Why Science Tram?
1. Provides a smoother option for cross traffic
The current Science Line 506 is slow and unreliable and has a winding route. The Science Tram provides a solution to all of these problems. First of all, the Science Tram is planned as a cost-efficient light rail system, which would mean that it accommodates up to 300 people. In other words, one light rail carriage could accommodate as many people as three buses or 200 cars. Compared to the underground or a train, light rail is also easier and much cheaper to construct. For instance, the 25-kilometre light rail line for Raide-Jokeri costs as much to construct as 4 kilometres of tracks for the Länsimetro.
As a mode of transport, light rail is smooth-running, pleasant and silent. Compared to buses and regular trams, light rail sticks to the schedule better, while the Science Tram’s route is also more straightforward than the current Science Line. Light rail produces less noise both to the environment and for its passengers, and it can be driven in placed where buses cannot go. Light rail is a safe and accessible mode of transport, and their low-floor carriages are easy to enter for everyone.
2. Saves time
The Science Tram travels fast and reliably even during rush hour because it mainly uses its own lanes and gets priority in traffic lights. The average speed of the Science Tram is 25 km/h, whereas a regular tram’s average speed is only around 15 km/h.
As things are, the passengers on Science Line 506 will save up to over 10 minutes between Otaniemi and Arabia with the arrival of the Science Tram. The Science Tram will also have a lower headway than the current Science Line 506. Moreover, passengers will change over to the Science Tram from other modes of transport, which will ease congestion in the street network.
3. Connects professionals
The Science Tram will connect ten higher education campuses, 100,000 jobs and 40% of the higher education students in the Capital Region. As cooperation between higher education institutions intensifies, the need for better connections will only grow. Additionally, better connections between concentrations of workplaces will increase opportunities for cooperation and innovations.
The Science Tram represents the future of mobile work. People will not only work in their workplace – our vision is that they could even set up their work station in a moving light rail carriage. To accommodate this, the Science Tram would be equipped with laptop charging stations, wireless Internet and a compartment for active work. In addition to this, the Science Tram provides a meeting place for professionals from different fields to test their ideas or even present their thesis.
4. Serves as many as 100,000 commuters
As many as 15% of the jobs in the Capital Region are located along the route of the Science Tram. Large concentrations of workplaces in the Science Tram’s sphere of influence include the Otaniemi business park, the Keilaniemi business area, the Meilahti hospital area, Pasila on both sides of the railroad and Vallila.
With the Science Tram, passengers can get, for example, from Arabia, Viikki and Myllypuro to Pasila and Meilahti almost 10 minutes faster than right now. This increases the attractiveness of the Science Tram in commuter traffic and frees up passengers’ time for either work or leisure. The reliability and speed of the Science Tram will attract a growing share of workers, which in turn will decrease congestion, emissions and noise.
The Science Tram will also bring services nearer. The services in Itäkeskus and Tapiola, and, in the future, the services in Pasila, can all be found along the same route. Additionally, the Science Tram will create good connections from all around the Capital Region to Meilahti, the largest concentration of hospital and health services in Finland.
5. It is the future
The current public transportation system will not be able to answer to the challenges posed by the growing population of Helsinki. Cross traffic is still entirely dependent on bus traffic, which does not serve people’s real transportation needs. For this reason, Helsinki’s new city plan emphasises a networked city structure, with several centres connected by an efficient rail system. The Science Tram is a prime example of this.
It is possible to build more apartments with good connections and services along the route of the Science Tram. Furthermore, the fast and reliable Science Tram will bring a lifestyle that does not depend on car-ownership available for a growing number of current residents, too. Light rail is a future mode of transport as well as one step closer to carbon-free Helsinki.
Sources (all in Finnish):
- Tiederatikan vaikutusalueen maankäytön kehittämisperiaatteet, (Principles of land use for the area affected by the Science Tram), Reports of the Helsinki City Planning Department’s Strategic Urban Planning Division 2013:8
- Website of the Raide-Jokeri, maintained by the City of Helsinki, the City of Espoo, the Ministry of Transport and Communications and HSL
- Pikaraitiotie – mikä se on, (Light rail – what is it), presentation by City of Espoo’s Planning Manager Davy Beilinson at the light rail evening on 4 Feb 2016