Sustainable Transport in the Barents Region project

About WP 4 Road transport


Road development in the Barents Region is characterised by isolated approaches divided by national borders. The first phase of STBR carried out specific projects to study road safety, tourism and freight terminals. STBR II aims to address the most obvious needs revealed in the work of the first STBR phase as follows.


  • Road transport data are currently in isolated national databases and not typically available to other experts. Now the Internet technology allows sharing of this data. Technical measures will be undertaken so as to make this data and information sharing possible between the national road authorities.
  • The main roads have been defined from the perspective of national interest. However, big industries and businesses have a more global view to their business development and road authorities have difficulties to follow this up with new road investments. Also, harmonisation of road corridor standards and maintenance practices are necessary. Furthermore, the Barents road corridors will help define the roads of the Northern Transport Axis between the EU, Norway and Russia as proposed by the EU in Nov 2005.

  • The Barents roads have a higher than average share of heavy goods vehicles (HGV), which are accident-prone in winter. Conditions of serious accidents will be analysed as well as common measures recommended for preventing them from occurring.

WP 4 includes three subprojects

  1. Setting up a road information sharing system over the Internet
  2. Pilot project for establishing the road corridors of the Barents region

  3. Second phase of the joint heavy vehicle safety subproject

  WP contact
  Krister Palo
Swedish Road Administration, Northern Region
  WP Steering Group
  • Krister Palo, Swedish Road Administration, Northern Region
  • Per Eriksson, Swedish Road Administration, Northern Region

  • Irina Jonsson, Swedish Road Administration, Northern Region

  • Stig Carlsson, Swedish Road Administration, Northern Region

  • Eilif Mathisen, Norwegian Public Roads Administration, Region North

  • Heino Heikkinen, Finnish Road Administration, Oulu District

  • Jorma T Leskinen, Finnish Road Administration, Lappi District

  • Valeri Alikin, Highway Agency, Komi Republic

  • Anna Tsaplina, RADOR, Moscow

  • Marko Mäenpää, STBR II Secretariat




 Updated: 10/17/2007


Two subprojects for WP4 has been launched:

1. Road Corridors in the Barents Region
      Contractor: WSP LT Consultants Ltd

2. Traffic safety of heavy vehicles in winter time
      Contractor: Pöyry infra Oy


 Road - Subprojects WP4

  Subproject # 1

Road Corridors in the Barents Region


Project period: August 2006 – April 2007.


Project objectives

  • Find out the most important demands that industry in Barents will have on road transports in the future. The knowledge will help the road authorities to set up future plans and have a common understanding for the potential and challenges. It is important that the road authorities can agree on what road corridors connecting the industries and hubs between the countries are the most important ones. The findings and material will work towards helping the road regions setting up their national transport plans and to achieve a better basis of political decisions on any infrastructure investments.

  •  Form the basis of a common “quality standard” for roads serving heavy and urgent transport, regarding load capacity and predictability of transport time.


Project’s scope

The project shall have strong future orientation and strategic focus. The work shall entail the following.

  • Research into the main industries’ demand for road transport, as regards
    -  load capacity
    -  regularity, for example predictable transport time.

  •  Find out the important future road corridors from industry point of view.

  • Survey in the four Barents countries, of
    - l
    egislation on gross weight, axle load and vehicle dimensions for heavy  vehicles on the important corridors
    - amount/frequency of temporary traffic restrictions on these roads, due to weather conditions, seasonal reduction of bearing capacity etc.
    -  known “bottlenecks” on the roads 
    -  penetration of transport telematics solutions

  • Assessment of gap between industries’ future demand for road standard and the current state of the road network. The need is to form the basis of a common “quality standard” for roads serving heavy and urgent transport, regarding load capacity and predictability of transport time.

  • Road Corridor strategy seminar/workshop for the primary stakeholders

  • Proposals for improvement concerning administrative, legislative and technical measures. Vision and strategy aiming at years 2010, 2015 and 2020.

The study should concentrate on main routes across national borders, connecting important hubs and terminals of industries.


  Subproject # 2

Traffic Safety of Heavy Vehicles in Winter Time in the Barents Region

Project period: August 2006 – April 2007.

Project objectives and scope

A deeper analysis of the influence of winter conditions on heavy traffic accidents.  The main interest on the Heavy Traffic and Traffic Safety in the Barents Region study, done in STBR I, was to improve traffic safety with respect to heavy traffic in road corridors in the Barents Region. The traffic accident statistics used were based on accidents registered by the police and data taken from the national road authorities’ databases. The statistics in STBR I were based on general data from the databases of road authorities. There is very detailed information available about the accidents in these databases; every serious accident is separately documented. To find out more, the detailed data should be analyzed.

A recent study in Finland (Ministry of transport and communications, publication 31/2005) shows, that there is no significant difference in heavy vehicle accident risk compared to traffic flow in winter and in summer on national level in Finland. However, in the Barents region the risk was found to be higher in winter. This research should find out what the reasons for that are. 
The results should present profoundly justified answers to questions like

  • Is the higher risk of heavy vehicle accidents in winter caused by snow, low friction, freezing temperature, or is there another factor connected to winter weather conditions?

  • Is driver fatigue caused by driving in darkness a factor?

  • Is there significant difference in types of accidents in winter compared to summer months?

  • In most cases the driver of the heavy vehicle is not guilty for the accident. However, the study in Finland shows that in winter the driver of the heavy vehicle is more often the guilty part than in summer. Is this true in Barents region as well?

  • Does the fact that roads tend to be narrower in the winter because of snow on the sides have any influence on accidents?

  • In Finland the worst month seems to be January, in Sweden February and in Norway and Russia March, is this just a coincidence?

The project on heavy traffic safety in winter might concentrate on these issues but should not be limited to them. The work will probably reveal new questions, which also should be answered.

Measures to improve heavy traffic safety in winter conditions must be brought up based on the analysis. Answers should be found on many questions concerning road authorities, such as

  • Could wider implementation of lower speed limits in winter reduce risk of heavy traffic accidents?

  • Should road maintenance standards be developed to ensure safer environment?

  • Could road maintenance practices be improved in order to improve safety?

  • Should there be more and better places for rest for heavy vehicle drivers?

  • The potential of transport telematics implementation? Mobile telephone network coverage?

Focus and constraints of the work

The study will be focused on

  • Deeper study of the traffic accidents during winter time with heavy vehicles in the Barents region. The study must give answers to why the accidents have happened.

  • Proposals for measures to improve the traffic safety. The input is the deeper studies carried out. This includes a wide range of measures and on all levels, such as measures on infrastructure, telematics, maintenance, vehicles, driver education, legislation and other.

The regions that should be a covered and are a part of the study are Northern Finland, Northern Norway and Northern Sweden, as well as the Murmansk and Archangelsk Oblasts, the Republic of Karelia and the Republic of Komi (i.e. the Barents Region).

Since STBR aims at increasing the co-operation between transport authorities in Barents, a steering group will be set up with representatives from all the road authorities in the region and also the existing network in the Barents Traffic Safety Forum.



 Updated: 6/26/2007