The Smart Transport Corridor between Helsinki and St. Petersburg will bring new services for passengers, car drivers and public transport. Development of the VEDIA Multi-Service concept, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Vediafi Ltd, brings together newly opened mobile services that will result in smoother passenger traffic across the Finnish–Russian border. The services will also enhance passenger experience and traffic safety.
The VEDIA Multi-Service is a key element of the Finnish–Russian intelligent transport spearhead project, the Helsinki–St. Petersburg Smart Transport Corridor (STC). The project will create new intelligent transport services for passenger traffic crossing the Finnish–Russian border, in a collaboration involving authorities, research institutes and enterprises.
The services opened in the first phase will be available to road and railway transport users, but will later also cover travel chains using other forms of transport.
First to be introduced will be automatic services for road weather and driving conditions, an automatic system issuing bulletins and warnings on traffic disruption, a real-time traffic and congestion information service, and a public transport information service.
For those travelling by train, the VEDIA services will become available in the fast Allegro trains travelling between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. The services will be implemented on the Finnish National Railway Company VR Group Ltd on-board wireless internet, and are available to all train passengers via smart phones and mobile devices. VEDIA train services provide passengers with additional information on journey progress, train station bulletins, news headlines, weather information, and connecting traffic data at the destination. The VEDIA services will be produced on board the train, and are therefore unaffected by poor reception, particularly in the border zone. Key problems for border crossers have been identified, including roaming charges and reliability of operation, poor accessibility of weather and driving condition information throughout the journey, and poor usability and availability of services in various languages. These issues arose in the survey conducted among border crossers, particularly Russians, by Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences.
In the VEDIA Multi-Service, the problems associated with roaming will be reduced by making the internet connection and VEDIA services available free of charge on board Allegro trains and at the Vaalimaa border crossing station. The Russian Yandex-Money payment solution will enable unlimited data use with the Finnish teleoperator DNA Ltd’s prepaid subscription SIM cards on VEDIA’s SIM card (Subscriber Indentity Module) top-up service. There are also plans for developing a similar service for those travelling to Russia.
The solution to be piloted in the project is based on open data exchange in which cooperation is being built between the authorities and enterprises in both countries. This will allow traffic and road condition information to be made available to consumers, for example, via Rajaliikenne.fi, which is the information service for road users, and VEDIA applications. Other additions to the VEDIA Multi-Service will include an online translation service and public transport information that will introduce connecting traffic as part of the application. In addition to this, VEDIA’s mobile SMS payment system can be used, for example, to pay for single tickets in rail traffic within Helsinki. A service consortium, FOR VEDIA, has been established to implement the services, including about a dozen companies both in Finland and Russia. The implementing consortium will be managed by Vediafi Ltd. New services will also be introduced at the ITS European Congress, to be held in Helsinki in June.
The multi-service platform functions in all mobile devices
“Our VEDIA Multi-Service is based on a device-independent HTML5-based user interface that functions in all mobile devices. The VEDIA Multi-Service incorporates our consortium’s long experience of various service trials and development of cooperation with Russia, in collaboration with VTT in particular, which will create excellent conditions for a growing service provision in Finland and on the export market,” says Lauri Lankinen, CEO of Vediafi Ltd.
“It is important that services are being developed in collaboration with the public sector, enterprises and research institutes. This will guarantee a comprehensive range of services for those on the move, and also ensure their compatibility and continuity and the development of new innovative services in the future,” says Karri Rantasila, Key Account Manager from VTT.
The project will be implemented in cooperation between public and private organisations in Finland and Russia. In Finland, the responsible party is the Ministry of Transport and Communications. Other parties also closely involved in service implementation include the Finnish Transport Agency and the Finnish Transport Safety Agency Trafi.
The VEDIA Multi-Service is available here.