In the context of a wider, three-year strategy in which it has experimented with smart mobility, the Finnish capital Helsinki has concluded its 'Last Mile' smart mobility project. The city has also launched a new trial, with the launch of a 50-day pilot of an autonomous bus service.
The 'Last Mile' project tested new smart and integrated mobility services and solutions, by working closely with residents, commuters and tourists, and using their feedback and mobility data to support transport planning.
The goal of the project was to test new services, which had the potential to be fully implemented across the urban area. The pilots that were carried out allowed people to experience different potential services that might be deployed in the city, such as shared cargo bikes and shared rides to take children to football practice, as well as on-demand boat rides. The shared rides to football practice proved so successful that a guide on their operationalisation has been published, which football clubs have made available to parents.
The pilots were carried out in different locations, namely, Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. In the Finnish capital, they were carried out by Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki in the Jätkäsaari area of the city, which has become a smart mobility testbed for companies and residents alike. The first batch of pilots took place in 2018 with a specific focus on the mobility of tourists, by testing bike tours with audio navigation, on-demand boat rides and smart parking for shared cars. The next set of pilots, which were carried out in 2019, focused on shared-use cargo bikes, shared bike rides for football practice and a smart pedestrian crossing.
Heli Ponto, a Project Manager at Forum Virium Helsinki, praises the usefulness of such pilots since they “are a good way of testing new services that are not yet available on the market or still being developed, for example. They give residents the opportunity to be the first to test new services, provide the city with valuable user feedback to support planning and allow companies to test their services in a genuine urban environment”.
The Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, Helsinki’s hub for smart mobility projects, will continue to test smart mobility solutions. Indeed, in the scope of the Horizon 2020 funded FABULOS project, on 14 April, Helsinki launched a new pilot, with a fleet of three self-driving buses operating for 50 days. The goal of the pilot is to assess the feasibility of this type of demand-base service, although the pilot has been adapted to the current context of the coronavirus pandemic by not allowing passengers onto the vehicle for the time-being.
- Publication date
- 4 May 2020