Energy efficiency in local public transport

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - environmental impact, policy - sustainable, technology - emissions, place - europe, mode - bus


Finland, energy efficiency, public transportation, greenhouse gas emissions, ecodriving


As an EU member state, Finland has committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions and increase the energy efficiency on every sector of the society. In order to achieve these targets in public transport sector, the Finnish ministries and unions have made an energy efficiency agreement for 2008-2016. The aim of the agreement is to achieve 9 % saving in energy use and 80 % coverage by the end of the agreement period. A new tool called "ETS-database" has been developed for monitoring the success of the agreement. The signees have also committed to support related research and development projects. The monitoring, reporting and development of energy efficiency in public transportation (JOLEN) research project studied the energy efficiency of bus transport in the view of statistics, literature, interviews of transport buyers and survey of bus operators. The aims of the research were to enhance the current knowledge of energy use and energy efficiency in bus transport, to identify and evaluate energy efficiency measures and to present recommendations for improving the energy efficiency and enhancing the leading role of the public sector. The interviews of public transport buyers indicated that very little attention is paid to energy efficiency currently. Buyers also feel that they lack knowledge for improving the energy efficiency and resources for acquiring this knowledge. The buyers also do not know the energy use of the purchased transport. The importance of energy efficiency is seen to be growing and related criteria will be used in tendering and regular reporting will be required from operators. In the view of the operator survey, energy efficiency has not been taken into account in tendering and the operators do not report their energy efficiency to stakeholders. Companies have tried quite widely cheap and simple energy efficiency measures, such as limiting the driving speed, avoiding idling and inspecting the tire pressures regularly. Also ecodriving training is a part of energy efficiency measures in many companies. On the other hand, measures which require large investments, such as light weight or hybrid buses, are not used in companies. Acquiring grant scheme could be started in Finland to promote these measures. The energy efficiency agreement was not familiar or joining it was not of any interest to over a half of the survey respondents. Some possible features of the ETS-database, such as best practice reports and evaluation of the impacts of energy efficiency measures in the fleet, were considered useful by many operators so there is some potential to increase the attraction of ETS-database. Furthermore, the buyers can promote energy efficiency agreement by demanding operators to join it in order to participate in tendering, although this was not seen as a very useful criterion by operators. The buyers should, however, demand regular reports of energy efficiency, because an operator which monitors its energy use well is very often also energy efficient.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by AET, copyright remains with them.