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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars 276

New submitter NBSCALIDBA writes: Eeva Haaramo reports on Helsinki's ambitious plan to transform city transportation. From on-demand buses to city bikes to Kutsuplus mini-transport vans, the Finnish capital is trying to change the whole concept of getting around in a city. "Under the plan, all these services will be accessed through a single online platform. People will be able to buy their transport in service packages that work like mobile phone tariffs: either as a complete monthly deal or pay as you go options based on individual usage. Any number of companies can use the platform to offer transport packages, and if users find their travel needs change, they'll be able to switch packages or moved to a rival with a better deal."
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Helsinki Aims To Obviate Private Cars

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  • Not a single link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by visionsofmcskill ( 556169 ) <.vision. .at.> on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @02:15PM (#47713957) Homepage Journal

    No links, Really? in many years of reading his site daily i'm not sure i recall when a story was posted without a single f*cking link to the source material or supporting info.

    Perhaps this thing is entirely made up... i think ill start submitting stories now - or is this a Beta story?

    Come on guys!!

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @02:24PM (#47714053)

    To me the plan sounds like you end up with every car you use giving you the reliability of a rental, with the "oops no cars are available now" factor of services like ZipCar...

    But perhaps in a more isolated culture where people do not abuse things they do not own, the cars will be treated well and availability will work out well.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @02:27PM (#47714067)

    count me out... this sort of stuff just makes me want to live on a remote tropical island and spend my days fishing.

    Do you also insist on owning your own elevator? If socialized vertical transportation is acceptable, then why is horizontal transportation so different?

  • by Amtrak ( 2430376 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @02:41PM (#47714185)
    There are times where a personal elevator might be nice to have. Like if I had a really tall house. But I think you are thinking to small. Elevators are the trains of vertical transportation. The helicopter is the car. I would love to own a helicopter if they were practical/affordable/not noise polling gas guzzling monsters. WHERE IS MY FLYING CAR?!!!!!
  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @02:42PM (#47714201)

    I question whether that is a real thing. If you consider our history, we didn't live in anything like this density. What is more, instinctually we have no bond with practically anyone in the city. They're just faces. They mean nothing to you. You don't know who they are and they have no lasting impact on your life. Any one of those faces could die tomorrow and you wouldn't even notice.

    So tell me again about this herding instinct because it frankly sounds like bullshit.

  • by AcidPenguin9873 ( 911493 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @03:06PM (#47714437)
    Many times, the economics of "fun" things that people enjoy only work out if there are enough people in a small geographic area. You can't have a football team without enough people to fill a stadium every week, and you don't get that many people without them living in a large-ish city where that football team plays. Any one person going to a football game certainly knows almost none of the other people going, but they're necessary to make the game happen at all. Same for music. Bands aren't going to play a show out in the sticks where they can't fill a medium-size venue. These cultural things are what draw people to live in a city instead of in the sticks, even if their job could be done from anywhere. Ditto for art galleries, parks, recreational sports leagues. Even though one of those faces could die tomorrow and you wouldn't notice, if most of them died, you certainly would because you wouldn't have enough people to do those things.
  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @03:08PM (#47714467) Homepage

    Mostly because they don't smell like other people, or what they ate/drank last night.

    You should avoid projecting your own, presumably American public transportation situation on to the rest of the world. Public transportation in Finland is not particularly smelly. Leaving Chicago, where the trains inevitably smell like urine, for Helsinki, I was amazed at how clean the buses, trams and metro are. Finns are big public drinkers, and on a Friday or Saturday night the public transportation is full of drunks, but everything remains remarkably orderly and tidy. That's pretty much true for the whole continent. In Romania, where I now live, things might be a bit run-down because we use second-hand vehicles bought from Western Europe, but they don't smell.

    If in the US public vehicles tend to quickly succumb to vandalism, bodily fluids and the smell of people who don't bathe, that's less a reason to disparage the concept of public transportation than to wonder WTF is wrong with US society.

  • by fightermagethief ( 3645291 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @03:11PM (#47714491)

    What you say sounds reasonable, but I think it just depends on how you look at it. On the way into California, going through remote areas of Texas and New Mexico felt like hell on earth where running out of gas and losing your phone could mean death. I have always felt disgusted with any place where I was forced to own a car just to get to a grocery store. I don't necessarily talk to a large portion of the people around me, but it is nice to see signs of life. If you are comfortable, then that lush, verdant grove is going to be quite peaceful, but if you need a physical bank location, then it might piss you off how spread out everything is. People say it is more expensive to live in a big city, but at the bottom of the economic scale, it is much cheaper. Even crime has a population based trade-off, where in extremely populous/busy areas, crime is scarce because there is always someone around to call the cops. Crime is the worst in poor, urban neighborhoods where no one walks around. I don't see how anyone could prefer to live in rural areas, except perhaps the enthusiast.

  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <> on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @03:22PM (#47714599) Journal

    Back before the days of public sewage, I would understand living the country. Before laws against air pollution, city air was shit. I don't understand why people would ever want to be so distant from one another -- we've a social species. We don't need distant farms at this point.

    I love that there's music at night, made live by humans -- and sometimes I even get to dance with the people making it! How in the world are you supposed to find an orchestra to play with in BFE (I play clarinet -- not exactly a great solo instrument)? If you like gardening, there's community gardens all over that I don't need to tend every single day.

    Cities are also easier on the environment. By centralizing transportation, waste management, and education, you achieve savings just from the economies of scale. Cities subsidize the rest of the country as it's literally not efficient to have roads/phonelines/internet/etc to nowhere -- destroying the environment in the process. As far as crime, I like having a decent police force so I don't have to own a shotgun.

    Issues with racists, idiots, homophobes, and the chain score hellscape that litters small town America -- I have no idea why anyone could ever love such a thing except out of ignorance.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday August 20, 2014 @04:20PM (#47715157)

    You know what should be illegal? Forcing others to live the way you expect.

  • "A modern example would be Santa Fe New Mexico."

    Which is a city, last time I checked. So you argument is: City life isn't all that, look at all this cool stuff you can do in the city.

    How much night life is there in Chama, NM? Silver City?

  • the EBT cards

    That's not exclusively a city thing. Rural poverty in the US is extremely high. Much of my extended family back in the middle of nowhere Alabama has been on food stamps. Your welcome to go up to one of said relatives and tell them that thanks to being country-dwellers, they can eat the best steak around, I'm sure they'd love to hear about their supposed wealth of options when they can hardly buy enough food (crap food, the same as any metropolitan area in the US) to feed their families.

    If someone starts doing that in a small town... very quickly everyone will simply know who you are and what you do. It doesn't work. The sort of criminal you get in small towns tends to be drifters... traveling criminals.

    Besides the aforementioned backwater that marks the southernmost extent of Appalachia, I have extensively travelled in rural areas across Europe, Africa and Asia. Crime is a concern in many places -- you might not get mugged, but you can get burgled, or your telephone might stop working because someone cut down the copper lines so they could sell the copper inside. And it often can't be blamed on a drifter, but instead it's a member of the community that everyone knows. Many travellers can tell you of having e.g. a camera or notebook stolen in a village, and when the theft is reported, a group of the villagers simply walks you by the houses of the usual suspects to get your stuff back, because they know these people regularly steal.

    You would be surprised how far meth addiction has spread in rural areas globally, from the Caucasus to Madagascar, and alcoholism has often been prevalent in some countries, and all that leads to much of the same crime anywhere.

    Those same people would probably be a lot happier in small towns where they could at least feel like they are a part of a community rather then just a number in a machine.

    As I've mentioned elsewhere here, it's important to look at the motivations of the population in question and not be so presumptuous as to speak for them. In the Finnish context, young people overwhelmingly want to move to the cities. You can talk all you want about citydwellers being just "a number in a machine", but they won't have any of it. I daresay the same applies for many places in the US. Everyone is not you.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb