Intelligent Transportation Society of Finland (ITS Finland ry) carried out a survey to identify the effects of the coronavirus for the corporate members of the Society. The survey was conducted during the period of 14 April to 17 April 2020. Members of ITS Factory, a Tampere-based development environment for intelligent traffic solutions, also participated in the survey.
The survey asked companies to assess the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on their business activities and economics during the next six months. As was to be expected, negative effects are significant also in the sector of intelligent transport: 2/3 of the companies assessed the impact of the pandemic to be negative (47%) or very negative (22%). One third of the companies did not expect any significant effects. A small proportion of companies, which means one company in this sample, predicted even positive effects.

According to the survey, the coronavirus outbreak is expected to have a negative impact on employment in the sector. 16 % of respondents considered lay-offs and redundancies likely, and 22% considered them very likely. On the other hand, based on this survey, the situation in the sector seems to be slightly better than average. For example, according to a survey conducted by Finland Chamber of Commerce, about 60% of companies were expecting a decline in the number of staff employed, and almost 90% of companies estimated the pandemic to have a negative impact on the turnover during the next two months. However, respondents expressed concerns about how the situation will evolve after the current projects are finalised. Open answers highlighted the importance of the public sector in enabling the market (for example by solving the tax issues related to MaaS services) and ensuring the continuation of publicly funded projects. Growth companies also expressed a need for direct funding to overcome the crisis.

“The companies had a very clear message: To avoid severe consequences on the development of the market and finances of companies in the intelligent transport sector, publicly funded projects should not be suspended. In these circumstances, we should focus on creating prospects and contributing to sustainable growth by investing in intelligent transport solutions”, says Karri Salminen, chairman of the board of ITS Finland.

Respondents were not unanimous about the adequacy of the financing operations and support measures taken by the public administration. 41% of companies considered the measures quite adequate, whereas 40% considered the measures not very adequate or not at all adequate. 19% of companies did not consider the measures necessary for their part. “We can’t afford to lose the well-growing companies developing solutions for sustainable transport. Finland and the rest of the world need these solutions in order to reach the emission reduction targets and restart export after the pandemic”, Salminen says.

A total of 32 companies responded to the survey. Of all respondents, 44% were companies with a turnover of 2 million euros or less. 22% were companies with a turnover of 2 – 10 million euros, and the remaining 34% had a turnover of over 10 million euros.

Since many of the respondents operate in various fields of intelligent transport, the respondents represent the intelligent transport sector comprehensively. Most respondents operate in the fields of mobility services, software, consulting and data analytics. The main markets in which the respondents operate are Finland and Nordic countries, Europe and North America being the second most significant markets.

For more information, contact Laura Eiro, Programme Director, ITS Finland.

 

Image by Kosti Keistinen