Sohjoa – Baltic Sea Region transitioning into eco-friendly autonomous last mile public transportation
Sohjoa Baltic
 
PROGRAMME 2014-2020
priority
3 Transport
objective
3.5 Urban mobility

Sohjoa Baltic

The Interreg project Sohjoa Baltic increased knowledge on autonomous public transport in eight countries, brought piloting experience of self-driving electric minibuses to six countries, and contributed to promotion of environmentally friendly transport solutions in the Baltic Sea region.
The challenge

Public transport is not as flexible and accessible as private cars are in the Baltic Sea region. In general, the public transportation in the region is moderately used, but still in many cities the public transport can not offer competitive options for the citizens. This triggers the use of private cars for daily routines and commuting. The public transportation affects people´s well-being, traffic emissions and capacity problems as well as contributes to the climate change.

In order to tackle the traffic problems, the modal share of the public transportation should be increased and more environmentally friendly transport solutions presented. Meanwhile, the use of low-emission public transportation vehicles such as biogas and hybrid buses is increasing which provides good basis for integrating electric automated last mile public transportation to the travel chain. Besides the problems with traffic congestion, cars as a rule take up more space in comparison to the the number of passengers. This is a challenge for at least urban areas with high density of population.

The project Sohoja aimed to increase the attractiveness of public transport by improving offered services and introducing automated driverless electric minibuses, especially for the first and last mile of the journey.

Budgets

Sohjoa Baltic
in numbers
  • 3.48
    Million
    Total
  • 2.37
    Million
    Erdf
  • 0.00
    Million
    Eni + Russia
  • 0.24
    Million
    Norway

Achievements

The project Sohjoa Baltic gathered partners from Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Norway, and Denmark and helped the citizens across the Baltic Sea region consider their daily choices by bringing more options to the public transport, offering a driverless bus as one of them.

The pilots have showcased what is possible

The project implemented large-scale pilots in mixed traffic and open streets in Helsinki, Kongsberg and Tallinn. Gdansk, Jelgava and Aizkraukle hosted small scale pilots. In total, the piloting lasted 19 months, covered 11 634 km, and 19 437 passengers, being carried with automated driverless electric minibusses. The feedback gained from the passengers proved the positive expectations in terms of technology safety. The legislative part as regards the safety on the roads was also addressed by the project. In Poland and Latvia, the passengers for the first time got a possibility to test automated electric shuttle busses.

A series of publications on self-driving public transport issued

Sohjoa Baltic’s Roadmap to Automated Electric Shuttles in Public Transport is a publication series of five volumes that compiles information on self-driving public transport and practical experiences from the robot bus trials, collected during the project in 2017-2020 in eight countries in the Baltic Sea region. Besides the knowledge on environmentally-friendly vehicles, the publications provided the state of the art of applied technology as well as insights into legislative regulations that cover driving vehicles on a national level.

Obstacles and drives of autonomous public mobility on agenda

The Future of Autonomous Transport in Baltic Sea Region conference 2020 focused on the obstacles and drivers for society to move towards autonomous public mobility. The industry, policymakers and cities joined the Sohjoa Baltic project’s final hybrid event held by Tallinn Transport Department (Estonia) and Metropolia University of Applied Sciences (Finland). About 100 delegates from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland gathered in Tallinn, and more took part from a distance. It was an important milestone in the project that brought together enthusiasts who believe in a sustainable future of the Baltic Sea region.

With EUR 3.02 million support from the European Union, the Interreg project Sohjoa Baltic raised awareness about the autonomous electric means of transport, leveraged the knowledge and practical experience to the passengers, and contributed to regional endeavors to tackle climate change.

Outputs

A series of publications

The Roadmap to Automated Electric Shuttles in Public Transport is a publication series of five volumes, disseminating compiled information on regulations and technology of self-driving public transport in eight countries in the Baltic Sea Region. It also includes the practical piloting and user experiences of the six robot bus trials in Gdansk (PL), Helsinki (FI), Kongsberg (NO), Tallinn (EE), Jelgava and Aizkraukle (LV) during the project period 2017-2020. The publications can be used as practical guidance or as research material depending on the needs of the users. A list of potential users is comprehensive, including academic and research institutions, urban planning authorities, urban transport authorities, companies providing public transport, traffic safety authorities, passengers including elderly and people with moving disabilities, private sector innovation and service developers, developers of smart cities and communities in the Baltic Sea region, and European autonomous vehicles stakeholders.

Project Stories

Partners

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
602,852.00
60.167488124.9427473

Forum Virium Helsinki

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
312,000.00
60.167488124.9427473

SUCCEEDED by PP14 (01.01.2019) Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi)

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
67,845.45
60.167488124.9427473

“WITHDRAWAL (09/11/2018) Helsinki Region Transport Authority HSL

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
1,485.36
60.167488124.9427473

FLOU Solutions Ltd

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
122,062.50
60.167488124.9427473

Tallinn University of Technology

  • Town
    Tallinn
  • Region
    Põhja-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
202,000.01
59.437215524.7453688

Tallinn Transport Department

  • Town
    Tallinn
  • Region
    Põhja-Eesti
  • Country
    Estonia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
416,999.99
59.437215524.7453688

Chalmers University of Technology

  • Town
    Gothenburg
  • Region
    Västra Götalands län
  • Country
    Sweden
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
401,973.24
57.707232611.9670171

Zemgale Planning Region

  • Town
    Jelgava
  • Region
    Zemgale
  • Country
    Latvia
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
262,000.00
56.651439423.7339143

Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility

  • Town
    Berlin
  • Region
    Berlin
  • Country
    Germany
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
137,976.90
52.517036513.3888599

The City of Gdansk

  • Town
    Gdańsk
  • Region
    Gdański
  • Country
    Poland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
304,547.00
54.3611928518.62860883362069

The Municipality of Kongsberg

  • Town
    Kongsberg
  • Region
    Buskerud
  • Country
    Norway
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
482,000.00
59.5945500499999959.670860075643745

The Municipality of Vejle

  • Town
    Vejle
  • Region
    Sydjylland
  • Country
    Denmark
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
105,500.00
55.70000579.5333238

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency (Traficom)

  • Town
    Helsinki
  • Region
    Helsinki-Uusimaa
  • Country
    Finland
Approximate total partner budget in EUR
61,131.55
60.167488124.9427473

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