Helsinki Concludes Three-Year “Last Mile” Mobility Pilots

The city of Helsinki, Finland has recently concluded its three-year series of mobility pilots which had the aim of introducing potential future services to residents.

The objective of the 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.

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 local boat rides.

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.

The City of Helsinki’s innovation company – Forum Virium Helsinki – purchased the pilots from companies through a procurement process and provided participating companies with facilitation and organization 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.

Testing smart mobility solutions will continue in the City’s hub for smart mobility projects and resident cooperation at the Jätkäsaari Mobility Lab. For example, the pilot of a FABULOS robot bus has begun, in which a fleet of three self-driving vehicles will be tested for 50 days to understand the feasibility of the demand-based service. The fleet is supported by an on-demand mobile app and a Remote Control Center (RCC) for autonomous vehicles. Due to the Covid-19 situation, no passengers are currently allowed onboard. As the corona epidemic winds down, the pilot may be opened for the general public later in the spring.