SHARED USE AND MOBILITY IN THE CITY INFRASTRUCTURE
After the city bikes, named Alepafillarit in Finnish, rolled into the streetscape in Helsinki, shared-use mobility gained a lot of new popularity. In fact, many people heard about these mobility forms for the first time only after the Alepafillarit made their appearance. Around this time, new shared-use-cars service providers began to pop up in the streets of the metropolitan area, such as Drivenow and Gonow! Thanks to these new solutions, moving around became fashionable once again.
CITIES UNDERGOING MOBILITY TRANSFORMATION
The use of space in cities, as well as the cities’ mobility politics, are undergoing a transformation. For example, there is much debate in Helsinki concerning the removal of one of the traffic lanes on the Lauttasaari bridge. For decades, cars have been number one when it comes to urban mobility. People, bikers or pedestrians, have only ranked in third or fourth place. Public transportation has been somewhere in the middle in all this, and at least the city infrastructure classifies bikes as one form of public transportation. The mobility transformation, with its novel ways of getting around, will shift this in a more people-oriented direction. Are we, as people, ready to surpass the reign of cars - or do we wish to keep regarding cars as number one?
ANSWER/SOLUTION TO POPULATION CENTRES’ CHALLENGES REGARDING USE OF SPACE, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE
Parking will change in population centres. As urbanisation increases, we will endeavour to utilise every square metre sensibly. Are cars, and parked ones, in line with this as they spend about 95 % of the time standing in one place? How many people can you fit in an area of five square metres when comparing cars and pedestrians? Shared-use solutions are the answer to the challenges of the urbanising Finland in space utilisation and in mobility infrastructure application.
The shared mobility solutions of housing companies will bring more mobility choices and aid in realising a sensible urban infrastructure. Even now, every housing company would have the opportunity to provide their tenants with shared cars, bikes, and electric scooters. In shared use the equipment will be utilised more effectively and save space. The same principles will also work for companies and the mobility of their staff.
FUNCTIONAL SMART MOBILITY SOLUTIONS REQUIRE AN ADEQUATE AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT AND PROPER MAINTENANCE
Shared-use solutions require an adequate amount of equipment to function. If a housing company acquires only one shared-use car in the yard, it’s only good for the first person leaving for work in the morning. In a company, the first employee snatches the shared car in the morning and the rest are left wondering how to get to the day's meetings. It’s a proven fact that shared equipment will not stay in good shape without regular maintenance. It may come as a surprise to many that city bikes are maintained just as much as cars, not more. It might sound strange to some, if they have not done any maintenance on their own bikes in years. Shared-use equipment is always someone else's property and is handled as such. The shared equipment is often dropped off dirty or soiled, faults are not reported, and the equipment is parked or left wherever the user pleases. The community spirit is there, but in reality people say and do different things.
TOWARDS A MORE FUNCTIONAL MEANS OF CITY MOBILITY
Paris is at the forefront in mobility in several ways. Bike and car sharing have played a central role in the urbanites’ life for years now. On certain days, you are not allowed to drive in the city centre and must use other means of transport - such as public transportation, whose speed limit in the centre is 20 km/h. Electric scooters sharing will enter the streets of Paris next summer and again there’s something other cities could learn from.
It’s time us Finns also took the next steps towards a better / more fluent urban mobility; and correctly measured and applied shared-use solutions are the functional answer to this.
Kimmo Hanhinen, CEO
Rolan Oy – Intelligent Mobility Solutions
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