September 15, 2020 Climate-Friendly Freebies!
With carbon emissions still on the rise, what would it take to get people to help do their part and happily ditch their cars? This Finnish city might have found an ingenious solution.
Sustainable urban mobility is on the mind in Lahti, designated European Green Capital 2021. The Finnish city has introduced a system where residents receive various benefits, such as bus tickets, swimming pool visits and free bike lights as a reward for driving less. Over the last year the system has been using an app called CitiCAP to track and trade personal carbon emissions – the first city-wide Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) system to be implemented in the EU. Their goals? Reduce traffic congestion and emissions from transport – currently at 32% of total CO2 outputs – by incentivising citizens to shift from private car usage to sustainable transport.
The app works by setting a cap level for emissions where going below earns the participant virtual money – the more sustainable the transport option, the more money earned. This money, in turn, is used for bus tickets and the like. If shown effective, the project might increase the use of smart mobility tools in urban planning and policy.
In addition to motivating attitudinal and behavioural change, the app’s data is being used to inform research into integrated mobility planning, which aims to create new clean transport options for citizens under the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP). Researchers hope to expand the project to more participants, creating a comprehensive data set that may be used as an open access source for other urban authorities and innovators in the coming years.