Sohjoa - Baltic Sea Region transitioning into eco-friendly autonomous last mile public transportation

October 2017 -
September 2020

3. Transport 3.5 Urban mobility

Sohjoa Baltic

Public transport is not as flexible and accessible as private cars are in the Baltic Sea region. The project works towards increasing the attractiveness of public transport by improving offered services and introducing automated driverless electric minibuses, especially for the first and last mile of the journey. It proposes recommendations for environmentally friendly and smart automated public transport and guidelines on the organisational set-up.


Automated buses to add mobility to public transport

People commute to work and school, use services or recreational sites out of the reach of their homes. Depending on the available options and personal preferences and possibilities, some people walk or cycle, others take a bus, tram, train or a private car. Various mobility choices determine people’s daily routines and affect their well-being, traffic emissions as well as contribute to the climate change. Sohjoa Baltic helps people consider their daily choices by bringing more options to the public transport, offering a driverless bus as one of them.

Six pilots

Sohjoa Baltic brings autonomous small buses to drive demo routes in six Baltic Sea region cities. While driving, an autonomous bus scans its surroundings in order to slow down or stop completely if there is an obstacle on its way. However, during the pilots there is always an operator onboard, just like there used to be one inside a lift when they were introduced.


Within Sohjoa Baltic, partners from eight Baltic Sea countries offer a transition into eco-friendly autonomous public transport and invite everybody to get familiar with the next century technology: Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Forum Virium Helsinki, Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi, Helsinki Region Transport Authority HSL, FLOU Solutions Ltd (FI), Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn Transport Department (EE), Chalmers University of Technology (SE), Zemgale Planning Region (LV), Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility (DE), The City of Gdansk (PL), The Municipality of Kongsberg (NO), The Municipality of Vejle (DK).

Highlights by mid-term:

The project has gathered legal information on the integration of autonomous driving into the public transport system. The publication, created in collaboration with transportation authorities and lawyers from Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Latvia and Estonia, “Transnational Legal Implementation Roadmap for autonomous vehicles”, identified the main implementation requirements that must be fulfilled before automated vehicles can operate on public roads.

The pilots for introducing autonomous, electric shuttle bus to the streets took place in three cities, Kongsberg (Norway), Helsinki (Finland) and Gdansk (Poland). After the Kongsberg pilot, the city integrated robot bus into their public transport. The Helsinki pilot covering the distance from the terminus to the metro station, served nearly 3,000 passengers in three months and was the longest (2,2km) robot bus route in Finland. The Gdansk pilot was the first one in Poland and it served 3,000 passengers in five weeks. The pilots were free of charge for all the passengers.

Follow-up activities

The Sohjoa Baltic project continues as Sohjoa Last mile.



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Project manager

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Azat Kuitunen

+358 40 637 7357

Legal representative

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Anna-Maria Vilkuna

+358 403 347 929

Financial manager

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences

Ulla-Maija Pekkola

+358 50 534 1217

Communication manager

Metropolia University of Applied Science

Milla Åman Kyyrö

+358 503 420 341