Free public transport in Tallinn

This entry is an excerpt from the Nesta's "Digital Entrepreneurship: An ‘Idea Bank’ for Local Policymakers" (2016), with updates to the information since the publication of the report. Along other types of policy instruments, Nesta explored mobility policy instruments to promote entrepreneurship.

While most local policymakers will already be acutely aware of the importance of physical mobility within cities, few understand its relevance for a dynamic business environment. Recent research shows that reducing the travel time between VC firms and their portfolio companies does indeed lead to more attention and better performance, including increased likelihood of successful exits. On a macro level, there is also some evidence that road building projects may increase the entry of new firms.

In 2013, Tallinn became the first EU capital to provide free public transport to its residents


Tallinn provides free public transport to its citizens. To use it, a commuter needs to be a registered resident in Tallinn.


While the city only saw a slight increase in usage, the initiative resulted in more than 10,000 city dwellers deciding to register as residents, which led to a €10 million increase in the city’s revenue. Other smaller European cities (such as Templin in Germany or Aubagne in France) have since tested this policy with varying degrees of success; some have seen the number of commuters increase dramatically.