The Finnish capital of Helsinki has just announced a pretty ambitious public transport network for 2025: a point-to-point “mobility on demand” system whereby one can select the mode of transportation they prefer/desire/need via a smartphone application.
From the referenced article:
Subscribers would specify an origin and a destination, and perhaps a few preferences. The app would then function as both journey planner and universal payment platform, knitting everything from driverless cars and nimble little buses to shared bikes and ferries into a single, supple mesh of mobility. Imagine the popular transit planner Citymapper fused to a cycle hire service and a taxi app such as Hailo or Uber, with only one payment required, and the whole thing run as a public utility, and you begin to understand the scale of ambition here.
That the city is serious about making good on these intentions is bolstered by the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority’s rollout last year of a strikingly innovative minibus service called Kutsuplus. Kutsuplus lets riders specify their own desired pick-up points and destinations via smartphone; these requests are aggregated, and the app calculates an optimal route that most closely satisfies all of them.
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).
All of this derived from a Master’s Thesis by Sonja Heikkilä, a transportation engineer.
From Helsinki Times:
Transportation operators could charge their services in several different ways, like operators. While one citizen can pay for services by the kilometre, another may buy a package that includes a monthly number of kilometres for a rental car and the city’s internal transportation.
Operators would buy services in wholesale from their producers. Citizens would easily vote with their feet, which is why the services should be easily accessible.
In supporting smart transportation, i.e. a transportation system that utilizes technology more effectively than the current one, the Ministry of Transport and Communications is actively looking into what this means in practice. Helsinki is also currently hosting a large international conference on smart transportation.
Read more HERE.