There was a time when having a car of your own put you as the envy of your peers. Soon enough, it may become just the opposite: The future will be measured by your ability to live without needing a car.
By 2025, the government of Helsinki, Finland’s capital city, hopes to make it completely unnecessary to own a car by piloting an ambitious project to end the need for car ownership through a combination of taxis, ride-sharing apps, carpooling, and traditional public transit.
A new “mobility on demand” system will allow people to instantly call up a bus, taxi, or bike through one connected app. Think Uber for public transportation, also much cheaper.
“It combines mobility services—such as traditional public transit, but also car sharing, ride sharing, taxis, and bike shares—into a single comprehensive service,” says transportation planner Sonja Heikkilä.
“This could work, even though older people do not wish to give up their cars. Change comes gradually,” said Sonja Heikkilä, whose Master’s Thesis was commissioned by the city to figure out the logistics of their bold transportation plan. “A car is no longer a status symbol for young people.”
According to the plan, Helsinki would have a city-wide mobile application that would guide users from their starting point to the final destination through bikes, trains and ride-sharing, depending on location and weather. The concept is dubbed “mobility as a service” or MaaS.