Helsinki Smart Mobility Ecosystem

Open data, supporting legislation and the agile mindset of the people behind the innovation hotspots create modern day solutions to traditional challenges.

Why us?

Carrying out smart mobility pilots in Helsinki is easy.

They say that we are innovative and forward thinking. We are after all pioneers in creating new business around smart mobility.

But we think that our success is also based on our political, economic, social, technical, environmental, legal and (!) regulatory environment that enables testing and developing of cutting-edge technology and services.

Automated transportation

Gacha robot bus
Photo: Juho Kostiainen

Helsinki, and Finland in general, are known for competences and development activities related to automation. KMPG, for example, ranked Finland at 6th place on their Autonomous Readiness Vehicle Index in 2019, especially excelling as the best in terms of regulations supporting of AV use, efficiency of legal system and the availability of latest technologies. Not to mention second highest number of AV tech firm headquaters per capita.

Finland has a positive legal and regulatory environment. The traffic safety authority is quite permissive, granting permits for trials to anyone who is interested in experimenting with Avs. The entire road network is available for experimentation.” -Henry Beniard, Global Strategy Group, KPMG in Finland. [2019 AutonomousVehicles Readiness Index, KMPG 2019]

The figure below illustrates a timeline of automated driving pilots in Helsinki (with Forum Virium Helsinki, the city’s innovation company, as a partner).

Timeline of autonomous vehicle development in Helsinki

 

City of Helsinki and other public sector actors are closely involved in facilitating and leading the development in this field of innovative piloting.

Even 5G networks are expanding in Finland and Helsinki, offering new opportunities for smart mobility. Helsinki collaborates actively with 5G technology providers.

MaaS

Helsinki and Finland is the home of MaaS – Mobility as a Service – that integrates various forms of transport services into a single mobility service accessible on demand, as described by the MaaS Alliance. The well-known Whim app by MaaS Global, for example, launched in Helsinki back in 2016, and has since spread to other countries.

The approach is to facilitate and encourage market driven services to flourish and create new innovations to address the needs of the users. The national Act on Transport Services that came into effect in 2018 mandates all transport service providers to provide not only data on their schedules, routes etc. but also to open their ticketing APIs for third parties. For more information, check e.g. information on submitting required information to the National Access Point.

The City of Helsinki does not develop or manage its own MaaS service.

On-demand services

HSL, the Helsinki Region Transport authority, had a smart, demand-responsive pilot Kutsuplus already in 2012-2015. In 2019, there have been different on-demand pilots developed in Helsinki region by e.g. Kyyti Group and ViaVan (in collaboration with HSL). Some directed at the general public for providing first/last mile connections to metro stations, some dedicated to providing school children with after-school transportation to hobbies (instead of parents driving them around later in the evening).

The Act on Transport Services that came into effect in 2018 changed the landscape in Finland for taxis and ride-hailing services. For example, it removed the cap on taxi permits, price ceilings as well as location and time based requirements on taxi availability. Since then, the number of taxis increased, especially in the capital region (see e.g. Traficom’s news article). Now, in 2020, the effects of the changes are being assessed to determine if and how it needs revising.

City bike scheme

According to a study done in 2019, the city bikes in Helsinki are the most popular ones in the world. The study compared 50 cities from around the world. [See the result presentation here, in Finnish]

The popular city bike service is a public-private collaboration between HKL, Espoo Technical and Environment Services, CityBike Finland, HSL, ClearChannel and HOK Elanto.

HKL and Espoo City Technical and Environment Services run the system. The costs are covered by advertisementsponsorship and usage fees. The current service is contracted until 2026.

City bikes stations (link to view)

The service has 3 450 bikes (2019), with 345 stations scattered around cities of Helsinki and Espoo.

•   6.8 trips a day per bike (2018)
•   3 200 000 bike trips in total
•   2 km per ride
•   48 500 seasonal passes (excl. daily subscriptions)

 

More info on the city bike scheme is available at https://kaupunkipyorat.hsl.fi/en/helsinki/about. And here you can read more about other bike services offered by Helsinki City Transport (HKL).

City bike service in Helsinki
Kuvatoimisto Kuvio Oy/Helsinki Marketing

E-Scooters

In 2019, there were six e-scooter companies operating in Helsinki, and new ones are also welcome. The companies, local and international, serviced a total of 1,8 million trips during the year.

While the city does not specific enforced regulations for micromobility services like e-scooters (they are regulated on a national level, see Traficom’s info on electronic personal transportation devices, and essentially follow the same rules as bikes), the city has dialogue with the operators and has in collaboration defined guidelines and best practices to follow. These include, for example, practices regarding managing customer feedback, organizing removal of the devices when necessary, user instructions and communications, data and geo-fencing capabilities.

Similarly, winter-specific practices and limitations have been agreed with the operators, such as:

•   lower speed limits are applied during the winter months (reduced from 25km/h)
•   readiness to collect/deactivate e-scooters during icy and particularly snowy period

Also the amount of e-scooters and the operational zones is reduced during winter.

E-scooter guidelines for users:

•   E-scooters are not allowed on sidewalks
•   Use of helmet is recommended by the Finnish Police
•   User can be held responsible for parking of the e-scooter to a place where it can cause immediate danger
•   Scootering while intoxicated is illegal

Maritime Solutions

Smart mobility in Helsinki is also making advances in maritime transport. Areas of development include a for-profit peer-to-peer platform for on-demand boat rides, autonomous vessels, increasingly automated data transfer, a smart channel, remote control of vessels and smart port logistics.

Helsinki West Harbour
Helsinki West Harbour, photo: Forum Virium Helsinki

Open data, APIs + Source code

Helsinki and Finland have a long tradition in openness and transparency of data and APIs.

The Helsinki region journey planner launched its open interfaces for developers in 2009 and as an open source code version in 2017 (https://digitransit.fi/en/). In 2019, Digitransit is used in several Finnish cities and is also exported to Estonia.

Data ranging from national road and traffic data (Digiroad, Digitraffic) to detailed city-level data and 3D city models is already openly available for analysis and further use. One of the largest local initiatives for opening of public data has been Helsinki Region Infoshare (HRI). HRI catalogues hundreds of datasets and APIs produced in the region: www.hri.fi.

The legislative Act on Transport Services aims to facilitate and ensure availability of services through e.g. requirements on the openness of information and ticketing APIs (see Regulation section below). The national open transport service catalogue NAP – national access point – is available at www.finap.fi

For more info on data available in Jätkäsaari, Helsinki and Finland, click here.

Helsinki West Harbour passenger terminal
Helsinki Marketing/Riku Pihlanto

Regional Authorities + Infrastructure Providers

Cyclist in the metro

HSLHelsinki Region Transport is a joint local authority for Helsinki region municipalities.

HSL is responsible for the preparation of the Helsinki Region Transport System plan as for planning and organizing public transport services, including ticket sales and pricing. HSL procures the regional bus, tram, Metro, ferry and commuter train services. More than 1 million daily journeys are travelled by HSL services, accounting for around 60% of all public transport trips in Finland.

HSL has set ambitious targets for emissions reduction (90% reduction of CO2 by 2025 from 2010 levels). By 2025, 30 % of the buses will be running on electricity generated in a sustainable manner in the Nordics (e.g. wind, hydro or solar). HSL also allocates bonuses to operators for emission-reducing actions. See e.g. this presentation for more info in Finnish.

HKLHelsinki City Transport is responsible for operating the trams and the metro as well as for the construction and maintenance of tracks, stations and depots.

Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is the national authority for licence, permit, registration and approval matters.

Port of Helsinki, owned by the city of Helsinki, operates one of the busiest passenger ports in Europe. Port of Helsinki Ltd creates a seamless framework for sea traffic to destinations such as Tallinn and Stockholm. In 2018, a total of 12.1 million passengers traveled through the Port of Helsinki.

Research + Innovation

Forum Virium Helsinki is an innovation company owned by the City of Helsinki. Forum Virium Helsinki co-creates urban futures together with companies, universities, other public sector organizations and Helsinki residents.

AALTO University is a multidisciplinary university specialising in art, technology and business.

Finnish Meteorological Institute performs meteorological research and produces weather services and open data to meet the needs of e.g. transport.

UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI is Finland’s largest and oldest academic institution. Today, this multidisciplinary academic community solves problems that concern all of us, also on the global scale.

METROPOLIA University of Applied Sciences Finland’s largest university of applied sciences, educates the professionals of tomorrow in the fields of Business, Culture, Health care and Social services, and Technology.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. is a government owned multidisciplinary applied research company.

Research in Helsinki region

Funding + Business support

BUSINESS FINLAND is the Finnish government organization for innovation funding and trade, travel and investment promotion.

Smart Mobility Finland program supports Finnish companies to benefit from the changing transport sector and attracts international players to join Finnish testbeds.

Business Finland logo

 

NewCo Helsinki provides both business advisory supports and coaching for small companies as well as startup services for foreign entrepreneurs in Helsinki.

Helsinki-based startups can apply for travel grants to support their international expansion.

City of Helsinki logo

Regulation

Close involvement of authorities and other key stakeholders makes it easier to solve things as they come up – Agile approach with e.g. drones and automation helps a great deal.

Enabling approach to legislation: solving problems and breaking down obstacles for new ways of doing things

Strong and close cooperation between government, cities, companies and the research community

Co-creative mindset, willingness to try out new things and finding innovative ways to accomplish set goals.

 

Useful sources of information;

Brief introduction to Act on Transport Services on the Ministry of Transport and Communication’s press release 28.3.2019.

Obligations regarding opening mobility service interfaces

The ABC for flying drones

Report on ITS standardization activities in Finland (YTL, ITS Finland, ITS Factory & Infotripla 2020)

 

Lights from traffic
Photo: Ari Leppä

Going on

Callboats – electric on-demand boat

Mente Marine Oy, Matson Oy
First ever electric on-demand boat operation in Helsinki. Pilot in summer 2020 at Vartiosaari facilitated by Mobility Launchpad of Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab. Idea also from city's participatory budgeting.

First ever electric on-demand boat operation in Helsinki. Pilot in summer 2020 at Vartiosaari facilitated by Mobility Launchpad of Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab. Idea also from city’s participatory budgeting.

 

Operating hours: Tue−Sun 10 am to 8 pm

(no traffic on Mondays)

Price (one-way):  

adults 2,50 € (with Callboats app 2 €) 

children (7−17 years) 1,50 € (with Callboats app 1 €) 

 

How to order a boat ride 

Callboats is an on-demand boat service. Instructions to order a boat ride:  

  1. Download the Callboats app from the App Store or Google Play.  
  2. The map shows you the current location of the boat. 
  3. The pickup place is automatically chosen depending on your location – Laajasalo or Vartiosaari side.
  4. Add a credit card as payment method or pay by card in the boat. 
  5. Choose the amount of passengers.
  6. Step in and have a nice trip! 

The journey can also be booked without the app – call +358 45 7834 8259 when you’re here at the site.

Mall of Tripla and Pasila station

5G/IoT experiments at Mall of Tripla, Pasila

Loopshore, MarshallAI, Nodeon, Wapice, Wizense, University of Helsinki   Photo: Jussi Hellsten
Goal The goal is learn about new data generating solutions to scale the best practices as well as to create new services based on latest communication network technologies.
Schedule 06/2020-09/2020
Contact Tapani Nevanpää, City of Helsinki
IoT solution experiments done by several companies generate open data inside and nearby the shopping centre Mall of Tripla located in Pasila. Different types of sensors will collect data such as congestion and people flow, temperature, humidity, air quality and bicycle traffic.

The experiments utilise 5G and NB-IoT networks to collect data from summer to fall 2020. The 5G environment provides a platform for developing and realizing new innovations. Collected data will be available for third parties to use during and after the experiments through University of Helsinki’s MegaSense Data Platform.

AI 4 Cities logo

AI4CITIES – AI Accelerating Cities Transition to Carbon Neutrality

Forum Virium Helsinki Ltd, Gemeente Amsterdam, Cap Digital, Kobenhavns kommune, Tallinna Linn, Stavanger kommune, and ICLEI European Secretariat GMBH + pilot companies through open tendering
Goals Finding AI solutions tackling climate issues.
Timetable 1/2020 - 12/2022
Budget 6,6M€
Contacts Kaisa Sibelius, Forum Virium Helsinki
AI4Cities is a European Pre-Commercial Procurement project for AI solutions utilising data to support climate action commitments. It is focused on energy and mobility.

The project does open market consultation to find and then procure AI pilots addressing the energy and mobility related needs of cities.  Request for tenders is planned for end of 2020.

FABULOS project visualization with a person stepping into a robobus with a ferriswheel in the background

FABULOS – Future Automated Bus Urban Level Operation System

Photo: FABULOS project

Goals

The goal is to procure the operations of an automated bus line. In Helsinki, the autonomous bus line will be piloted in the Pasila and Kalasatama area in 2020.

Duration

1.1.2018 - 31.12.2020

Funding

The FABULOS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Contacts

Renske Martijnse-Hartikka (Forum Virium Helsinki)
FABULOS is a research and development project to deliver a systemic proof-of-concept on automated last mile public transport as part of existing urban transport systems, based on the use of self-driving minibuses.  

The six partner cities are embracing this challenge by collectively procuring R&D for the prototyping and testing of smart systems that are capable of operating a fleet of self-driving minibuses in urban environments. These solutions are expected to be all-inclusive, encompassing software, hardware, fleet and services. Only after the successful integration of these solutions, cities are able to provide considerably better and more sustainable transport solutions for their residents.

Robot bus in Helsinki, on a road under a bridge

SOHJOA Baltic

  • Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
  • Forum Virium Helsinki
  • PHOTO: SOHJOA Baltic

Goals

The project produces information and expertise on how to organise more eco-friendly and smarter public transportation with the help of automated vehicles. The project also focuses on what efficient, automated traffic requires to be viable in terms of regulations and decrees.

Funding

The Sohjoa Baltic project is funded by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region programme of the European Union. The project budget is MEUR 3.8, of which Baltic Sea Region funding accounts for MEUR 2.8.

Contacts

Jari Honkonen (Forum Virium Helsinki)
The SOHJOA Baltic project researches, promotes and pilots the use of driverless electronic autonomous minibuses as part of transportation services, particularly as a solution for the first or last mile of transportation.