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Port of Helsinki: Easy parking for smoother travel flow

West Terminal is Finland’s busiest passenger harbor and a major roro cargo port. Its long-term parking spaces are located in the new multistory parking facility Satamaparkkitalo. Together with the Port of Helsinki, we co-created a service for online parking reservation, making the start of passengers’ journeys more convenient and easier to schedule. Concurrently, we designed the Satamaparkki brand, now trusted by travelers from near and far.

The challenge

The Satamaparkkitalo car park is designed to serve customers: parking is quick and easy and there are no barriers when driving in and out. The Port of Helsinki is continuously developing its passenger experience, so the next goal was to enable online reservations to further improve service.

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased number of customers booking online.

  • Quality passenger experience ensured through testing.

  • A strong brand recognized for easy and safe parking.

What we did

We started by forming a multidisciplinary team, consisting of the Port of Helsinki’s customer service, safety, premises and operations specialists, technical developers, and business owners, as well as Futurice’s service, UX, and brand designers. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the parking environment and its operations, we began our work by interviewing a wide range of people, including Port of Helsinki personnel, stakeholders, and travelers. We also personally tested all the parking lots at the West Terminal.

The online parking registration service was implemented through agile design sprints. We quickly proceeded from drawings to the prototype, paying careful attention to all needs and ideas of the Port of Helsinki team and the end users, feature after feature. Finding a parking spot when leaving on a journey can be stressful, so we paid special attention to making sure reliable customer support services are available.

On the technical side, our work included backend development with Node.js, running on Azure Functions App, and building the integrations between the application and the parking providers' systems. The system environment was being updated at the same time, and we fluently adapted the service development to fit these processes, for example, by efficiently coding React/TypeScript. The development process involved lots of freedom and responsibility. Our work also included optimisation for Google Analytics, and building payment integrations, cloud architecture, cookie management, and email templates with SendGrid. The services' accessibility level was defined as public, following appropriate security policies. The online parking registration service fluently integrates both physical and digital environments, IT systems, and the operators connected to it. As an agile project, the service is continuously developed further.

At an early stage of the process, we noted that the premises need a recognizable brand that could be used to expand the service to new locations. We created a coherent Satamaparkki (“harbor parking”) brand, including a name, logo, colors, typography, website and advertorial layouts, and wall signs.

Why it matters

The online parking registration service is an important part of a stress-free journey and an improved customer experience, as well as the overall appeal of the car park. The agile service implementation through user testing ensured the usability and customer satisfaction and provided the right starting point for technical development. At the same time, it provided insight into how people want to use the service. The customers have been delighted with the new service, which has made the facilities’ operations more effective. Satamaparkki has also become a known and trusted brand, earning its place as a part of smooth journeys and paving the way for the modern parking industry. The service received a recognition prize in the “Voice of the Customer” category at the Customer Experience Professionals Association Finland (CXPA) awards.

Our customer experience strategy aims to improve the convenience of digital and physical services. Working in an industry punished by the coronavirus pandemic is challenging and requires excellent collaboration, partnership and trust between the different players. We are grateful to Futurice for their sparring and the great results. The new online parking service has raised a lot of interest among car drivers who value the ease of travel.
Marika Pauli
Head of Passenger Services & Property, Port of Helsinki

About Port of Helsinki

The port of Helsinki is a passenger and freight port operated by Port of Helsinki Ltd., which is owned by the City of Helsinki. It is one of the busiest international passenger ports in Europe. In 2019, 12.2 million passengers passed through the Port of Helsinki.

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