The annual pan-Baltic survey on the resident’s attitudes* towards Rail Baltica was conducted for the fifth consecutive time. The Baltic Survey results showed that the general support level for the largest railway infrastructure project in the Baltics remains stable high across all three Baltic States with the average support of 61% in 2022 similarly to 62% in 2021. At the same time, with ongoing war in the region residents see Rail Baltica not only as a project for development and prosperity, but also for peace and security.
In 2022, the number of respondents who agree that the implementation of Rail Baltica will strengthen the military mobility capabilities of the Baltic states increased in Estonia by 10% (54%) compared to last year, and it remained relatively high in Latvia (51%) and Lithuania (61%). On average, nearly 40% of respondents said that the implementation of the project will increase feeling of security.
“Support of the society is crucial for the global project’s success. I am delighted that despite all great challenges during 2022, such as war in Ukraine, record high inflation, the support for the Rail Baltica global project remains consistently high. It is crucial, because we are creating this megaproject of the century for all the citizens, so they can enjoy and most importantly acknowledge the benefits which Rail Baltica will bring to the region. Furthermore, the result evaluation helps the project implementers understand what kind of information about the project the society lacks and where we can improve. Since this project is maturing and entering the construction phase, together with our partners we will pay even more attention to result-driven public communication,” says Signe Nīgale, Head of the Communication department at RB Rail AS.
Over half of respondents recognize future benefits and improved mobility associated with Rail Baltica
When respondents in the Baltics were asked about the top benefits of the project, amongst the most frequently mentioned answers in all three countries was that the traffic will be faster and Rail Baltica will give wider opportunities for travel and leisure. More than 50% of those surveyed in each country named better travel prospects as an important personal benefit and believed that it will allow them to travel more often (steadily growing since 2021 across the Baltics). Respondents increasingly associate Rail Baltica with a fast, safe, and comfortable way of travelling.
For the Estonians the fact that the new railway line will improve traffic connection with Europe and the Baltic States was also one of the most important benefits, while the Latvians mentioned more frequently new jobs and higher employment. For the Lithuanians the possibility to improve cooperation with neighbouring countries and the EU was one of the most popular benefits.
The outcome of the survey also shows residents’ interest in how the project can facilitate the economic development in their own and the neighbouring Baltic countries. Thus, in Latvia, the percentage of respondents to whom forming better cooperation with business partners in the Baltics is an important personal benefit of the new railway line has nearly doubled since 2020 to 41%. In both Estonia and Lithuania, it has increased by 10% in the past two years.
The Baltic countries residents’ opinion of Rail Baltica as an environment friendly project remains stable – on average, there is an increase of 7% since 2020. There is also a shared view that the project provides an opportunity to improve the environment around the railway. Support for this statement has been growing steadily since 2021 in all three countries (an increase of 10% on average since 2021).
According to the conducted survey, the largest number of Estonians surveyed have ever taken a high-speed train. 56% of them have travelled by a high-speed train before. Thereafter, in Lithuania 51% of respondents have the experience with traveling high-speed train before, in Latvia – 38% of them. In all three Baltic countries, these respondents showed both higher support for the project and higher awareness.
*The annual quantitative online survey among the residents of the Baltic States was ordered by the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS and conveyed by a marketing research company “Berg Research”. The data collection was implemented via the SIA “SolidData” Internet User panel with the target audience aged 18-75, and with over 3000 respondents in total (1006 respondents in Latvia; 1007 respondents in Lithuania; 1007 respondents in Estonia).