24-Year-Old Transport Engineer is a Threat to Cars, Changing the Way her City Gets Around

sonja-heikkilEditor’s Note: The potential for this is endless. To make car ownership obsolete, however, America may need some time to develop further infrastructure.

By now it’s become clear that Scandinavians and Nordic nations do a lot of things better than other countries. They have the smallest gender gapsamong the highest test scores, and the lowest levels of inequality.

Now, they’re set to rub their transportation superiority in our faces.

Finland’s capital, Helsinki, is about to launch a program that could virtually eliminate car ownership and give its residents the ability to plot an on-demand commute from their phones.

It’s mostly the vision of Sonja Heikkilä, a 24-year-old Helsinki transportation engineer.

Her idea was to create a real-time marketplace for customers to choose among transport providers and piece together the fastest or cheapest way of getting where they need to go. The providers’ services would be distilled into an app through which a customer could plan a route.

In her master’s thesis, Heikkilä used the character of Taneli, a 34-year-old married father of four young children, to demonstrate how the whole thing works. Helsinki already has a dial-up bus service called Kutsuplus (Finnish for “call plus”), which for more than a year has been letting riders dial up a minibus on their phone, choose their route, and select whether they want their own private ride, according to WiredHere’s what the Kutsuplus app looks like:

Heikkilä’s vision combines minibus shuttle service with city bicycles and ride-sharing to all but eliminate the need for cars:

[Taneli] usually bicycles with his own bike to a station, ascends a bus, and carries the bicycle with him in the bus or leaves his own bicycle at the station and continues the trip with a city bike.

This article continues at Businessinsider.com

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