Helsinki – The Most Functional City in the World
Helsinki is a smart mobility pioneer with an agile approach to experiments and new initiatives. The hands-on approach to piloting and crosscutting development is what really makes Helsinki stand from the crowd. Whether it’s MaaS, automated transport, 5G or open data, the city’s track record is on a par with global leaders.
Helsinki is a city-wide testbed big enough to develop and systematically test significant innovations but small enough to make it feasible and agile in practice. Citizens take active part in shaping the services and take pride in living in a city aiming to become ‘the most functional city in the world’.
Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab – Helsinki’s testbed for smart mobility
Smart, safe, smooth and sustainable mobility of tomorrow is created in Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab. Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab is a multi-actor testbed that facilitates piloting of smart and digital solutions in Helsinki.
Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab brings together a network of great minds, all invested into making mobility smarter and more sustainable. The lab helps businesses and researchers pilot new solutions in a real urban environment by support with permits and installations as well as engaging the citizens as test users and even providing enabling smart infrastructure and technology on the streets.
In short, Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab helps companies focus on their core operations, open up for new collaborations and find means to grow in terms of scale and references through agile real-world piloting and co-creation. Read more on the Lab’s website.
The City of Tampere works towards a smart and sustainable city
The City of Tampere has been embracing the city-as-a-platform approach for many years already, gaining a position among the innovation platform forerunners in the mobility sector. Tampere’s history in developing smart mobility goes all the way back to the 1990s’s. Back then, the correct term was telematics, which the city excelled at by building the first real time information system for public transport and opening its traffic light system for collecting traffic data.
Development by cooperation
Developing smart mobility needs time and cooperation between research, public sector and companies. Without authorities, it is difficult to put new solutions or services into practice. Companies produce solutions and products for citizens’ everyday life while research provides new insights and supports decision-making.
A hands-on example is the ITS Factory network established in Tampere. This active smart mobility network generates cooperation, projects and discussions. The ITS Factory community seeks solutions for mobility challenges through close co-operation of the public and private sectors. Authorities can communicate their goals, challenges and future procurements to the members of the network, whereas companies can pick up ideas and plan new solutions.
Another good example of cooperation in the smart mobility sector is the SmartRail ecosystem which brings together the Finnish research and business sectors to work with cities to create tram transport solutions in order to reinforce exports of Finnish expertise. The project is led by Skoda Transtech Oy, with VTT as an innovation partner and research project coordinator. Tampereen Raitiotie Oy and Helsinki City Transport provide opportunities for running a variety of experiments in Tampere and in the Helsinki metropolitan area to facilitate the adoption of solutions customised to user needs. Read more about the Smart Tram on VTT’s website.
New infrastructure opens new opportunities
A city can act as an enabler in many ways. For example, Tampere has tried different kind of procurement models and practices which may, at their best, accelerate development activities and give companies an opportunity to show and test their own ideas. Tampere has good experiences from innovative pre-commercial procurements with pilots to develop new cost-efficient ways to collect traffic data. Another good example is the so-called alliance model which Tampere successfully adopted for our large-scale infrastructure projects such as the new city tunnel Rantatunneli and the new tramline.
Large infrastructure projects that change the transport system in many ways also provide an outstanding platform for planning and developing smart mobility solutions. New safety, operating and traffic management systems are needed, and at the same time, the new systems enable and provide new traffic data sources.
The new tramline will be the backbone of the public transport system in Tampere. The tram itself provides opportunities to develop new, innovative solutions. What is happening around the tram and tramline is even more interesting: Information and payment systems, services around tram stops, new travel chains and MaaS services are emerging. The feeder traffic to tram stops is yet another opportunity for new solutions. The long-term goal of Tampere is to have automated feeder traffic to a couple of stops when the tram will start commercial traffic in the autumn 2021.
City of Lahti – the Green Capital 2021
City of Lahti is the European Green Capital 2021. The title is awarded yearly to one European city that has a consistent record of achieving high environmental standards, is committed to ongoing and ambitious goals for further environmental improvement and sustainable development and can act as a role model to other European cities.
City of Lahti has been a frontrunner in environmental work for decades, aiiming at climate neutrality by 2025. For the European Green Capital year 2021, Lahti is working on a comprehensive regional and international programme featuring both a range of events and various cooperation projects. Lahti’s Green Capital year contributes towards Finland’s climate targets, promotes sustainable urban development and showcases the most advanced environmental solutions in Europe. Lahti has chosen carbon-neutral life, citizen engagement, circular economy as well as nature and water as the themes for the big year.
An example of Lahti’s innovative approach in finding tools that enable carbon neutral life and citizen engagement is the CitiCAP-project funded by the EU Urban Innovative Actions program. Among other measures, such as an open mobility data platform and a sustainable urban mobility plan (SUMP), the project develops a model for personal carbon trading on mobility and an application that enables real-time tracking and calculation of one’s mobility carbon footprint for the citizens of Lahti.
The basic idea of the application is the following: Every user will receive a weekly carbon budget that will get spent based on their travel mode choices. By making more sustainable travel choices, the user will save some of their budget and, based on the savings, earns virtual euros that can be exchanged to city services or discounts on the app’s marketplace. The mobility data platform opens up possibilities for new mobility service development.
The city of Lahti will pilot the application during 2020. As part of the project, Lahti is conducting research on the mobility choices and motives of its citizens and will be able to present the preliminary results by the end of the year. Lahti will organize workshops about our personal carbon trading model in the Ecocity Forum that will be held in Lahti 9-11 September 2020. The overarching theme of the forum is Digital Solutions for 1.5 Degree Cities and Citizens. The conference will serve as the final conference for the CitiCAP project as well as a pre-event for the European Green Capital year. Read more about Ecocity Forum on the conference website.
Find out more about CitiCAP on the project’s website.
The City of Espoo to be carbon neutral by 2030
The City of Espoo has set an objective of being carbon neutral by 2030. Prior to the current city strategy – also known as the Espoo Story – the city had already committed to improving its transit and increasing its low-emission mobility as well as becoming a well-functioning cycling city. In a 2016 study, Espoo emerged as the most sustainable city in Europe, and the city intends to maintain this position. In addition, the United Nations has invited Espoo as a pioneer city for implementing the 17 sustainable development goals by 2025.
To support its three strategic objectives, several mobility projects are being carried out in Espoo.
Along with Leipzig, Germany, Espoo is a Lighthouse partner in the Horizon 2020 project SPARCS (Sustainable energy Positive & zero cARbon CommunitieS) which targets to tackle the multifaceted challenges of urban energy transformation in cities. The project also focuses on digitalization, improved air quality, and e-mobility solutions. Actions taken to reach these goals include a wide scale demonstration of innovative technologies for integrated, mixed-use, positive energy building blocks, rolling out an extensive monitoring and evaluation programme, and implementing community engagement actions and promoting a citizen-centric approach.
The Six-City Strategy project Low-Carbon Transport in Mobility Hubs intends to promote low-emission and smart mobility solutions in Espoo, Tampere, Turku, and Oulu. Cooperating with companies, the goal is to improve their business opportunities in the transport sector by coming up with new, sustainable mobility services. The focal point of the project in Espoo is the so-called travel chains: A mobility hub should be a place where the connections between multiple different transport forms are done effortlessly and straightforwardly, making the city less dependent on cars. In addition, the project is striving to implement an autonomous vehicle as a part of the transport system of the city by the spring of 2021 – a goal set by the Espoo City Council.
In Fiksu Assa (“Station areas as a development platform for low-carbon business concepts”), the principal goals are to gain the full potential of rail stations, to develop and accelerate low-carbon and scalable business with international potential as well as recognising new service demands based on solving the opportunities and challenges related to station areas, such as travel chains or safety.
Sustainable mobility is also promoted in the project KESTO (“Sustainable mobility as a part of the Espoo Story”).
Read more about the Espoo Story.