The macro benefits of public transport are clear: getting cars off roads opens cities for people and reduces CO2 emissions. But that’s just the start. Public transport has a lot of unrealized potential when it comes to micro-sustainability. By focusing on the details in public transport operations and optimizing every aspect, incremental gains can be achieved. And small but continuous gains – on a large scale – can make a significant difference.
Digitalization is a key enabler of micro-sustainability. With real-time data from each vehicle, it is possible to optimize efficiency and minimize energy wastage, costs, and CO2 emissions.
Drivers are key
While electrification offers a bright future; managing the transition from fossil fuel vehicles requires balance. One of the areas that can make a substantial difference is eco-driving services that give drivers a real-time feedback loop about how the way they drive affects fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
EcoDriving targets “avoidable” fuel usage. By showing how acceleration, braking and idling patterns affect CO2 emissions – and showing how they could reduce them – drivers have been shown to reduce emissions by up to 12%.
Fixing vehicles before they break
Maintaining a healthy fleet means staying one step ahead of mechanical problems. With real-time data from the digital systems on a bus, it is possible to monitor its ‘health’ and identify potential mechanical issues before they turn into problems. This reduces overall vehicle downtime and service disruptions.
By monitoring and analysing the performance of vehicles, it is also possible to assess their operational efficiency and ensure they are operating cleanly and cost-effectively.
Even a simple error such as an incorrect thermostat temperature can increase the energy consumption by up to 10%.
The remarkable thing about digitalization – when it’s done right – is that it can keep evolving. By using open IoT platforms and common standards, new ways of unlocking efficiency can be achieved with solutions that don’t even exist yet. And that’s the beauty of micro-sustainability. Once public transport operators have the foundations in place, they can keep finding new ways to reduce costs and CO2 and compounding the benefits.
The Decarbonized Cities Program launched by Business Finland on April 18, 2023 aims to make Finland a globally recognized provider of sustainable, carbon-neutral solutions for cities. The program helps Finnish companies and organizations to find international cooperation and business partners. New exports are estimated to amount to several billion euros.
Smart solutions and sustainability principles drive global urban development
Urban development has a significant impact on climate change: cities consume 78% of the world’s energy and account for more than 60% of greenhouse gas emissions. In the near future, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. The largest challenges in urban environments are related to the built environment, energy, and traffic. From the point of view of the cities of the future, the utilization of digitalization and data as well as new business models have great potential.
Most major cities in Europe and in many other OECD countries have set a challenging goal to become carbon neutral by 2030 or 2035. The EU has selected 100 cities to implement the EU’s Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities mission. Six of these are located in Finland: Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere, and Turku. The goal of the mission is to achieve climate neutrality by 2030 through developing smart and sustainable solutions.
Decarbonized Cities Program In a Nutshell
The aim is to help Finnish companies and other stakeholders to create new business and networks by solving urban carbon-neutrality issues.
The program will increase and strengthen the multisectoral supply and expertise that cities need to manage their CO2 emissions and energy transition today and tomorrow.
Long-term relationships with foreign cities are established in terms of both innovation and business.
New Finnish exports will amount to EUR 3 billion.
The program will involve close collaboration with selected domestic and foreign cities, large and small companies, researchers, and other stakeholders.
The program will focus on comprehensive solutions instead of partial solutions.
EUR 150 million will be allocated to the development and modification of solutions.