Work package 1: Possibilities and Solutions of Smart Urban Ferries

Task 1.2. Concepts and Services of Smart Urban Waterway Traffic

The vision and a scale model of a smart city ferry in Aura River and Turku archipelago

Smart city ferry in the downstream part of River Aura. Picture Jaana Pitkänen and Henna Sandell.

As part of the Smart City Ferries project, design students together with engineer students from the Turku University of Applied Sciences are building a functional scale model of a smart city ferry that could sail in the future downstream of the Aura River and possibly in the Turku archipelago. At the beginning of the Project the frames for the model were agreed (the main dimensions and scale 1:10), after which the design team started working with creating user personas. On the basis of these, various user view points and need could be studied.

Different user personas on board the smart city ferry. Picture Henna Sandell.

The second step was to design a variety of concept models through which usability and appearance alternatives could be presented. The library bridge over the Aura River and the Harmonia Sculpture down the Aura River for example gave inspiration for the appearance of the ferry.

Harmonia Sculpture. Picture Henna Sandell. 

Library Bridge. Picture Jaana Pitkänen.

Lightweight and durable roofing material (ETFE) can be coupled with intelligent LED lighting that creates both security and ambience as well as visibility. The final concept is one possibility of a new and exciting urban "Smart Föri".

The concept design was created by the 2nd year's design students Nicola Mäkilä, Zurisadai Hands, Niina Salmi and Veera Ketonen.

User Scenario Films, 1st year Design students in Turku University of Applied Sciences

Assignment to the design students in User Centered Design course:

1. Form into groups of 4-5 students. Create a persona for each, someone not yourself:

  • name
  • age
  • gender
  • other features that characterizes the persona, like for example the family background, current life situation, interests, possible special needs etc.

2. Create a manuscript of a situation in the automated ferry by using your personas in teams. Remember to take different possible circumstances in the surroundings into account!

3. Act and film the script in the freely chosen surrounding in or out, and cut the film into short film (1-5 min) by your current skills.

An example film, A Trip on the water (in finnish only): 

Poijju –floating recreational platform

Poijju answers to the need for recreational services for the urban people and provides floating mobile platform that can be used for example as a Sauna, lodge or kiosk. Design gets its inspiration from buoy (poiju in Finnish), which floats freely in sympathetic angle, whereas materials are chosen to blend Poijju into surrounding Finnish environment. Poijju is designed to be sustainable, relatively service free and autonomous and features approx. 10m2 spaces for accommodate 10 persons. Concept is developed by Liina Pölönen and Mikko Hakulinen in Aalto University.

For further information contact:



Visualization of the Poijju concept (Pölönen & Hakulinen, 2017).

Layout of the Poijju concept (Pölönen & Hakulinen, 2017).

Example on intelligent booking and social community service for the Poijju (Pölönen & Hakulinen, 2017).

Intelligent mobile service for enhancing the archipelago accessibility

Concepts for facilitating the accessibility of the archipelago for recreational purposes were created in Aalto University. Aim of the research approach was to clarify the challenges of accessing archipelago from users, cities and service providers’ perspective. Lack of information, invisibility and incoherence of the provided services was discovered to be the bottleneck of extensive recreational use of approx. 500 islands of Helsinki and Espoo.

As a solution best practices for accessing to the archipelago and planning the travel was approached through participatory design process, which enhances the engagement of the different stakeholders in the concepting process. In order to deliver well functioning intelligent solutions for the mobility of the smart cities possibilities and implications of information and communications technology was examined. Research findings are demonstrated through a mobile service concept that gathers 25 waterborne transit operators and their services under one consistent online platform. Concept enhances the accessibility and usability of the archipelago as a recreational service for the citizens and tourists. It is shown that although technology and practices can be applied to different regions of the world the service content needs to be locally tailored. 

For further information contact:

Stakeholder map of the parties involved in the archipelago traveling in the Finnish Capital Region (Kruskopf, 2017).

Service blueprint of the intelligent archipelago traveling in the Finnish Capital Region (Kruskopf, 2017).

Example of the mobile service providing information about islands, services, transportation timetables and enables the ticket purchasing (Kruskopf, 2017).

Autonomous ferry concept for short distance transitions (Kruskopf, 2017).

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