TALLINN - Opening the second day of the 29th International Baltic Road Conference, Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas called for the participants to develop and test new technological solutions and emphasized that the journey to a digital society means cost savings and economic growth under the conditions of increased competition.
The prime minister said that Estonia has developed the e-state for approximately 20 years and implementing different e-services has brought a fast development in the IT sector and laid the groundwork for the growth of businesses, which offer innovative products and services. "Developing the digital society pays off in any case, as investments made will come back quickly through economic growth and efficiency," Ratas said.
Speaking about new technological solutions, the prime minister said that they could hide the answers to difficult key questions of the transport sector. "How to cope with increasing global competition, increasing carbon emissions or questions concerning traffic safety are only a few of the topics waiting to be solved," the prime minister said.
Ratas said that the solutions here could be the new generation data networks, which bring future services like self-driving cars and smart cities to people. "The 5G declaration signed in Tallinn and the pilot project of self-driving buses are undoubtedly steps in the right direction."
"The road to success is not always straight and simple. We must answer questions about access, the recycling and control of data, but also about privacy. Without a clear judicial and political framework, we are at a dead end," Ratas said.
"In addition to digital connections we also need physical connections, as one can never replace the other," the prime minister said when emphasizing the importance of infrastructure investments. "Estonia in the next three years is to invest 135 million euros in the construction of a strategically important transport network. I believe that better and faster connections will lay the groundwork for economic growth in the whole region," Ratas said.
The 29th International Baltic Road Conference organized by the Estonian Road Administration is being held from August 27 to 30 in Tallinn. This is the largest road-related conference in the Nordic and Baltic countries, with participants including road experts, representatives of research institutions dealing with road transport and officials of the field from more than 30 countries. The conference will deal with the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, road safety, public transport, the environment and different IT solutions.