Road traffic in Helsinki

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What is the amount of road traffic in Helsinki, measured as car-kilometres, passenger-kilometres, bus-kilometres etc., and also as fuel/energy consumption?


  • Model run 17.12.2018 [1]

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Cars in Helsinki metropolitan area(#)
ObsMunicipalityYeargasoline cargasoline hybridhybrid with gasolinediesel cardiesel hybridhybrid with dieselelectric cargasoline CNG cargasoline ethanol carother car
  • Data to the table comes from Helsinki Environmental statistics.
  • Gasoline/diesel hybrid means a car that mainly uses fossil fuel but can get extra boost and energy efficiency from small batteries and electric motor.
  • Hybrid with gasoline/diesel is a rechargeable hybrid that can run on batteries for 50 km or more, making gasoline/diesel a supplemental fuel.
  • Gasoline CNG/ethanol cars can use compressed natural gas or ethanol as alternative fuels.



Push to HNH2035

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Number of cars

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Measured consumption and mileage

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Estimated mileage

carkm is about kilometres driven by private cars (categorised in several subtypes). vehkm is about kilometres driven by all other road vehicles. roadkm is a combination of the two.

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Impact of MaaS on private car need

This is a simple simulation about the private car fleet in Helsinki, and the impact of mobility as a service (MaaS) on the need of number of cars. The following assumptions are used. They are just round numbers and possibly guesstimates but they are not too far from the situation in Helsinki. We assume that all car driving and car need happens within the city. This is of course unrealistic but actually the results are not sensitive to this.

  • Number private cars: 250000
  • Kilometres driven per car in the beginning of the follow-up period: 15000 km/a
  • Total mileage of a car (the car is kept in driving condition until then, and then wrecked): 250000 km
  • Total travel need (stays constant in time): 3750000000 km (#cars * kilometres driven)
  • Follow-up time: 50 a
  • Rate at which MaaS reduces the need to drive car: 0, 2, 4, or 8 %/a

Results can be found from here. The graph shows (from top left) total kilometres driven by car (Carkm), number of cars in the fleet (Cars), total kilometres travelled with MaaS rather than cars (MaaSkm), the total number of cars needed to make sure that there are cars available for the current driving need for the next 20 years (Need), and finally number of new cars bought to fulfill the need (New cars).

With zero MaaS rate nothing happens, as expected. But already at 2 % rate, dramatic things start to happen. The car kilometres driven decrease slowly as MaaS km increase. However, the decreased need of cars results in a sudden drop of almost 50 % of new car sales within less than ten years. This is because the existing car fleet lasts longer when the car kilometres decrease. Car industry never recovers from this change, and the production keeps decreasing until the end of the follow-up period, where 100000 cars (40 % of the original amount) is enough for all drivers.

Exactly the same thing happens (but more dramatically) if MaaS increases at a higher rate of 4 %/year. The new car sales drop within five years by 80 %, and the fraction of MaaS increases to 80 % in 50 years. This is not an unrealistic scenario, and the modal shift may easily be quicker.

As expected, if the MaaS increase rate is 8 %/a, the drop is even stronger. This leads to a complete end of new car sales in three years. Interestingly, the number of existing cars reduces slower than with 4 % rate. The reason is that the total mileage of cars is postponed into the distant future: even after 50 years since car shops closed, there are more than 100000 cars stored in garages, waiting to be needed. The situation is much like in Cuba, where the U.S. sanctions practically stopped the new car sales in the 1960's and the car fleet became stuck to that era.

A friendly advice: don't invest your money in car industry or a car that you think you could sell some day.

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See also