How has Helsinki empowered its citizens?

Helsinki is the capital of Finland situated on the south coast with a population of 630.000 inhabitants. The modal split in Helsinki is currently 12% walking, 6% cycling, 40% public transport and 41% private motor vehicle. Helsinki’s mobility management plan focuses on creating a sustainable business model in which employers supply incentives for the employees to travel in a more sustainable manner.


Helsinki is the capital of Finland with a population of approximately 630.000 inhabitants. The redevelopment of four former port areas and rail yards right next to city center, plus half a dozen more in the city suburbs, will mean an increase in population of 25% by 2025. This indicates a major challenge for the traffic system. Regarding its mobility management plan, Helsinki focuses on measures towards more sustainable modes of transport in order to tackle this increase. The city of Helsinki has a modal split of 12% walking, 6% cycling, 40% public transport and 41% private motor vehicle.


Transport planning in Helsinki and Helsinki region is focusing mainly on infrastructure projects, but also on cycle promotion, the introduction of a city bike scheme, many ICT-enable parking projects and the collection of real-time traffic information. Employers are spending quite big sums to provide company cars and parking space for them. It has been demonstrated that there are possibilities for considerable savings by encouraging employees to take up other modes of travel, both for commuting and work-related trips during the day.


Helsinki’s approach is rather simple and straightforward: employees generate cost savings when their employers choose to use alternative transport, and then (part of) this saving is given back to employees as the incentive. Money as an incentive can usually be used to motivate people in the short term. With this rewarding scheme, employees can see in a very direct way the effect of their choices, which in turn is also expected to further enhance the motivation.


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