I would say that London was the first city with a constructive plan for emission abatement. The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, issued a call for green transportation already in 2006 in preparation for the 2012 Olympics. The first objective was to realize clean and energy efficient hybrid buses for London. Since then, Volvo has supplied more than 500 hybrid buses to the UK. No doubt the initiative by the Mayor of London has made a big difference.
Today, a large number of cities around the world have relatively precise plans for the future. A lot of focus is put on buses that have the ability to simultaneously impact both local emissions and transport capacity. Many cities compete in becoming the first adopter of sustainable transport technologies. In general, there are two time lines:
i) one group of cities have the intention to purchase only emission free (mainly electric) buses from 2020
ii) the other group is set to convert their full bus fleet by 2025
From my perspective both time lines are realistic and efficient.
If I generalize there are three categorize of initiatives:
1) Political initiatives pushing for a change (e.g. Ken Livingstone in London)
2) Private enterprises (e.g. Sales Lenz in Luxemburg introducing new environmental technology in order to strengthen their role in the future transport system)
3) Citizens’ demands towards improved environment, in particular with respect to air quality and noise (e.g. Sjöstadsföreningen in Stockholm )
In the last example, the citizen group Sjöstadsföreningen (try to pronounce that if you can) has identified a number of environmental issues to deal with in order to improve the quality of living in the neighborhood: energy use, waste management, air quality, noise.
The activists push both the industry and politicians to realize a change. An initiative has been taken to renew the bus fleet in the city from today’s gas buses to the new generation of buses that is driven by electro mobility. In the end, it is all about quality of life.
Volvo Buses is proud to be able to contribute with a new generation of Hybrid and Electric Hybrid (plug-in) buses that will be able meet the demands of progressive mayors, bus operators and citizens.