Helsinki: Toward a “Better than car” transportation system

World Streets readers will certainly want to stay on top of this project of the city of Helsinki to come up with what we call a “better than car transportation system”. The excerpts just below taken  from an article published in the Guardian yesterday will lead you to the full piece. There is a mild irony to the extent to which the “technological core” of the project has to do with the mobility arrangements which have been receiving steady, and happily increasing, attention since the mid-1960s, namely DRT or Dial-a-Ride. The massive change elements which fundamentally transform and scale up the basic DRT of long past operational system is a combination of close to universal mobile phones, abounding apps, and Big Data. That plus a good dose of public entrepreneurship and outreach changes everything. We invite you to have a look and to share your thoughts with us about this intriguing real world adventure.

Helsinki, Finland.

Urban mobility, rethought … Helsinki, Finland. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

The Finnish capital has announced plans to transform its existing public transport network into a comprehensive, point-to-point “mobility on demand” system by 2025 – one that, in theory, would be so good nobody would have any reason to own a car.

Helsinki’s ambitious plan to make car ownership pointless in 10 years,

Finland’s capital hopes a ‘mobility on demand’ system that integrates all forms of shared and public transport in a single payment network could essentially render private cars obsolete

Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.

All of this seems cannily calculated to serve the mobility needs of a generation that is comprehensively networked, acutely aware of motoring’s ecological footprint, and – if opinion surveys are to be trusted – not particularly interested in the joys of private car ownership to begin with. Kutsuplus comes very close to delivering the best of both worlds: the convenient point-to-point freedom that a car affords, yet without the onerous environmental and financial costs of ownership (or even a Zipcar membership).

But the fine details of service design for such schemes as Helsinki is proposing matter disproportionately, particularly regarding price . . .

– – – > For full story, click here –

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Comment from Matti Penttilä 

It is pointless to own a car today in Helsinki. We have an efficient public transport system. We have a very handy car sharing pool. We can get out of the city by trains, buses and ferries. And in special cases one can always rent a car. See Matti PenttiläIt is pointless to own a car today in Helsinki. We have an efficient public transport system. We have a very handy car sharing pool. We can get out of the city by trains, buses and ferries. And in special cases one can always rent a car.

From the editor:

Not to forget Matti, if memory serves me, Taksi-Helsinki, Kovanen, Lähitaksi, along with a dozen or so classic style rental car operators, plus around 750 kilometres of well-maintained bike paths. And Uber and the like have not even showed up yet.  But they will in one form or  another.

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Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | | #fekbritton | | and | Contact: | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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3 thoughts on “Helsinki: Toward a “Better than car” transportation system

  1. Finally, there appears to be a better way for the first and last mile(s), making public transportation access seamless. As the public is offered a full compliment of alternatives to owning their own car, other paradigms can change, namely on-street parking. This works well if streets are one-way, allowing one side or half of all on-street parking to be eliminated and replaced by city wide bicycle lanes. The other side of the street is re-dedicated to service and public transport vehicles. And of course, the speed limit is reduced. Add in some bike boulevards, bike-sharing, car-sharing, buses, BRT and trains, and it should soon evolve to the point where the benefits are apparent. All could be initiated with some signage and paint.

  2. Pingback: Misplaced Priorities: Spending $20 Million for 1,200 Drivers |

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