[NEWS] Kainuu: rethinking mobility

Alternative mobility, the systemic and the end user perspectives

In Finland, the generalised understanding on alternative mobility is that it is multisided, including suppliers, users, and systemic public or semi-public transport arrangements.

In this context, Finland is one of the first countries to invest in the concept of mobility as a service, instead of just transport. That was introduced in 2017 through the Act on Transport Services. The Act on Transport Services brings together transport market legislation and creates the preconditions for digitalisation of transport and new business models. Its key aim is provision of customer-oriented transport services and the aim is to effectively promote sustainable mobility. [Ministry of Transport and Communications, Act on Transport Services, 320/2017; amendments up to 731/2018 included; https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/kaannokset/2017/en20170320_20180731.pdf].


The Mobility as Service Alliance (MaaS) was established to contribute to this effort, first in Finland and then at EU level. (https://maas-alliance.eu/european-mobility-service-alliance/). It has also been argued that MaaS has the potential to fundamentally change the behaviour of people in and beyond cities. This argument is crucial to alternative mobility, since it relates directly to consumers.

A recent research (2020) undertaken by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (https://www.metropolia.fi/en) and the University of Eastern Finland (https://www.uef.fi/en) identified six parametres related to mobility (1). The report, six observations valid in the Finnish context at least:”

The policy brief confirms the importance of MaaS, and also identified a simple measure for encouraging sustainable mobility in urban centres. However, the remaining four (4) observations deal with individual choices associated with wellbeing and practicality of solutions. In the context of the eMOPOLI project, we feel that it would be important to maybe dedicate one discussion on such issues as well, and maybe, reach some shared observations.

1 Six observations to aid the transition to more sustainable mobility choices: (1) Finns base the changes they make in their mobility choices on the improvement of their own wellbeing. (2) Lowering the speed limit in urban centres makes alternative mobility choices attractive, as it narrows the gap between different modes. (3) Investing in experimentation is worthwhile, but the practicality of a new mobility choice is the most essential factor in its attractiveness. (4) It is more and more seldom that the transition to sustainable mobility choices involves the experience of abandonment, since the benefits of new mobility choices are increasingly better known. (5) The smoother integration of different modes of mobility is key to a more sustainable society. (6) Different mobility choices complement each other, and wellbeing is becoming an increasingly important selection criterion for modes of mobility.” [Metropolia, University of Eastern Finland (2020), Policy Brief 2/2020].