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Helsinki - use case 3: Travel-time matrix

Specially Equipped Van

Description and goal

In use case 3 the main goal is to develop a tool for urban planners. This tool will serve:


  • to better take into account older peoples’ specific accessibility and mobility needs and restrictions (see below) when planning new urban development, when managing everyday processes in city government and administration, and during urban renewal;

  • to identify neighbourhoods in which older people are faced with lower or inadequate access to everyday services or to opportunities of participation, and to learn from neighbourhoods that fare better;

  • to provide quick access to city-wide operative figures on the state of accessibility and mobility for older people, and on equity between different groups of city-dwellers and neighbourhoods concerning accessibility and mobility.

To a lesser extent, the envisioned tool could also form the basis for a public tool to inform older people about the situation in their neighbourhood concerning a set of factors that restrict or enable their mobility and accessibility. Equally, the tool could potentially be used as an underlying data store for a routing tool that can help older people to find active mobility, public transport, and individual motorised transport routes that take into consideration the specific mobility needs and accessibility restrictions of older people. These two secondary goals will receive priority only after the primary goals (see above) have been met, and functionality targeted at urban planners and city officials has been implemented.

Involved persona’s

The target audience of the resulting data set and tool are primarily:


  • planners;

  • transport planners (for public transport, individual active mobility and individual motorised transport);

  • political decision makers;

  • an informed public, e.g., experts at NGOs or other advocacy organisations, interested citizens;

  • other researchers who want to produce a travel-time matrix for another city, or reproduce our results.


During the development, we will rely on the expertise and knowledge of:


  • technical professionals at the City of Helsinki and Forum Virium Helsinki (especially regarding the integration of the tools and results into the Helsinki CIM).

Expected outcomes


  • The travel-time matrix will inform city planners and other city government administrators of inequality and inequity concerning accessibility for older people and for other non-average citizens between different parts of the city. This can inform both their day-to-day work, and more strategic decision-making (see also policy-related outcomes)

  • It can also be used to create an age-friendly trip planner that takes into consideration any potential accessibility issues or limitations, although this is not a priority outcome of this use case.


Policy (evidence-based)

  • Helps urban and transport planners to evaluate differences in accessibility in different parts of the city and to different groups of people, with a special focus on the restrictions and specific requirements of older people. The travel time matrix can be used for both a quick evaluation, and for a comprehensive assessment of potential improvements to the accessibility situation of older people in specific neighbourhoods and in the city in general.

Communication/co-creation/co-design (storytelling, gamification) 

  • We will work closely with the city’s administration and their Council for older people to evaluate the routing algorithms and the outcomes of the travel-time matrix at a regular interval.

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