Nudging towards sustainable mobility behaviour in urban nature destinations: “Park Hawk” mobile information service
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd
Region & country
Helsinki capital area, Nuuksio National Park, Finland
Nuuksio National park is situated in Helsinki capital region in Finland. The Parkkihaukka service aims at mitigating the traffic issues in Nuuksio National Park caused by private cars by providing destination related information enriched with real-time mobility and traffic related information to nature-goers’ mobile phones and desktops. By providing relevant information, like up-to-date snapshots of most popular parking lots in the area, to the decision-making moments of the visitors, we aim at nudging them to select areas that are not already overcrowded and select available public transportation where possible.
Park Hawk snapshot
Nuuksio National Park
Nuuksio National Park
Background of the project
According to visitor survey 84% of visitors come to Nuuksio by car. Most popular entrances to Nuuksio National Park are behind narrow dead end roads and limited parking facilities have faced heavy congestion as visitors are driving back and forth to find a free parking place – often without success. This has caused frustration, disturbances and illegal parking in the area.
Up-to-date information about the occupancy of the parking lots and traffic situation in the popular destinations must be conveyed to the national park visitors for their visit planning and decision making on choosing the destination and ways to reach it.
Solution and actions taken
Solution was to set up:
- a web service accessible from any user device that provides information about basic national park facilities,
- real-time time tables to bus stops in the Nuuksio area
- real-time view to the most popular parking places in the area.
We set up stand-alone camera units providing periodical snapshots of the most popular parking lots using solar power and 3G/4G connection to Parkkihaukka backend server. With this information we built a web service that combines relevant information with parking lot occupancy information. Occupancy information is provided as photo snapshots that are selectively blurred to maintain privacy. In addition, Artificial Intelligence (AI) based image analysis were used to estimate the parking lot occupancy automatically.
Other institutions or parties involved
- Metsähallitus, Parks & Wildlife Finland – manager of National park
- City of Espoo
- Helsinki – Uusimaa Regional Council, joint regional authority
The service was developed in two different projects:
- Last Mile project https://6aika.fi/en/project/results-last-mile/ received funding from Leverage from the EU 2014-2020 programme
- Improved Sustainability in Urban National Parks project https://www.metsa.fi/web/en/sust-urb received funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers.
The users of the service has give extremely positive feedback on the service and expressed that it has helped them to avoid congestion and crowded destinations. Service has decreased the problems caused by private car users in the area. It has been decided to continue the service after the pilot in Nuuksio and extend it to another urban, popular national park Sipoonkorpi in Helsinki region.
Setting up an energy-efficient, standalone unit in the wilderness without electricity, Internet connection or even proper mobile data coverage have caused some difficulties. Tree canopy and dark period of the year are problematic for solar energy production and camera units as well as 3G/4G routers cannot be optimized in their energy use. In addition, restricted mobile data access is a subject to lower the reliability of the service.
In order to get people aware of the provided service requires time and continuous marketing effort through multiple channels in order to gain critical mass of users to make real difference in the large scale mobility behavior.
Related case studies
Coexistence of hiking and biking trails in a Periurban Park
Mountain biking could be a common recreational activity together within protected areas on the point of cities. There is growing pressure to permit a larger diversity of recreational activities in…
Improved sustainability in Urban National parks in Nordic and Baltic countries
The main aim of the project was to improve social and ecological sustainability of urban national parks Tyresta in Sweden, Nuuksio in Finland, Lahemaa and Alutaguse in Estonia. The aim…