A less than 15 minute cycling trip to the city centre campus would be possible in the area covering Alppila, Myllyoja, Kaukovainio and Limingantulli

50% more people live in the 15-minute cycling area of the city campus and 26% more people live in the 15-minute public transport zone compared to similar areas in Linnanmaa.

A reachability review concerning the city campus planned by the University of Oulu has been completed. It examines the reachability of the Raksila location based on the travel time required for cycling, public transport and cars. The reachability data was calculated in a location data system utilising network-based reachability analytics. The reviews were jointly conducted at the University of Oulu by the Regional Excellence research group of Kerttu Saalasti Institute and the Geography Research Unit.

The reachability of the planned city campus by bike in 15 minutes would cover the entire city centre of Oulu and a circular zone formed by the districts of Tuira, Alppila, Välivainio, Myllyoja, Oulunsuu, Kaukovainio, Lintula, Nokela and Limingantulli. The 30-minute cycling zone spans Oulunlahti, Kaakkuri, Iinatti, Maikkula, Talvikangas, Kaijonharju and Toppila.

The public transport reviews are based on walking (4 km/h) and the fastest routes with transfers included according to the travel chain. The routes were calculated using the schedules on Tuesday, 1 September 2020 between 8 and 9 am based on the fastest possible connection for the commencing trip. Due to the walking required, the area which is reachable in less than 20 minutes with the current public transport connections is smaller than the 15-minute cycling area, yet it covers a bit more ground towards the districts of Haapalehto and Maikkula than the cycling zone.

With a car, the 15-minute reachability zone of the city campus would include Pohjantie towards Kello and Tupos, Kuusamontie towards Jääli as well as Kajaanintie towards Juurussuuntie and Oulunsalo all the way to the airport. Traffic is affected by congestion in the urban area but the level of congestion largely depends on the time and location. To include the congestion factor in the calculations, the travel time was lengthened by 30% in the inner urban area covered by the city-countryside classification in terms of the roads where the speed limit is below 80 km/h.

To compare the reachability benefits, similar calculations were also performed for the Linnanmaa campus. The 15-minute cycling zone in Linnanmaa covers the area from Ritaharju to Välivainio and Alppila. The 30-minute cycling zone also covers the city centre grid plan. The zone which is reachable in less than 20 minutes with public transport is also smaller than the 15-minute cycling zone in Linnanmaa, apart from certain stops in Tuira and Itä-Patela. With a car, the 15-minute reachability zone of Linnanmaa covers the centre of Haukipudas, unlike the city campus, but it does not cover places such as Oulunsalo and the airport in the southern parts of the city. In Kempele, it only covers the areas located very close to Pohjantie.

In all cases, when considered from the perspective of various modes of transport and travel times of 15, 30 and 60 minutes, more people live in the reachability areas of the city campus than in the reachability areas of Linnanmaa. The disparities are the highest when using bikes and public transport with the shortest travel times, but the differences diminish when the travel times are longer and cars are used. When calculated using the population data from 2019, 50% more people live in the city campus’s 15-minute cycling zone and 26% more people live in the 15-minute public transport zone compared to similar areas in Linnanmaa. The number of residents in the city centre grows along with further construction and as the city becomes more compact.

The modes of transport used by thousands of university students for travelling to their classes and work are relevant through their environmental impact, costs to public transport in Oulu, needs for land use and health effects. The longer the distance, the higher the threshold to use muscle power. In Finland, 75% of journeys under one kilometre are travelled on foot or by bicycle. Almost 50% will still choose to walk or cycle if the journey is between 1 and 2 kilometres, but the percentage drops to just over 20% if the trip is between 3 and 5 kilometres. The fact that Finns are currently not meeting their physical exercise recommendations has effects on both the individual and national health levels. With students, the simplest way to achieve the recommended level of exercise is to travel to and from classes using muscle power.

More information about support for students’ everyday exercise by means of community planning.

Implementation of the reachability analyses:

Ossi Kotavaara (PhD, docent) Regional Excellence research group, Kerttu Saalasti Institute in cooperation with the Geography Research Unit at the University of Oulu.

Last updated: 22.9.2021