By Erkki Paunonen and Mahima Dakal
The Last Mile project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the Six City Strategy for 2017–2019. The project is being implemented by Forum Virium Helsinki, the City of Vantaa, Espoo Marketing Oy, Aalto University, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Demos Helsinki. The joint project is coordinated by the City of Vantaa and has a total budget of 1.9 million Euros.
For more information, visit: http://www.metropolia.fi/tutkimus-kehittaminen-ja-innovaatiot/hankkeet/perille-asti/
The “Innovation” course for Logistics and Supply Chain Management has an interesting challenge: together with the City of Vantaa, students set to the streets to study traveler perceptions about mobility in the Helsinki Airport, Aviapolis Hotels, and Kuusijärvi park.
The “Last Mile” problem refers to gaps in transportation for travelers and commuters, particularly the last mile between the chosen mode of transport and your destination. What are smart mobility solutions for cities that close this gap, and address the many needs of travel?
The surveys also tackled the issue of transportation, and questioned tourists on their preferred modes of travel, be them buses, taxis, or new services like Drive Now: a car rental service with easy pick-up and drop-off locations perfect for city travel.
“Smart mobility,” or streamlined services unifying diverse transport modes, is the key for closing the Last Mile gap. Research from the Metropolia students is one step towards helping change the way we move in Helsinki.
Helsinki airport is known as ” The Gateway to Asia”and customers needs and demands for more versatile, faster and efficient transportation. The trends in travel and tourism changes, and the popularity of ” ecotourism ” to nature, to places like Kuusijärvi and Nuuksio are also increasing the amount of their visitors. The awareness of sustainable traveling is also increasing, so this kind of research is needed to find out how to improve the opportunities to this, like increasing the amount of city bikes, since the capital area is easily accessed by bike.
As the Helsinki airport gears up for new renovations and Finnair’s goal to become the airline connecting Asia and Europe, students wanted to identify what activities “stopover” tourists could do during their short stay in Vantaa. “Stopover” tourists are visitors who stay for between 5 hours to a couple nights on their way to their final destinations—while Asian tourists continue to stopover in Helsinki on their way to Europe, City of Vantaa hopes to encourage them to leave the hotel/airport and see a bit of Finland during their stay.
“The Last Mile Project”: A learning experience
The students of Metropolia had the opportunity to be a part of ‘The Last Mile Project’ which proved to be a great learning experience. Coordinating a group of 11 people to achieve one aim was a challenge and fun at the same time. Along with interactive session we had to step out of our comfort zone and give the best we could to make this project successful. We had three sub-teams, the Airport, the Hotels and Kuusijärvi handling three different different sectors of the project. We had a good experience on real-life project scenario and working between different teams side by side helped to enhance our management skills.
All the participating students have positive feedback regarding the project. Erkki, the team leader of Hotel Team, commented, ”During the process, I was surprised to meet a lot of Finns in the Vantaa hotel. I learned that there is a large hotel consumer segment of people wanting to stay the night before their flight. These interesting discoveries proved me the value of market research. I could vision the great potential for better transport solutions in Vantaa, and was happy to be a part of the #LastMile project”.
The research project was on the smaller case which gave us insight into how much work is needed to complete a large scale research project and prepared us for our upcoming thesis. Another member of the team Kennedy expressed how the project gave him a valuable lesson into what it took to create large amounts of data.
“Researching great ideas to improve the mobility and traveling solutions for travelers in the Helsinki metropolitan areas, was a great experience for me and as well for all the members of the team. As a student of SCM & logistics, the “Last Mile” project inspired me, and it was the biggest project that I have ever been involved in. Hopefully, the finding results of the project will support stakeholders”, Abdirahman, member of Airport Team, quoted. For Linh, interviewing people from all corners of the world and listening to their travel experiences in Finland was a great learning opportunity.
Apart from interviewing international travelers, the Kuusijärvi Team had a good experience interviewing people and obtaining information from different locations in Finland on how to improve mobility to Kuusijärvi.
We have many stories, have experienced and shared lots of stress as well as beautiful moments and recorded many creative ideas, all of which contribute to the success of this project. Ice swimming, the Sauna and Sipoonkorpi national park were some of the most visited places.