With the advancement of smart city solutions, the supply of high-efficiency public transport became a luxury of top-tier cities. This has introduced an imbalance between municipalities that can afford smart city solutions and those that don’t. The result is an uneven distribution of mobility services across regions that exacerbates social inequalities and fails to provide equal opportunity between cities and rural communities. The challenge we face is to ensure mobility and spatial justice beyond the municipal border of smart cities. In this project, we mapped the mobility equity of Harju county and worked with Demos Helsinki to develop an action plan for a just and equitable development of public transit stops in the region.
Mobility equity is about mapping public transit performance and potential demand across Harju county. The more distributed is the service performance and potential demand, the higher is the mobility equity across the region. To do so, we’ll rely on mapping the geographic distribution of public transit service performance and the potential demand.
- Service performance is an index that relies on GTFS, route delays and passengers count data.
- Potential demand. is an index that relies on the National database of the built environment, census data and qualitative observations from Foursquare.
We classified all into six categories based on their Service performance and Potential demand based on these indicators. This model provides a high-level understanding of the current condition of all stops.
This classification method revealed an unequal distribution of high-performing public transit services compared to the potential demand between different areas. There is a clear divide between the high-quality service provided in Tallinn and the lower service performance present in all other municipalities. In the long term, this can increase social inequalities between cities, grow the urban/rural divide, and incentivize the use of cars for daily commuting.
A total of 64 stops in 25 locations across Harju county were surveyed on site. We utilised spherical panoramic photographs taken at eye-level and above with drone flights to capture the human experience first and the overall accessibility to the stops from their surroundings. The selection of stops surveyed was pre-selected to represent all municipalities and stop types (urban, rural, town), and the final selection was discussed and agreed with the representative of all the Harju
The interactive photographic survey is available here
Our learning and actions were compiled in the Handbook for place leaders. This chapter from the report can be utilised independently from the other sections of the report. It sets priorities to upgrade the service provision and design qualities needed to make public transit stops relevant and convenient. The Handbook proposes four general principles for bridge the mobility equity gap in the region and promotes local innovation processes – taking into account both the current capacity of the public transport system and the local and societal potentials.