The Automation of Paratransit Demand Response Transportation – A Case Study from Helsinki, Finland

This paper describes how the City of Helsinki, Finland has implemented a ground breaking paratransit demand response system that is using the latest scheduling and routing technology. The paper provides an overview of how the program has developed and how Helsinki has used automation to schedule the paratransit service’s of up to 2000 trips per day without the need of dedicated dispatchers or dedicated schedulers. The City of Helsinki granted a broker contract to TDC Song in June 2005. The service started on January 1, 2006. The service in Helsinki is available for paratransit customers 24/7/365. Reservations and trips for customers are available every minute of the year. The Ecolane Demand Response Transportation (DRT) browser-based scheduling system was selected to provide reservations, dispatching and scheduling for the paratransit system. The City of Helsinki searched for technology that automated many of the features observed in a traditional transportation system. The trips on the system are scheduled in real time. The previous contractor was a transportation company who used an in-house developed scheduling system. The previous company also provided all transportation in the Helsinki area. The previous scheduling system was developed by a private company whose main business was writing windows software for the water and water maintenance supply industries. Overflow trips were sent to Helsinki Taxi Data (always single trip routes). The call center was located outside of the City of Helsinki. The previous system had many issues with the quality of service provided. Complaints regarding the service under the previous contractor were numerous. The primary service goals of the City of Helsinki were to improve service On Time Performance and to improve service for the customers of the City of Helsinki Paratransit System. Transition of the existing service and scheduling system from the previous company occurred at midnight December 31st, 2005 (when the service contract ended). The changeover occurred without any kind of pilot or testing to determine areas that may have needed improvement.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures; Maps;
  • Pagination: 7p
  • Monograph Title: Bus and Paratransit Conference and International Bus Roadeo, 2007

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01051460
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 1931594252
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 13 2007 12:11PM