Owning a private vehicle may soon be a thing of the past in Helsinki.
The Finnish capital is banking on a combination of public transportation and private services, such as ridesharing, to do so.
“The city’s role is to enable that market to emerge,” Sonja Heikkilä, a transportation engineer who works for the Helsinki government, told Co Exist.
According to Heikkilä, Finnish citizens will be able to use their smartphones to access every mode of transit, be it a rideshare program, an on-demand bus, an autonomous car, or the usual public transit systems. Helsinki’s bus routes could even change from day to day, based on citizen demand.
All this would lead to a city in which no one would need a privately-owned car by the year 2025.
The crux of the plan is to use consumer’s access to their smartphones to enhance efficiency, allowing people to call upon the larger mix of public and private systems only when they need to, and offering them options that fit what they need on a given day. For example, someone needing just a ride to the store could hail a ridesharing service or an autonomous car, while someone needing to get around the city for an extended amount of time (a tourist, perhaps) could purchase a “mobility package” with varying transit options (based around time of day, weather, and demand) that suits his or her needs from a private company.
The driving forces are the usual suspects: Reduced congestion, improved air quality, reduced emissions, improved fuel economy, fewer traffic accidents, and perhaps increased parking for those who will be driving (presumably shared or rented) cars. It’s simply a new approach to old problems.