The Year 2020 at Traficom: we ensured the smooth and safe transfer of people, data and goods during the year of the coronavirus pandemic

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom has published the Year 2020 at Traficom review today, crystallising the key events of the past year. The coronavirus pandemic made the year exceptional for Finnish society at large.

“We improved the reliability and safety of traffic and the digital society in Finland. In 2020, the role of cyber security became even more strategic than before in safeguarding services for citizens, company information and supply chains,” Director-General of Traficom Kirsi Karlamaa stresses. “One of our inspiring tasks is to draft the strategic situational picture of the traffic network and develop the related national traffic forecast model. In addition to these, we support pilots in our branch hoping to foster innovations and the generation of future services."

The pandemic increased the use of digital services and impacted traffic

The exceptional year caused an increase in the use of various digital services. The amount of data transferred via communications networks and the number of calls made increased by several dozen per cent. We monitored the reliability of mobile networks, in particular, and the performance of telecommunications companies in exceptional circumstances: there was sufficient capacity and the networks functioned without major incident for the most part.

COVID-19 also had a significant impact on passenger traffic. The number of passengers plummeted in all modes of public transport. In addition to this, a significant share of air and sea traffic was suspended. A public service obligation was placed on sea traffic to secure emergency supply, transportation and passenger traffic. A public service obligation was also placed on some flight routes to ensure regional economic and social development. 

In 2020, we awarded a significant amount of government transfers and benefits intended to alleviate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in support of mobility and transportation as well as communications networks and the media. 

Smooth and safe traffic

New legislation on road traffic and water traffic was enacted in 2020. These new acts aim to make traffic run more smoothly and safely as well as create the prerequisites for digitalisation in traffic and safe automation. Together with other operators, we raised awareness of this new legislation and the related practical applications. We also started preparing for the changes brought on by the 2021 taxi services reform and the new drone act.

New frequencies for 5G networks

The advanced frequency policy and frequency auctions in Finland have made the rapid building of 5G networks and services throughout Finland possible. Traficom held a frequency auction in the past year and opened up a new frequency spectrum for 5G networks. Currently, 5G mobile technology is used in more than 100 locations in Finland. We must ensure a sufficient number of frequencies for functions and services enabled by new technology going forward, because our society is increasingly reliant on wireless communications connections. 

Role of cyber security increasingly strategic and important in the future 

The increase in the use of digital services has emphasised the significance of cyber security. Furthermore, the pandemic brought with it a wide array of fraud attempts, which increased the number of people contacting the National Cyber Security Centre Finland. The most noteworthy data breach of the year was the case of the psychotherapy centre Vastaamo, in the investigation of which we assisted the police. We acted quickly and created the website to assist those who had fallen victim to the breach, which contained helpful information gathered by authorities and organisations. 

Our National Cyber Security Centre evaluated the information security of the Koronavilkku app by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare before it was taken into use. We also published a cyber security guidebook to support company and organisation management as well as the Kybermittari tool to help improve information security. 

We also continued our work with promoting cyber security in rail traffic in cooperation with operators in the branch. 

For a cleaner environment

In addition to producing data related to environmental goals, we awarded governmental transfers for the promotion of walking and cycling. Various grants are used to support the reduction of emissions from traffic as well as active mobility and public health. We also lobbied internationally for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from sea traffic. Over the past year, we granted a total of approximately 400 million euros in governmental transfers.

Innovations, experiments and data utilisation

The quick pace of technological developments enables new operational models and services. By enabling automation pilots in traffic, we are streamlining the implementation of user-oriented services as solutions that make our everyday lives easier. Traffic solutions of the future will utilise data to a greater degree than ever – to support the quickly evolving data economy we also promoted the shared operational principles and policies of the branch. 

The 5G innovation competition organised by the Ministry of Transport and Communications branch of government was aimed at finding skills to enable new 5G services or bring new added value to existing products and services. We promoted 5G pilots with the help of online collaboration. 

Cooperation model unique to Finland

2020 was no exception in that we worked in close cooperation with authorities, companies, research institutions and other interest groups in a manner that is unique by international comparison. This is a significant strength in Finland. The coronavirus pandemic made our existing cooperation with authorities and other operators even closer.  

We worked to further the interests of Finland in several international traffic and communications forums. In 2020, we cooperated with authorities internationally to promote traffic safety, automated traffic and the cyber security situational picture as well as the usability of wireless networks in border areas.

Read more about the Year 2020 at Traficom (External link) (in Finnish)

Further information

Finnish Transport and Communications Agency media hotline, tel. +358 (0)29 534 5648