Helsinki to stop cars in 10 years, thanks to metro and bus system

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By Edward Campbell

helsinki

Maybe because it’s cornered from neighboring Scandinavian cities, maybe challenged by more eco-friendly Germany, the Finnish capital has announced a really ambitious project: stop all cars on its roads by 2025.

Everything will be done through the use of new technologies: a handy app will actually help you find the fastest route to your desired destination. Just insert the place of departure and arrival and a number of options such as the duration come up, just wait for the app to calculate the route and voila, here’s an ecological solution to transportation, which will include also everything from bike paths and pedestrian areas to ferries and buses; the whole deal with a single plan for travel and a single subscription.

A project has already started last year with Kutsuplus; in reality it’s a collective taxi service: customers decide the starting and final location via smartphone, then a program calculates all requests, creating the perfect route to respond to them all.

The system puts together the automotive world with the eco-sustainable public transportation system: it gives citizens the chance to be picked up and taken to the place where they wish, with an eye out for the environment, and of course let’s not forget- the wallet. A ride on Kutsuplus costs more than just a bus ride but less than a taxi ride.

Taking a train to the city center from Helsinki airport
Helsinki has an impressive public transport infrastructure based on buses, trams, metro and trains. Here we are a taking a train to the city center from Helsinki airport.

The plan of Helsinki is not intended to totally eliminate the car (actually many Finns have to have a car to reach their rural-area homes), but rather to free up their streets (and perhaps also the streets of Spot and Van), offering to citizens a service which can be considered as a worthy replacement, or at least at an acceptable level of the car, with better comfort and price.

Will this plan aimed at enabling Helsinki to stop cars almost completely succeed? Probably it will not be possible to get rid of all cars after a century of ‘private mobility’, but perhaps the Helsinki project could start a chain reaction to put into practice what we’re always talking about: ‘you must do something for environment’, and the first step has to be tied to clean transportation.

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