Updated: Mar 1, 2019
One of the key success factors for any city is the effectiveness of its transportation system, but these systems are constantly evolving and adapting to the new needs of citizens and to technological advancements. Some might say that the transportation system is the lifeblood of a city – it has the potential to add value & productivity or if you have ever been to a city with a bad system, then it can most definitely take away value.
There is now a big focus for cities on how they can deliver this vital service in a smarter and more sustainable manner, decreasing the release of harmful pollutants into the air and getting people to and from their destination more efficiently. The approaches vary and very much depend on the culture of a city, anyone that has been to Amsterdam and Copenhagen will know that they both have very effective systems in place to encourage cycling, this is based on years and years of now culturally ingrained behaviour. There are other cities that are still very much private car cities and this is one of the behaviours that city leaders are trying to change. Convincing citizens to leave their car at home and to use public transport is not always as easy as it sounds though!
One example of new technology that can be implemented by cities is Green Buses. These buses do not run on fossil fuels, but they use environmentally friendly biofuels. The biofuels have been made from waste that is generated by the city or municipality – they are very clean, affordable and not toxic. These biofuels often burn more efficiently than traditional fossil fuels and as they are generated from waste generated locally do not have such a negative impact on the environment when being produced.
The city of Vaasa in Finland is one city that has just implemented the use of biofuel buses, in February of this year they put 12 new biofuel buses into operation around the city. They use organic waste that is gathered from citizens in order to create the biofuel and then the buses are re-filled overnight at the depot – so the whole process is managed within the city limits. In fact they will be creating enough gas that they will be able to sell it onto private customers – so in the long run they will be able to purchase more green buses and get rid of all the old polluting buses. It’s a no brainer really!
Vaasa is a relatively small city in Finland (population approx. 66,000), other cities should be taking a leaf out of their book and starting their journey towards a greener future. Smart city projects need to start somewhere and why not with transport as it is one service that almost every citizen uses, it sends a positive message to citizens that the city cares about long term sustainability and making sure that the air they breath is of a better quality.
Hopefully it encourages citizens to leave their cars at home as they will know that not only are they getting around easily, but they are doing it in a green and sustainable manner.
For more information about the project: https://www.vaasa.fi/en/release/vaasa-makes-history-12-brand-new-biogas-buses-into-traffic