The Helsinki Regional Transport Authority spent € 1.2 billion on a subway extension from Helsinki to the suburban city of Espoo in order to improve the commute for thousands of travelers while reducing CO2 emissions. To optimize connecting bus routes and also measure the sustainability efforts of the subway extension, they used Telia Crowd Insights.
More than 700,000 trips are made between the city of Espoo and Helsinki every day. To facilitate the commute for travelers, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL) invested € 1.2 billion in extending the subway line from Helsinki to Espoo, called West Metro.
By getting more people to choose public transport instead of driving on the surrounding Länsiväylä and Turunväylä freeways, the Espoo extension would also reap the environmental benefits for the city by limiting CO2 emissions.
When the West Metro was completed, it was time to set up bus routes to the new stations. An important factor for this phase was meeting commuters’ travel needs. But to know exactly where to put these feeder lines, HSL needed data.
Traditional methods used to measure movements can be tricky to get statistically right, they’re time consuming and quite expensive. For example, voluntary surveys typically attract travelers with complaints. In addition, a comprehensive survey can take several years and cost tens of thousands of euros.
So, instead of conducting an expensive investigation that might have misleading information, HSL chose to use Crowd Insights from Telia. Not only did they get a fully credible result, but it took only 36 hours.
Telia Crowd Insights are based on anonymized mobile network data providing information regarding where crowds are coming from and going to at a particular time. In this way, HSL was able to get clear and lucid views of exactly how the travelers used the existing bus services. This gave HSL a reliable basis for decision-making in order to re-plan the connections.
And immediately after the new services began to operate, HSL was able to see how the travelers´ moving patterns changed.
“Benefiting from the new data source and continuous data requires changing the way we operate,” says Tapio Levä, Senior Business Development manager for data insights in Finland. “In the past, many organizations have based their operations on statistics that were updated once a year, for example, but now they have constantly updated data available on, in this case, the flow of people.”
Using Crowd Insights also made it possible to measure the environmental impact from the new subway extension. The data showed that subway use had reduced car traffic between Espoo and Helsinki by 8%, which equates to 13 tonnes of CO2 per day.
And that’s just the beginning for Helsinki. The HSL management team is pleased with the results and intends to use Crowd Insights for public transport planning in all of their 15 regions.