​New means of transport tested in home care: important lessons learned

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2019-11-27 14:16

In the summer of 2017, the City of Espoo tested new means of transport when visiting home care clients. Instead of using personal cars, the home care staff travelled to the clients’ homes by bicycle or on foot or using carpooling or minivans with built-in offices. The experiment turned out to be challenging, but many useful lessons were learned for the further development of the city’s transport services. 

The aim of the experiment was to find a viable shared mobility concept for the City of Espoo home care and assess the scalability of the concept to cover other services within the city. 

The experiment was part of the city’s objective to make its mobility services smoother, more environmentally friendly and cost-effective. A shared mobility service would enhance the organising and production of home care services, facilitate recruitment and improve the personnel’s occupational well-being as the need for home care services increases in Espoo. It could also lead to cost savings as vehicle servicing costs and parking fines, for example, would decrease and the staff would spend less time travelling. 

Remarkable savings by combining means of transport 

The city could achieve remarkable cost savings by combining different modes and means of transport.  

By  opening up  transport and mobility-related data, new types of transport services could also be created to reduce the need for travel and to enable, for example, the integration of transport services purchased by the city into other mobility services.  

“We first approached the development of home care mobility services through small-scale testing to see what works and what doesn’t work and what it would require from the city’s operating environment to implement the change more extensively. At the same time, we were able to avoid higher development costs that would have occurred if we had immediately carried out a more extensive project and implementation,” says  Matti Lyytikäinen , Director of Elderly Services in the City of Espoo. 

The first phase of the experiment involved four test days in the Matinkylä- Olari  home care area during June 2017. The home care staff as well as the supplier consortium, including complementary solutions and operators, actively took part in the implementation. Before the test days, we worked together to define the minimum solution we were aiming for. This was done by modelling the problem and by exploring alternative solutions.  

“The most challenging aspect was coordinating the needs, rules and obligations of home care with the solution package,” says  Valia Wistuba , Development Manager for the City of Espoo digital agenda. 

Key lessons learned: 

  • The testing of parallel solutions requires time for preparation, coaching, technical pre-testing and communication. 

  • Experimental projects are dependent on the key people, personnel and management as well as suitable partners who are committed to the experiment.  

  • Continuous collection of feedback and experiences from the suppliers, staff and supervisors is important in terms of learning. 

  • Weather conditions and the rules regarding customer service situations affect the implementation of experiments. 

  • Optimising the movement of people and goods in home care requires functional background systems, good supervision of work and support. 

What next?

Even though the experiment did not move on to the second phase and the minimum solution was not fully tested, the project was a useful learning process for Espoo as mobility services and the city’s transport services are developed, put out to tender and purchased.  

“Building the City as a Service model requires the Espoo community to adopt a new networking-like approach and flexibility,” says  Päivi Sutinen , Services Development Director at the City of Espoo. 

The City of Espoo carried out the test as a co-creation process with  NFleet  Oy,  Kyyti  Group Oy , the supplier group of EKT Oy and  Lähitaksi  Oy,  Helkama  Velox Oy and Silver Planet Oy. Aalto University conducted an analysis of the preparation and implementation phase of the experiment.

The experiment was carried out as part of the City of Espoo digital agenda that promotes the development of services and operations through testing.

The experiment is part of the Mobility as a Service joint project (MaaS) of Tekes and the Ministry of Transport and Communications, in cooperation with the Regional Council of South Karelia. The project aims to create a joint market dialogue and eventually parallel purchases through parallel experiments in different cities. 

Further information: 

  • Owner of the experiment: Matti Lyytikäinen, Director of Elderly Services, City of Espoo,  matti.lyytikainen@espoo.fi , tel. +358 500 796 810

  • Project management as part of Espoo’s digital agenda: Valia Wistuba, Development Manager, City of Espoo,  valia.wistuba@espoo.fi , tel. +358 43 825 2905

  • Operational director of digital agenda: Päivi Sutinen, Services Development Director, City of Espoo,  paivi.sutinen@espoo.fi , tel. +358 46 877 2871