Towards urban sustainable lifestyles by 2030 by exploring mobility

The Transformative cities project, which started in early 2023, will develop and test new methods and interventions to support the transformation towards carbon neutrality, biodiversity conservation and urban sustainable lifestyles by 2030.
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The project combines mobility sensing technologies, participatory mapping approaches and governance research methods to promoting a shift in mobility patterns from private cars to more sustainable modes of transport. Aim is also to support healthy and sustainable urban form and planning as well as urban lifestyles. Finland's Recovery and Restoration Plan requires a deeper understanding how cities are lived in and how this knowledge of urban citizens can be integrated into legislative, urban planning and policy practices to support rapid change towards carbon neutrality and climate resilience.

"In the project, we are developing more accurate analytics for local traffic flows and traveling patterns in cities using mobile phone tracking data. We want to measure more precisely the impact of light transport infrastructure on mobility and for example the importance of maintenance in winter. We aim to identify the potential of biking and walking as well as public transport travels from the mobility data more accurately than before", says Ossi Kotavaara, Research Director of the Regional Excellence Research Group at the Kerttu Saalasti Institute, University of Oulu. Kotavaara is the leader of the project´s work package for mobility data analytics.

The project will explore the opportunities and barriers to achieving carbon neutrality and climate resilience in cities by 2035 by combining different scientific methodologies. It will also co-develop a set of policies and business strategies that promote sustainable urban behaviour. The project will conduct four case studies to provide practical information on Finnish cities. The cities selected are Helsinki, Espoo, Lahti and Oulu. This will allow the design and testing of methods that take into account the characteristics of cities of different sizes and populations.

The project is led by the distinguished Professor Christopher Raymond from the University of Helsinki's Institute of Sustainable Science (HELSUS).

"We lack tools to help citizens and organizations navigate the transformation of sustainable development. We need to make more effective use of knowledge resources and create policies that can better integrate cross-cutting sustainable planning needs through knowledge management," he stresses.
From the Regional Excellence team, the project will be supported by Magyar Marton, a geospatial specialist. The mobility data work package will be carried out in collaboration with the Geoinformatics Group of the Geography Research Unit of the University of Oulu, with the participation of University Lecturer Harri Antikainen and Postdoctoral Researcher Terhi Ala-Hulkko.

"Mobile data analytics based on phone location will be interesting and very demanding, as always when working with evolving and developing methods. Working with a multidisciplinary consortium is interesting and creates the opportunity to produce useful data for urban planning, even though the work itself is basic scientific geospatial research. Working with both experienced and second generation researchers is stimulating," Marton Magyar describes.

The project will work closely with Telia Crowd Insights developers to build the geospatial methods for mobility analytics. The City of Oulu will cooperate closely in testing the initial phase of the methods, especially with regard to cycling infrastructure and measuring the effectiveness of cycling conditions.
The universities in the consortium are the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, the University of Turku, the University of Oulu and the University of Eastern Finland. Other universities, research institutes and companies are also part of the very comprehensive cooperation group. The project is funded by the Academy of Finland together with the European Union - NextGenerationEU instrument under grant number 352943.

Read more on the project's website:

Last updated: 8.5.2023