Lahti's Pilot City Activity: Systemic change towards sustainable commuting in Lahti


Credit: Tuomas Uusheimo

Description of activities

The city of Lahti wants to become carbon neutral by 2025. To achieve that, the pilot activities will focus on the most challenging emission sectors of the city: mobility and transport. The ongoing shift to alternative fuels, especially electrification, will not be enough to cut the mobility emissions. Therefore, a significant modal shift to public transport, walking and cycling is needed. Inner city traffic is strongly related to commuting by car.

Lahti proposes a co-creation process with local organisations and their employees where a shift to sustainable commuting will be studied and implemented. How? 1) mapping of the current state of play of Lahti’s commuting overview 2) pilot companies and employees to be studied 3) set of interventions will be tested in case study organisations and finally: new policies/recommendations will be drafted and tested on a developing business district.

The pilot will address the barriers of change. These can be cultural, institutional and structural aspects. Barriers identified in the past projects and surveys include behavioural habits of preference of private vehicles, insufficient public transport, lack of bike and pedestrian routes, lack of facilities at workplaces to support cycling to work, lack of unsuitable market and contract options for employers to provide employee bikes, and finally the lack of holistic understanding on mobility preferences.


To innovate solutions in the shift towards sustainable commuting, in a co-creation process with local organisations and their employees.

Are the pilot activities building upon or part of a previous and/or existing activity?

The city of Lahti has politically approved the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). The focus of the SUMP has been in supporting walking and biking especially by improving the walking and cycling infrastructure, establishing a city bike system, and developing the public transport. Sustainable commuting has not been in the focus of SUMP yet, but the local health care authority has had a pilot project on sustainable commuting where barriers were identified and nudging activities tested. 

Which emissions domains will the pilot activities address?

  • All vehicles and transport (mobile energy) 

  • Land use (including agriculture, forestry, and other land uses)  

Systemic transformation – levers of change the pilot activities will exploit

  • Technology/infrastructure 

  • Governance and policy 

  • Social innovation 

  • Democracy/participation 

  • Finance & funding 

  • Learning and capabilities

Stakeholder types that the city would like to engage in the pilot activities 

  • Academia  

  • Research institutions 

  • Citizens

  • Public/private partnerships

  • Business

  • Local NGO, associations

Transferable features of the pilot activities to a Twin City/ies 

The pilot activities have a high chance of being replicated thanks to information and real-life results on how this can be done in practice, including information on advantages and disadvantages of different options to increase carbon neutral mobility.

To enhance the assessment and replication of the city’s best practices identified in its pilot city project, Lahti will provide an exact methodology and impact assessment of all the piloted interventions.

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

Components of the transferable features 

  • A model for co-designing sustainable commuting together with local companies/employers and research institutions;  
  • A toolbox for sustainable commuting: what activities can city overtake; 
  • How can companies nudge sustainable commuting 

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.

What does the city want to learn from Twin City/ies?

Lahti wants to learn from: 

  • Cities that have been able to create a modal shift from private driving to sustainable mobility  
  • Cities that have successfully worked with the companies (as employers) to create a systemic change in mobility or some other sector.  

In more detail Lahti would like to learn about: 

  • Co-creation processes with city and local companies for supporting sustainable commuting in urban planning;  
  • Good examples on how cities and companies can nudge sustainable commuting;  
  • Good examples of suitable market and contract options for employers for nudging (e.g. employee bikes, public transport tickets). 

This answer is not exhaustive and simply an indicative one.