According to the data on population, Riga is the largest city in the Baltic States – at the beginning of the 2019 632,600 people lived in Riga. Riga agglomeration's population exceeds 1 million. 33% of the total population of Latvia lives in Riga, and it is the highest indicator on population concentration in the capital city among the Member States of the European Union. Population in Riga agglomeration is growing and raising urban sprawl – intensifying every day commuting between Riga and suburbs. High use of private cars is still a problem.
The Riga Urban Public Transport System consists of 54 bus lines, 9 tram lines, 19 trolleybus lines, 21 minibus lines, passenger railway with 22 stations, and 9-night buses. The structure of transport routes is mainly designed to connect the city centre with the surrounding neighbourhoods, as the most significant passenger demand is in the city centre. Riga is the TEN-T and main Latvian transport hub.
Since 2011 Rail Baltica project is being implemented to restore Baltic States direct link with the European railway network, connecting metropolitan Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas – Warsaw – Berlin. By carrying out the Rail Baltica project, the high-quality railway connections between the Baltic States and the major Western European economic, administrative and cultural centres will be ensured in the same time improving regional and local rail connection priority.
Riga City implements the pilot project of mobility point development – to show a clear sign towards multimodal daily commuting. Riga continues to improve the urban environment by revitalising brownfields, as well as developing completely new public spaces in the centre of the city and outside of it.
Key findings of SWOT
Riga has a well-developed PT network, with almost all inhabitants and employees in 5 minutes vicinity of a PT stop.
Transit traffic uses the roads in and around the Historical Centre of Riga since there is no by-pass, like the planned Northern Transport Corridor, available at present.
The further decentralisation of jobs and dwellers will lead to higher traffic flow in the outskirts, in areas that cannot easily be serviced by PT. Also, commuting to the centre might increase the unbalance in PT volumes by direction.
The transport management system must be supplemented with data monitoring.
Strong need for improved cross-border collaboration between municipalities in Riga agglomeration, e.g., to develop universal PT system within the agglomeration, including integrated tariff system, joint cycling infrastructure and park-and-ride system, develop common projects.