Finland’s capital intends to do away with the need to own a car by 2025, according to a new “mobility on demand” plan that incorporates bike sharing, on-demand taxis, mini buses, driverless cars, and even ferries onto a single, hopefully easy-to-use platform. Like so many smart ideas these days, it’s centered around an app, and it could change the way city planners see urbanity. The Telegraph reports:
Helsinki aims to transcend conventional public transport by allowing people to purchase mobility in real time, straight from their smartphones. The hope is to furnish riders with an array of options so cheap, flexible and well-coordinated that it becomes competitive with private car ownership not merely on cost, but on convenience and ease of use.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.
It’s important to remember that, as with many of these kinds of Nordic experiments, this won’t necessarily be easily exported to other cities around the world. That said, if successfully implemented, this could be a proof of concept, and a helpful reminder of the transformative powers of information technology.The information economy isn’t just changing the way we work, or keep in touch with one another, or find our news—it’s changing everything about the way we live, and that includes the way we move about. And, in the case of telework and more ubiquitous home delivery options, it is changing our need to move around. We live in interesting times.