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Otaniemi’s Sustainable Mobility Action Plan supports Aalto University’s responsibility work

Aalto University involved the entire Otaniemi campus in the strategic development of sustainable mobility. The Action Plan on Sustainable Mobility includes a vision for the future, targets and concrete proposals for measures until 2030.

Aalto University is a forerunner in sustainable mobility and the Sustainable Mobility Action Plan for the Otaniemi campus area completed in summer 2023. At the same time, it is a sustainable mobility strategy that includes an action plan until 2030.

“The action plan provides direction and important initial information for future campus development projects,” says Petteri Nisula, Sweco’s sustainable mobility expert and project manager. The operational project team also included Sweco’s chief designer and experts in fauna and quality assurance. The client was represented by a steering group composed of Aalto University and its real estate company ACRE.

Protected cultural environment of strategic importance

In the strategic development of sustainable mobility, it was important to note that the measures support Aalto University’s sustainable mobility brand. Otaniemi is known as a pedestrian campus, and Nisula thinks that other starting points for promoting sustainable mobility are also excellent.

“Thanks to the West Metro and Jokeri Light Rail, Otaniemi is even easier to reach by public transport. Cycling routes are also being developed all the time.”

The action plan was drawn up as part of the university’s extensive sustainable development package, which includes both environmental responsibility and social and economic responsibility perspectives. “Sustainable mobility reduces carbon dioxide emissions and many other environmental hazards and encourages everyday physical activity, which has a major impact on people’s wellbeing.”

In planning the measures, it was kept in mind that Otaniemi is a nationally significant built cultural environment with many buildings protected by the Finnish Heritage Agency, such as Dipoli. In addition, biodiversity was noted in the design. “The area’s green network must not be disturbed by, for example, improving cycling connections,” Nisula emphasises.

The entire campus is involved in the development work

Aalto University’s vision is to build a sustainable future responsibly and together with the entire community. ‘That is why we wanted to engage the university’s staff, students and other stakeholders extensively in the development of sustainable mobility from the very beginning,’ Nisula says.

The action plan was implemented by means of co-creation. Important background information was obtained from the mobility habit survey and workshops, where concrete proposals for measures were mapped, for example, from different groups of people on the move. In addition, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (ACRE) conducted an interview survey to map students’ mobility habits.

The action plan defined a comfortable, stimulating and accessible pedestrian campus as the vision for sustainable mobility. According to Nisula, one of the most important goals is to increase the popularity of sustainable modes of transport. “It requires that the campus is easy to move around and easy to reach by a variety of public transport, walking and cycling.”

The action plan translates the objectives into concrete actions, the realisation of which is monitored with various indicators. The measures are divided according to different modes of transport and themes, such as pedestrian, car traffic, animal movement and community promotion.

“Concrete actions include improving the accessibility, guidance, maintenance and lighting of passageways,” Nisula lists. In terms of private cars, the best parking spaces will be reserved for shared cars and charging points for electric cars will be increased.

The measures emphasise a bold culture of experimentation. ‘Otaniemi is an excellent platform for various sustainable mobility pilots and innovations,’ Nisula says. We also want to continue to make participation in development activities as easy as possible for all parties.

Picture: Mikko Raskinen

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