Science workshops on novel and open data sources and approaches to study urban accessibility and mobility (2017-2019)


Novel and open data sources (e.g. mobile phone call detail records, social media content, public transport timetables) can open valuable new possibilities to study and understand complex patterns of urban accessibility and mobility. There are also increasingly methods and approaches available to deal with this type of big datasets but at the same time, the methodological development is faster than any research group can alone keep up with.

Focus of this project is to arrange a series of science workshops relating to the topics of urban mobility and accessibility. In these workshops we aim to increase our understanding about the potential of novel data sources for mobility/accessibility research.

NECTAR 2019 conference

The culmination of this project was the 15th biennial NECTAR conference, which was held in 5-7.6.2019 in Helsinki. The conference was organized by Digital Geography Lab and the University of Helsinki together with the Aalto University, Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science (HELSUS), Urbaria, and the City of Helsinki. NECTAR 2019 brought together researchers in the field of transport, communication and mobility from all European Countries and the rest of the world.

The conference titled as "Towards Human Scale Cities - Open and Happy" focused on urban transportation and new possibilities that open data and digital technologies provide for mobility solutions. The three days offered interesting presentations and discussions on how to make cities more sustainable and more pleasant for citizens. Presentations also focused on novel ways to analyze transportation and mobility with increased focus to people and openness.

Read more from the conference website.

Objectives of the project

The workshop series and NECTAR 2019 supports three interlinking objectives:

  • 1) To establish a national hub for the accessibility and mobility research, which brings together researchers and planners dealing with these topics.
  • 2) To strengthen international networks to top researchers in the field in order to lay a foundation for international comparisons and to increase knowledge and understanding of the most recent methods and data sources.
  • 3) To create practices for novel and more open ways of scientific working, where actors can jointly identify significant research questions and aim to answer these questions collaboratively.

The project is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and strongly links to our other accessibility and mobility related projects.