Finnish startup Tuup wants to make car ownership less appealing with an all-in-one smartphone app for mobility services. The service was recently piloted in Helsinki with encouraging results.
Helsinki-based startup Tuup is not building your typical transport route planner, but a Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) solution that offers all possible mobility services through a single mobile app. In addition to public transportation, it includes everything from booking taxis and city bikes to arranging deliveries and car and ride sharing services.
But to be successful these services need users, notably car and ride sharing. Consequently, Tuup spent the first half of 2016 testing how its mobile app (also called ‘Tuup’) could make these services a more convenient part of urban lifestyles.
“People want to use these kinds of services more, but find it difficult,” says Tuup CXO Johanna Taskinen who founded the company in early 2015. “Which is why we try to get rid of the need for thousands of different mobile apps. [Having everything in one] will make it easier to use the services and make people more aware of what is available.”
To combat this, Tuup’s pilot project involved twenty residents from Helsinki’s new smart living district Kalasatama who used the mobile app to plan their travel and share their views on different mobility options. Among the services showcased in the app was the option to use two electric vehicles shared by the residents. Taskinen notes that before the option was specifically highlighted in the app, not many people had discovered it.
One app to rule them all
While the pilot project has ended, Tuup’s development is ongoing. The beta version of the app was launched across Finland in April offering route, schedule and pricing data. Users can also order a taxi or buy tickets for the suggested transport options through the app.
The next step for Tuup and its team of six is to integrate even more mobility options into the app. During the Kalasatama pilot the car-sharing rental and delivery services from City Car Club, EcoRent, Shareit Blox Car and PiggyBaggy were showcased on the app and soon users are also able use the app to book and pay for these services.
However, where Tuup particularly wants to stand out is personalized transport modelling. In the future the app will check your calendar to suggest the best travel options for specific events during the day and automatically adapts the plan if you are running late or the weather is bad. It also learns your transportation preferences and takes this into account with its suggestions.
“We want to optimize people’s days in the best possible way and solve their travel challenges,” explains Taskinen. “There are plenty of smart route planners, but few with this kind of expertise.”
This also offers benefits for business travel. Tuup wants to reduce companies’ car usage by making alternative mobility services an easy and cost-efficient option. According to the startup, Tuup can help companies save up to a third of their travel-related expenses annually by optimizing travel time, reducing the need for parking spaces and automatically creating expense reports.
Prior to Tuup, Taskinen researched mobility for years and worked with various companies to solve their mobility-related challenges. She believes Finland has a good chance to be at the forefront of creating smart mobility services and points out that even the term ‘MaaS’ was originally coined in the Nordic country. But the time for action is now.
“It is important to act fast and open up and improve the public transport data so we can really develop mobility services that meet the user’s needs,” Taskinen says. “Otherwise there’s a risk that these services are developed somewhere else and we end up taking the role of a customer. Finland cannot afford to miss this opportunity.”
The good news is Tuup is already in the fast lane.
Read more about Tuup from www.tuup.fi
TEXT: Eeva Haaramo