The New Solutions in City Logistics project developed and piloted light last-mile logistics solutions in urban areas. In addition to that, logistics were boosted through digitalisation.
The aim of Helsinki’s sub-project was to pilot light electric vehicles in urban logistics and autonomous last-mile deliveries. Furthermore, the objective was to create new digital solutions for transport companies and for the distribution of necessary information to the logistics sector.
Duration, partners and funding
- The New Solutions in City Logistics was a Six City (6Aika) project carried out in cooperation by Forum Virium Helsinki, the City of Turku, Turku University of Applied Sciences, Valonia and Tampere University of Applied Sciences. The project was coordinated by the City of Turku.
- The project was funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Six City Strategy.
- The project ran from 1 August 2018 to 31 December 2020.
The project’s key achievements
As part of the project, A2B Finland tested light electric vehicles and saw positive results in using electric cargo bikes in urban logistics, ultimately deciding to acquire some for permanent use. In addition to this, business clients in the logistics sector gained new insights on electric cargo bikes. These bicycles are very handy when used to transport suitably small items, and they can also assist in building a brand of the client.
An automated transport pilot, Home-on-Demand, carried out at shopping centre REDI showed that transport modes such as this are close to achieving commercial potential. All 86 orders placed by K-Supermarket Redi’s customers made it safely to their destination in high-rise building Majakka, transported by a robot. Furthermore, the pilot created demand for other types of deliveries and work for a robot in this residential building and the shopping centre. Having multiple functions and larger volumes might soon make the use of a robot financially viable.
Using a robot chassis – intended for industrial use – to carry out customer service tasks amongst people requires careful service design. However, the ordering service Asumi, available to the residents of SRV’s building, and the robot’s entertaining and informative dialogue did make the robotic service fun and functional without human involvement.
When it comes to digital solutions, logistics firms would like the public sector to provide better urban data, particularly on entrances and loading bays. Navigators can usually only find their way to the correct property, and locating the entrance may take a long time. To resolve this challenge, the project produced an open data collection tool, Open Logistics Map (OLMap), and data was entered into it as an experiment during summer 2020. Teenage summer employees holding a summer job voucher for the City of Helsinki collected data for over 5,000 entrances in Helsinki.
The data was then verified and entered on an Open Street Map used by several services (e.g. HSL’s Journey Planner), thereby making it available to the users of these services as well. Ultimately, a PoC of application called Gatesolve was made, to use the exact entrance data in navigating successfully to a destination.
The development of last-mile logistics with the help of data is being continued in the project Accessibility Data for Logistics (November 2020–May 2022), funded by Helsinki Innovation Fund. The project, coordinated by Forum Virium Helsinki, is run in collaboration with TIEKE, the Finnish Information Society Development Centre.
Benefits for Helsinki
Light-weight electric vehicles reduce local emissions and take up less space when replacing a car with a combustion engine.
Transport robots could make the last mile logistics in densely built areas easier, and developing services in connection to these robots could create new business opportunities characterised by a high level of expertise and export potential. Transport robots could also be used in public sector logistics, e.g. in social and health care services.
The last-mile accessibility data may greatly reduce the amount of driving around, looking for the entrances and parking space, that delivery vehicles are required to do. Reducing unnecessary traffic through tight spots increases the attractiveness of an area, improves traffic safety and reduces the amount of emissions.
The project in media
KuljetusNet: Food orders delivered by cargo bike and electric moped https://kuljetusnet.fi/ruokatilaukset-konttipy%C3%B6r%C3%A4ll%C3%A4-ja-s%C3%A4hk%C3%B6mopolla.html (in Finnish)
Helsingin Sanomat: Helsinki attempts to quell parking rage https://www.hs.fi/kaupunki/art-2000006569418.html (in Finnish)
YLE News: Robot brings shopping to customer’s door and cracks jokes with the lift https://yle.fi/uutiset/3-11584911 (in Finnish)
Helsingin Sanomat: Whistling and talking robot delivers food from Redi to high-rise building residents https://www.hs.fi/kaupunki/art-2000006663875.html (in Finnish)
Ilta-Sanomat: Whistling courier robot begins work at Kalasatama’s Majakka https://www.is.fi/kotimaa/art-2000006665126.html (in Finnish)
Iltalehti: A ground-breaking trial – whistling robot whizzes around shopping centre REDI https://www.iltalehti.fi/iltvuutiset/a/2594a819-de83-4005-a9bc-219ae8531867 (in Finnish)
Tekniikka&Talous: Robot delivers groceries from shopping centre to customer’s door in Helsinki https://www.tekniikkatalous.fi/uutiset/katso-video-robotti-kuljettaa-ruokaostokset-kauppakeskuksesta-kotiovelle-helsingissa/43ac110e-3867-4b48-9123-c35add2e16fc (in Finnish)
The New York Times: Helsinki Makes Sustainability a Guiding Principle for Development https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/14/todaysinyt/helsinki-makes-sustainability-a-guiding-principle-for-development.html
The project materials and more information
The City Logistics project website: citylogistiikka.fi and kokeilut.citylogistiikka.fi (links in Finnish)
Transport agency platform (FVH City Logistics/CLApp):
– Usage demonstration: https://app.citylogistiikka.fi/process.html
– Interface: https://citylogistiikka.fvh.io/swagger-ui/
Data collection application Open Logistics Map (OLMap):
– Application: https://app.olmap.org/
– Instructions: https://app.olmap.org/editing-process.html
Route planning application Gatesolve:
– Application: https://app.gatesolve.com
Most of the data collected is available on OpenStreetMap
The last 50 metre data for logistics https://mobilitylab.hel.fi/materials/ in Jätkäsaari
All of the data collected can be browsed at https://app.olmap.org
The data is licensed under the CC0 licence.
A video about the Home-on-Demand pilot: