Location of services affects modal choice

The best way to shorten or reduce everyday travel is to locate
local services such as schools, day cares and health centers close
to housing. According to a study conducted by HSL, the
socio-economic cost of mobility and transport increased from one
euro to three euro per visit when the number of service locations
was reduced. In terms of mobility, a reasonably dense local service
network is one in which one service point serves an area of 5-10
square kilometers.


Local services should preferably be located at a walking or
biking distance from housing. If the service network is sparser, it
is important that services are located in public transport hubs and
district centers so that it is possible to encourage people to
sustainable mobility, use of public transport, walking and
cycling. A good idea is to locate public services close to other
services such as shopping centers because it enables people to take
care of several matters at one go. For example, according to a
study conducted by HSL, about one third of maternity clinic and
physiotherapy customers do their shopping when visiting a maternity
clinic or physiotherapist.


When planning changes to the service network, the current
transport network services and in particular, public transport
services, and their development plans must be taken into account.
On the other hand, public transport planning must take into account
service network and plans concerning them. According to HSL’s
recent study “JULKI – The Impacts of Local Public Services Network
on Sustainable Mobility”, the location of services has a
significant impact on the number and length of journeys made as
some half of all journeys are service-related. The most common
journey purposes (about 40% of service-related journeys) are
shopping and accessing public services. 


The JULKI study assessed the impacts of changes to the
service network on sustainable mobility. The cases studied included
the development of maternity clinic network in Espoo and school
network in Sipoo as well as the closing of Meripihka physiotherapy
clinic in Helsinki. The study was a follow up to the Helsinki
Region Transport System Plan (HLJ 2011) and part of a mobility
management program financed by the Finnish Transport Agency and the
Ministry of Transport and Communications. The results of the study
will be utilized in the planning of municipal service networks as
well as in the preparation of the next Helsinki Region Transport
System Plan (HLJ 2015).