City as a testbed
Mobility Lab Helsinki, one of the city’s testbeds in different thematic areas (see more at testbed.helsinki), offers an urban playground for new pilots and innovations. Our mission is to facilitate your piloting needs. We support you in finding contacts with the local stakeholders (i.e. city departments, other companies, research organisations) and help you in determining how your solution could be implemented in the area.
We’re also there for you to tell you what you’re allowed to do in the cityscape and what you might need to take into consideration. Our goal is to get good ideas realized in the simplest of ways.
Over the past few years, smart mobility pilots have been done especially in the Jätkäsaari district, the West Harbour area. The focused area enables synergies between projects (e.g. one projects’ sensors providing open data another project can use). Similarly, testing processes and user involvement has become more familiar – to both us as well as the citizens – making it easier for new cases.
However, we are not limited to one location – we try to figure out the best place for testing different solutions.
Smart Infra and Data
The city of Helsinki – and Finland as a whole – has a lot of open data and aims to provide a lot of open APIs to enable developers create the best services.
Data is at the heart of the Mobility Lab. Many pilots and projects either produce or utilize data. We help find synergies between these, find new ways to combine different data about the mobility situation and context, traffic environment and the built environment to deliver new and better services – and bigger impact and new business.
In addition to typical open data, there are, for example, traffic radars with open APIs installed in the West Harbour area and Jätkäsaari for developers to make use of.
Engaging test users
Are you looking for test users and perhaps some honest feedback on your fancy innovation? The Mobility Lab helps communicate pilots to the citizens and having the participate as test users.
We have a group of active Jätkäsaari residents signed up to our user pool who are waiting to test and give feedback about your new mobility solution. We’ll support you in finding a realistic and fruitful ways to involve end-users in the pilots.
All residents and Jätkäsaari aficionados are welcome to join the growing group of test users at www.jätkäkokeilee.fi (page in Finnish).
Collaboration and networking
We are a part of the Urban3 ecosystem. The joint space of multiple ecosystem actors is a showroom and a co-creation space for smart mobility companies and projects. This includes organizations working on, for example, digitalization of buildings, MyData and GIS information as well as urban tech incubation.
The homebase for Mobility Lab Helsinki provides information and a forum for networking. Here you will find more info about the opportunities, ecosystem and ongoing smart mobility developments in Helsinki.
Located on startup campus Maria 01, the joint space helps bring stakeholders and ecosystems together to build co-operation.
New pilots and projects
We enable and help companies and other developers in testing their solutions in the urban space according to their needs (e.g. sparring about the ideas and their feasibility, finding the right places, connecting to the right experts).
We are also happy to collaborate in building joint pilots and projects based on ideas and common interests (e.g. EU projects).
While our core mission is at enabling your piloting activities through collaboration, user engagement and smart infrastructure, we will also arrange three rounds of agile pilot competitions. Those competitions, done in three open calls providing funding for a few pilots per round (agile pilots are typically around 10-30K€ per pilot). The calls focus on smooth, safe and sustainable transport and mobility solutions.
You can read much more about agile piloting as an approach and how to get the most out of urban experimentation from here.
In 2021, we tried a two-phased approach to the agile piloting to both enable more quicker pilots as well as a bit bigger and more significant ones for ones that showed the most promise and attracted the most interest. A summary of this approach is available here (in Finnish).
Details for the call in the fall of 2022 here (in Finnish).
Details for the call closing on March 6 2023 here.
Means of supporting testing
To summarise, in practical terms the ways we can support different test interests and pilot cases may be e.g. the following:
City’s needs, views and sparring
- City’s interests and expectation management (matching needs, requirements)
- Case ownership (needed stakeholders, contacts)
Permits and planning support (what’s feasible, how)
- Feasibility and suitable locations
- Consultation with city departments and other local stakeholders
- Permit processes
Data and connectivity
- Open data (availability, language support)
- Data connections (networks)
Physical needs and installations
- Electricity connections
- Installments (roadworks and traffic management, electricians)
- Traffic signs
User engagement and feedback
- Engagement of citizens as test users (local groups, events and social media)
- Support in managing user feedback and questions
Dissemination and visibility
- Pilot communication and awareness in networks
- Awareness and dialogue about results with stakeholders (e.g. traffic planners)
- Promotion and awareness in media
- Small pilot cases are procured through occasionally published open calls (agile pilots)
For an example of some support actions in practice, read a summary of how the Mobility Lab has supported implementing a pilot:
The materials below are a collection of useful examples, reports and practicalities of piloting activities done in the mobility lab. Some of the documents are from the period 2019-2021 while the activities were done under the name of Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, some from 2021 onwards with the branding of Mobility Lab Helsinki. In terms of how and what kind of piloting we support and what kind of objectives there are, the information from earlier on is still very much valid.
Juho Kostiainen, City of Helsinki, Business Helsinki
Coordinator - General contact point
Jussi Tuurnala, Forum Virium Helsinki
Agile pilots and test user pool