Tartu – City of Good Thoughts

Tartu, with its population of 100,000 is the second largest city in Estonia. Lying 185 kilometers south of Tallinn, Tartu is also the centre of South-Estonia. Tartu is known as a green, innovative and environmentally friendly city. The slogan of Tartu is "The City of Good Thoughts". Within the SUMBA project Tartu wants to improve its transport planning processes, while making the urban environment more attractive to people.

Tartu is a city of education and well known for the University of Tartu founded in 1632. Tartu has developed its e-services and paperless administration practices for decades and is increasingly active in the field of smart cities. Tartu ranks 15th in the European Smart Cities benchmark for smart people and has been the first in the world to implement many smart solutions (participatory budgeting, m-parking, e-elections etc.).

Tartu has paid a lot of attention during the last decade on the development of public transport network and - services. On June 8 2019 a citywide bike-sharing system was opened including 69 parking stations and 750 bicycles (500 of them electrical). From 1st of July a new bus network with only natural-gas powered buses was launched.

Due to urban sprawl another challenge needs to be met in the coming years – rising number of private cars.

Key findings of SWOT

The level reached in public transport (quality, ticket prices) should be maintained and further developed.

It is necessary to integrate ticket systems, coordinate timetables and make direct efforts to introduce demand-side solutions. 

The existing network of bus lines in Tartu has to be extended to suburban areas (residential areas). 

Involving active citizens, stakeholders and communities in traffic-related discussions will provide solutions for wider use of sustainable types of mobility. 

The city of Tartu must cooperate with neighboring municipalities in order to harmonize the conditions for planning new real estate developments.