At this very moment, a technological solution that identifies transport modes is helping residents of Lahti reduce their carbon footprint. The solution, developed by the startup Moprim, is being used in CitiCAP, a project carried out by the city of Lahti where residents of the city can monitor in real-time the carbon dioxide emissions generated by their mobility.
The data are processed and analysed in Moprim’s cloud service. To users, they are displayed through a mobile application, in which the daily emissions of cars and public transport can be monitored. Users are simultaneously encouraged to move on foot or by bicycle. Furthermore, the use of low-emission modes of transport is rewarded with virtual currency, which users can utilise to purchase products and services at a reduced price.
The goal of the residents of Lahti is not only to reduce traffic emissions but also to compile and share electronic data on mobility and develop new traffic services.
“We are increasing people’s awareness of their mobility-related decisions and carbon footprint. It’s already steering the opinions of individual citizens and decision-makers towards a more environmentally friendly direction,” says Petri Martikainen, chair of the board at Moprim.
According to Martikainen, human modes of transport are not yet understood well enough.
“The coronavirus pandemic has greatly transformed mobility. In Lahti, travelling by bus decreased markedly, while the opposite happened in terms of travelling by car. At the same time, bicycles and electric scooters gained popularity. For cities to be able to offer services that are increasingly fit for purpose, they have to stay on top of people's changing mobility needs.”
Individual privacy safeguarded
Moprim’s technology is based on algorithms that model movement. In addition to transport modes, they will in the future identify their quality through questions on, for example, how individuals are driving their cars. Data are collected with the help of mobility-sensing sensors that are part and parcel of smart devices. The algorithms also make it possible to identify new types of mobility, such as electric kick scooters.
“Practically all of us are carrying a smartphone with us all of the time, which makes it possible to effectively observe people’s movement with various vehicles in the urban environment,” Martikainen explains.
He points out that the privacy of users has been ensured. For example, GPS tracking is not needed for identifying transport modes.
“All data are processed in anonymised form. Individuals or their movements cannot be deduced from the data, and nobody’s personal data are processed in the cloud,” says Martikainen.
Moprim continuously collects mobility data for recognizing new types of transport and for enhancing the accuracy of its current models.
Internationalisation progresses within the limits set by the pandemic
Moprim has won a number of awards in the five years it has been in operation, in addition to which it was ranked among the top 50 mobile startups and among the top 25 cleantech startups in Europe.
Martikainen believes that Moprim’s product is getting to the stage where its use will be easy to expand. The product entails a light motor that can be connected to an existing mobile application. This feature will be enabled for all users by updating the application.
“The city of Lahti is a prime example. We have already carried out a number of projects related to urban mobility. Companies too have expressed interest in utilising trip chains in urban planning,” Martikainen adds.
Moprim’s internationalisation efforts are currently progressing within the limits set by the coronavirus situation. Most recently, Moprim initiated the development of smart mobility solutions with the Swedish city of Östersund.
Partly inspired by the coronavirus circumstances, Moprim also designed a new mobile application called Move together, which lists the trips taken by users and the time spent using different modes of transport. The purpose of the application, which has received funding from Business Finland, is to encourage users to extend their mobility in increasingly environmentally friendly ways. The application can also be utilised by companies to offer mobility-related competitions for their employees.
“People move about less when they are telecommuting. This is about boosting mobility. For instance, you can join a community that encourages you to move on foot or by bicycle, with the sponsors’ contributions growing according to the distance travelled,” Martikainen explains.
“I think dense housing, urban development and a mobile way of life will further increase the demand for various mobility-related services,” Martikainen states.
chair of the board at Moprim
+358 50 5500 666
The article was originally published in October 2017, after which an amended version was published on 23 October 2020.