications, resulting in plans and programmes to achieve these goals. These in turn direct actions within different segments, such as theplanning of road projects.