Public and private mobility services to be offered side by side
The co-ordination of transport in different regions and counties in Finland is increasingly facing cost-related and environmental challenges. This project experiments with different ways of organising mobility services in less densely populated areas. The trials are enabled by the new Act on Transport Services, the Mobility as a Service technology (MaaS) and collaboration between public and private actors.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
Traffic causes about one fifth of the greenhouse gas emissions in Finland and the great majority of these emissions, more than 90 per cent, come from road traffic. The public funds used annually for the procurement of the passenger transport services total about EUR 1 billion. The increasing costs and the emissions targets are huge challenges both for Finland and for the rest of the world as the attempts are made to give up fossil fuels and increase their more efficient use.
For example, to have any real chance of reaching the emission reduction targets, we need attractive and easy alternatives for driving one’s own car everywhere from sparsely populated areas to densely populated cities and also in the transport between them. New technologies, the innovative Mobility as a Service (MaaS) solutions and close cooperation between the public and the private sector may serve as a springboard for the development of the services.
The development of new alternatives in Finland is also supported by the new Act on Transport Services. In addition, the possible regional government reform will change the administrative structures related to the passenger transport services and, although it will force us to carry out a reform of the passenger transport system, it will above all enable it.
This co-operation project is a result of the funding call for projects concerning regional mobility organised by Sitra during the first half of 2018. The project took shape in the further discussions between the operators selected to the workshop stage of the call for funding. The project implemented by the call for funding are part of the National Growth Programme for the Transport Sector 2018-2022 funded by Sitra and other organisations.
During the project, a new cost-effective technology platform that can be modified to serve different needs will be developed for the use of the participating and other regions in Finland (e.g. municipalities and counties). All service providers offering mobility services and brokering them in the region can join this platform. This way, it is possible to combine the management, brokering and optimisation of public transport and passenger transport services, and to combine journeys that customers have paid themselves and those have been publicly subsidised. As a result, different transport services ranging from publicly subsidised transport to taxis and shared transport will be better available to different user groups – they can be ordered and paid also through mobile applications. The number of services will be flexible and governed by demand. This forms the basis for an increase in the use of mobility services.
What do we do?
In the cooperation project, four companies work on creating a digital platform. Their work is based on the requirements set by the practical challenges and needs of three different pilot regions. At the same time, co-operation between the public and the private sector is promoted. The project will thus create preconditions and lay the foundation for a cost-effective service model that can also be introduced in other regions. The platform is based on open technical interfaces, which enables its introduction also elsewhere in Finland and abroad.
As a funder, Sitra has during spring 2018 supported co-operation and the creation of a shared working plan between the participants selected to the workshop stage of the regional mobility funding call.
The county of Etelä-Savo intends to be the first to test solutions for combining and brokering passenger transport services for health and social services. The trial also strives to make it possible to accept passengers who pay their journeys themselves in transport organised for health and social services. The aim is to reform the mobility services in the county step by step and develop them into an entity based on a customer-oriented approach.
In eastern Uusimaa, the aim is to trial demand-responsive connecting transport along the trunk routes in public transport and to combine service transports in towns and cities.
Pirkanmaa intends to use the new way of organising and combining publicly subsidised journeys as a solution to the transport needs of the area between the expanding urban region and the sparsely populated countryside. The vision is that, by 2030, all publicly subsidised public transport services and organised journeys in passenger transport services outside central Tampere will have been planned and procured as uniform operational entities.
The companies participating in the co-operation project are Infotripla Oy, Kyyti Group Oy, Sitowise Oy and Vinka Oy. For the duration of the project, they provide the pilot regions with the technology platform developed in the project. Infotripla brings the solutions for traffic information and current status information to the technology platform. Kyyti Group is responsible for providing the user interface for ordering transport, the back-end system for the transport products and the solutions used for charging and pricing. Sitowise, in turn, takes care of the browser interface used by the booking service centres, of controlling the back-end system used in the management of publicly subsidised passenger transport services and of planning the arrangements for the call centre service. Vinka is responsible for the back-end system used in fleet management and in combining and routing the journeys. It is also responsible for the point of integration for the management of the different passenger transport services in the technology platform.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd conducts the impact assessments of the trials in the project and produces independent information on co-operation models and alternative ways of organising regional mobility to decision-makers.
Where are we now?
The project began in May 2018 and will run until the end of August 2019.
It consists of the following work stages:
- Definition of the use cases in the overall solution (May-June 2018)
- Definition of the service model used in the overall solution and the development schedule (June-July 2018)
- Setting up and development of the technology platform (July-December 2018)
- Definition of the operating organisation and selection of transport providers in the pilot regions (July-December 2018)
- Operation and iteration of the service model during the pilot project (January-August 2019)
- Planning of continuing operation and impact assessment (October 2018-2019)
How can I get involved?
If your region is interested in participating in the development work described on this project page, contact Heikki Sorasahi at Sitra. As from the beginning of 2019, the plans for scaling the platform solution developed in the project can also begin for other regions. If you are a provider of the mobility services in Etelä-Savo, Pirkanmaa or eastern Uusimaa and would already like to participate in the pilot project as from October 2018, please contact us as soon as possible.