City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division: innovatively procured, intelligent situation awareness service for city transport


City of Helsinki

Object of procurement

The procurement of a pilot project for the analysis of data that serves the creation of transport situation awareness information, based on data produced by traffic cameras.

Impact of procurement

Through three parallel pilot projects, the City of Helsinki gained valuable information about and insight into the suitability of alternative implementation models and camera technologies for collecting data concerning city transport situation awareness from traffic cameras. The results have been used in the further planning of situation awareness solutions and the related investments. 

Background information

The procurement was based on the City of Helsinki’s strategy for intelligent transport, which specifies the creation of real-time situation awareness in city transport as a development need.

Goal of procurement

The purpose of the procurement was to determine, based on practical pilot projects, what kind of data can be generated and analysed by means of traffic cameras. Before the City of Helsinki decided on investments in adopting new technologies, it was deemed reasonable to carry out parallel pilot projects in cooperation with several companies to compare alternative implementation models. The pilot projects were implemented through public procurement, which enabled the city administration to steer their implementation and gain access to the data concerning the results.

Parties involved in the procurement (client side)

City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division, Procurement Centre, Business Finland (funding for public procurement), procurement consultants


Market dialogue

The project involved extensive market dialogue, including an open public seminar for suppliers and an opportunity for one-to-one discussions with representatives of the City of Helsinki. As a result of the market dialogue, invaluable information was gained about the capability of the markets to respond to the need determined by the city administration. Based on the information collected through the market dialogue, the procurement of pilot projects through an open procedure was selected as the procurement model.

Comparison criteria

The procurement was carried out as a fixed-rate competitive bidding process, where the suppliers were scored based solely on quality criteria. These included qualitative scores based on the functional and technical requirements (30%), qualitative scores based on innovative additional features presented by the tenderer (30%), the quality of the project plan (20%) and the competence of the suggested employees (20%). As the agreement only included piloting and not the production use of the solution, they focused on the tenderers’ ability to carry out the piloting as a development project and report its results.  

The progress and monitoring of the pilot projects required close cooperation with the suppliers. In their bids, the suppliers of the pilot projects had presented a project plan, which also included the client’s work input. In other words, cooperation between the client and the supplier was systematic. The client’s work input was mostly related to submitting material, participating in steering groups and commenting on documents related to the pilot projects.


The procurement was successful: the client gained highly valuable information through practical pilot projects. The pilots were implemented by means of parallel alternative solutions provided by three companies, which resulted in comparable information about the strengths and weaknesses of the methods.

Possible further measures 

The City of Helsinki has used the results in the planning of intelligent transport and the further development of situation awareness solutions. The piloted solutions have not been adopted as such, and the related procurements have not been implemented.

Lessons learned

The Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts requires the equitable and non-discriminatory treatment of tenderers. In the selected procurement model, this was achieved as follows:

  • Open market dialogue during the preparation of the procurement (including a public request for information, an open seminar for suppliers and one-to-one discussions).
  • An open invitation to tender on Hilma, a portal for public procurement announcements.
  • Three parallel pilot projects on alternative video analytics methods in cooperation with three consortia of companies.
  • Each pilot project generates a public report that the client is free to use.
  • The final reports of the pilot projects include information about functionalities, performance capabilities and quality factors for future use by the client in determining an invitation to tender for any solutions to be procured for production use. These factors make it possible to implement the competitive bidding process in a technology-independent and supplier-independent manner in the deployment phase.

The factors were also used to ensure equitability and non-discrimination in the implemented procurement of the pilot projects, as well as in the procurement of any solutions for production use in the future.

Resourceful procurement

The procurement model used for the pilot projects can also be applied to other similar situations.