Urban mobility challenges from use cases and how they can be addressed by Disruptive Technologies - Part 3/5 - Helsinki
The third stop of our journey is Helsinki, the capital of Finland. Helsinki is a continuously evolving and developing city. In this sense a particular example is represented by the Jätkäsaari area. The shore area of Jätkäsaari, literally meaning “Dockers’ Island”, was previously used for industrial and harbour purposes; now it has gradually transformed into a residential area offering workplaces and services. At the same time, Jätkäsaari is also a growing passenger and transport harbour due to its location (right adjacent to the centre of Helsinki). The harbour is the main connection between Helsinki and Tallinn, with growing mobility and opening of a new terminal in 2017. Annually 1 million private cars travel on the connection where a single main road leads in and out of Jätkäsaari. This road feeds directly to the largest car commuting junction (70.000 cars daily) from the city centre to the western suburbs of Helsinki, creating interference.
The Jätkäsaari area is emblematic of the overall development Helsinki is facing, in particular for what concerns mobility. In this context, to correctly cope with this evolution, The City of Helsinki's traffic planning and traffic management need up-to-date and high-quality traffic information to support data-driven decision making. In addition, proactive and forward-looking approach is needed as the population of the metropolitan area grows and traffic situation changes.
What is Helsinki aiming for?
In this context the City of Helsinki aims to check the status of traffic and its development, analyse how traffic could evolve, perform traffic forecasts, simulate traffic planning and land use, check the development and implementation of new infrastructures and policies, Develop a master plan for city development (land use, mobility, housing, etc.). To reach these it is essential to establish a unique view and understanding among traffic planning and urban planning, allowing the exchange of information among different departments (overcome information silos). In doing so, the city of Helsinki has to face some issues related to availability of different maps layers from a department to another one that represent the same information in different manner, the Lack of people with competences for demanding analysis, the Lack of time to get deep understanding of data and problems related to obtain raw data to be analysed with external tools.
The role of Disruptive Technologies
A data catalogue as unique point of access that brings under the same umbrella the data produced by different departments will simplify the discovery and access of needed data, avoiding complications caused by scattered repositories managed by different departments of the same organisation. The data catalogue could leverage tools for the integration with existing ICT software and applications.
This will allow on a hand the automatic check of information (e.g. automatic detection of inconsistencies in the data, such as missing mandatory fields, infringement of time constraints about updates) and on the other hand the automation of repetitive tasks (e.g. extract relevant information and provide it in a more usable manner).
Leveraging the data made so accessible it will be possible to define pre-packaged simulations that need only minor operations to be executed (e.g. few parameters and/or initial input data). This will simplify the use of this kind of technology to personnel without specific competencies and skills to set up an entire simulation from scratch and reduce the time needed and the acceptance of this of technology, since the personnel will not spend too much time to learn how to use it.