City bikes

In accordance with its strategy, the City of Helsinki strives to increase the total share of walking, bicycling and public transport of traffic by one percentage point each year. The City of Helsinki wants to increase the share of cycling in urban traffic by opening new city bike stations outside the inner city. Sweco was responsible for planning and coordinating the city bike system in Helsinki, and it was also involved in planning the extension.



City bikes in Helsinki




City of Helsinki


Together with the public transport system, the new city bikes in Helsinki will serve as an attractive alternative to private cars. Bicycle-sharing, which has cemented itself as an essential element of urban life, keeps gaining in popularity. The city bikes have won people’s hearts in Helsinki. They have received positive attention and – most importantly – people use them a lot. In the 2017 season, the bikes were used for almost 1.5 million trips. 

The city bikes are in shared use among the residents and visitors of Helsinki. In summer 2016, there were a total of 500 bikes and 50 stations. In spring 2018, the scope of the system will be tripled. In addition to the inner city, there are bike stations in areas such as Lauttasaari, Munkkiniemi, Pasila and Arabianranta, all the way to Vanhankaupunginlahti. New stations can be found in city centre areas such as Kallio, Töölö and Punavuori, which have seen the highest utilisation rates.

The system’s success is determined by both internal and external factors. Internal factors include the planning of stations and capacities, as well as technical features. External factors, on the other hand, involve the urban structure, terrain and bicycle culture. Cycling has not really been a popular means of transportation in Helsinki among the residents, due to the city’s poor bicycle lane network and lack of safe parking places. Now, the situation has changed.

The network is expanding year by year to meet residents’ needs

The planning of a bicycle network is always a challenge due to the limited space in urban areas and the relatively large footprint of the stations. Extending the city bike network has required an analysis, combining expertise in traffic with geospatial information. Sweco has leveraged its own expertise, geospatial data, local knowledge and international studies to find optimal locations for the stations.

The development process has been based on data on specific buildings and workplaces from the City of Helsinki as well as the results of the Kerro kantasi survey, in which city residents could express their own wishes concerning the locations of the city bike stations.

Bringing bicycles near users

The stations must be located near each other in order to make the system functional. The maximum distance between two stations is 600 metres, which means that wherever you are, the nearest station is always within 300 metres.

Public transportation hubs and the needs of users were important elements of the planning process. The purpose of the stations is to facilitate public transportation. There are stations near metro entrances and other public transportation hubs.

Sweco is closely involved in designing the bike stations and expansion of the project in cooperation with various city agencies and the city bike operator.

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Pictures: HSL/Lauri Eriksson


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