Helsinki smart mobility pilots deemed a success
Posted: 15 April 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
As well as concluding and reviewing the three-year Last Mile smart mobility project, Helsinki has recently launched a 50-day pilot of an autonomous bus service.
Helsinki has recently concluded a series of mobility pilots which aimed to give residents a chance to experience potential future services for the city. The pilot services included boat rides available to order, shared cargo bicycles and shared rides to children’s football practice. The rides to football practice proved so effective that the project published a free guide on how to organise them, allowing football clubs to free parents from having to drive their children to practice.
The objective of the three-year Last Mile project was to test new services and solutions for improving mobility in the city and to collect experiences, feedback and mobility data to support planning. The project sought smart mobility solutions in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa for use by residents, commuters and tourists. In Helsinki, the project’s pilots were carried out in the Jätkäsaari area, which has become a smart mobility test platform for both companies and residents. The realisation of the pilots in Jätkäsaari was coordinated by the City of Helsinki’s innovation company Forum Virium Helsinki.
The pilots carried out in 2018 focused on the mobility of tourists, such as bicycle tours with audio navigation, smart parking for shared-use cars, ‘Uber for boats’ and boat rides from Jätkäsaari to the Market Square.
The pilots carried out in 2019 included ecological cargo bike transports, a network of shared-use cargo bikes, shared rides to football practice and games, and a smart pedestrian crossing that aimed to increase safety.
Forum Virium Helsinki purchased the pilots from companies through a procurement process and provided participating companies with facilitation and organisation help with carrying out the pilots.
“Agile pilots 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,” said Project Manager, Heli Ponto from Forum Virium Helsinki.
Now that the Last Mile project has concluded, the testing of smart mobility solutions continues in Helsinki at the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab, the City’s hub for smart mobility projects and resident cooperation in Jätkäsaari.
The pilot of a FABULOS robot bus has recently launched, in which a three-vehicle fleet will be tested for 50 days to understand the feasibility of the demand-based service. No passengers will be admitted to the vehicles at the start of the pilot due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the doors will open to passengers if safety restrictions allow it.
The FABULOS project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.