Offsetting the annual emissions of 9,000 residents through sustainable transport solutions

News 13.01.2020

If the Aviapolis area is developed so that just 15% of commuting is done by private car, the resulting emission reduction potential is close to 36,000 tonnes CO₂e per year. This corresponds to the annual emissions of nearly 9,000 inhabitants in the Helsinki metropolitan area. Aviapolis is becoming an area where 60,000 jobs are concentrated. In 2018, 64% of employees in the Aviapolis area commuted mainly by private car.

A testbed was built in the Aviapolis area in Vantaa, where solutions were developed to reduce the need for private cars and parking spaces, a ridesharing service was created and the use of drones in parcel logistics was demonstrated. In addition, the project developed an operating model for the agile testing of new transport solutions for urban use.

The Aviapolis Traffic Lab change project, which ended in spring 2019, focused on making use of Aviapolis, Finland’s fastest growing workplace area located near Helsinki Airport. In order for Aviapolis to be as functional an environment as possible for both residents and businesses in the area in the future, it has to be developed in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner. 

The Aviapolis change project produced an operating model that allows flexible transport services to be created and tested under operating conditions. The intention was that traffic in the area would no longer be based solely on traveling by private car. Instead, public and private transport are combined with innovative solutions. 

In the three-year project, several actors carried out trials that improved mobility, transport and logistics in the Aviapolis area. There was a wide range of actors involved from different industries, from government agencies to businesses. The project utilised the Triple helix model, which promotes cooperation between different parties, reveals Eemil Rauma, a consultant at the project partner Korkia. According to him, Finland needs more projects like Aviapolis, where problems are solved by bringing several actors to the same table.  

“The major challenges facing transport and logistics cannot be solved by companies, cities or research organisations alone. The public sector actors involved in the project according to the model – that is, the cities, officials, businesses and research institutes – worked together seamlessly to achieve the project goals”, he says. 

The Aviapolis project consisted of four work packages, which included simulating reducing the need for parking spaces, piloting a simple ride sharing service and designing the electrification of logistics terminal equipment. 

The Aviapolis area provides an excellent opportunity for development and market-based trials. The number of such airport cities is increasing and their infrastructure is actively being developed. Thus, the tested solutions create significant export potential. The aim is to spread and duplicate the innovations elsewhere in Finland as well.  

“The parties involved in the project found the work valuable and the cooperation model successful. Many of the goals of the work packages have been taken forward since the end of the project. These follow-ups are a sign that something has been done right”, Eemil Rauma concludes.