A Joint JASPERS Platform - EC - EIB - UITP workshop on Bus fleet renewal through deployment of clean and efficient vehicles was held in Brussels on 26-27 June 2018.
The JASPERS Networking Platform was created to complement JASPERS project advisory operations by implementing knowledge sharing and capacity building activities, as well as fostering dissemination of good practices and exchange of experiences among all EU member states, pre-accession countries and other JASPERS Stakeholders.
The JASPERS Networking Platform is open to relevant authorities from all EU Member States (EU 28), as well as pre-accession Countries.
Many local transport authorities in Europe are in need of replacing ageing bus units within their fleets at a faster pace or of introducing bus transport to serve a growing urban population. The purpose is to meet current standards, increase efficiency and passenger comfort and reduce transport related emissions.
EU funds – mainly from European Structural and Investment Funds (ESI) but also from Horizon 2020 and potentially from the Connected Europe Facility (CEF) – contribute to modernising the urban and regional bus fleets in the EU and therefore to improving public transport quality and efficiency.
Bus fleet renewal and/or extension through EU funding or EIB financing represent an important opportunity to improve the quality, efficiency and image of public transport as a whole, its market share, the environment in the area served and the integration into a wider smart local development strategy.
The relative importance of Buses for urban transport differs according to the size of cities. Generally buses are by far the dominant , in most cases the only means of public transport in cities with less than 100 000 in habitants as well as in most suburban and rural areas and in regional inter-city connections (sometimes in competition with rail) . Relative share in larger cities differs and may reach 50 percent.
But in some CEE countries cities with populations up to 500 000 have no other PT services than those provided by bus. All together the share of public transport trips by bus is as high as 60 % in Europe.
Policies at EU level strongly support the implementation of cleaner and more sustainable urban transport, with a particular focus on clean fuels and vehicles. The Commission’s 2016 Strategy for Low Emission Mobility as well as the Directive for Alternative Fuel Infrastructure and the revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive form the basis for the evolution of efficient transport with a specific focus on CO2 emissions and environmental performance.
The objective is to accelerate the deployment of Low Emission Vehicles, and to move towards Zero Emission Vehicles.
There is a wide choice of cleaner fuel and engine technology for urban bus operations, beyond lower emission Euro VI vehicles and the use of biodiesel blends:
- Fully electric buses, including trolley buses, battery electric, and fuelcell electric;
- Hybrid electric (diesel, natural gas, hydrogen) and plug-in hybrids;
- Natural Gas (CNG or LNG), including biomethane;
- Other renewable fuels (e.g. Bioethanol, HVO).
All of those technologies may contribute to the policy goal of gradual shift to low emission public transport. Each community should develop appropriate transition steps, based on needs assessment, comprehensive planning and building on relevant experience. In this process, careful consideration of the technology choice should derive from a wider operational concept and its associated delivery strategy. This will facilitate a smooth transition towards low and ultimately zero emission mobility, while ensuring an attractive and competitive public transport system.
EIB/JASPERS, in cooperation with the EU Commission and UITP, have invited about 100 interested operators, responsible authorities at local, regional and national level, manufacturers and NGOs to attend this workshop and contribute to the development of planning and procurement approaches in all ESI Funds benefitting countries.
Introductory presentations given on both days focused on:
- the role of bus transport in Europe,
- the political and financial commitment at EU level in favor of cleaner, more comfortable and modern bus fleets and of their transition towards zero emission,
- the range of solutions offered by large and smaller bus manufacturers and their full commitment to achieving the objectives defined at EU level,
- the principles of bus fleet renewal and
- the advisory support the JASPERS and the EIB provide.
The comprehensive overview was followed by the presentation and lively discussion of the experience with the transition towards low/zero emission fleets at local and regional level.
UITP provided an overview of the experience on the ground, with special reference to the large-scale Horizon 2020 funded e-bus test phase which involved a substantial number of local operators.
The commitment and experience at local level and the role of EIB/JASPERS advisory, EU funds and EIB loans as accelerators of this transition process was highlighted in presentations from JASPERS counterparts in:
- Warsaw (PL),
- Sofia (BG),
- Plzen (CZ) and
- Bratislava (SK).
This was complemented by presentations from Busitalia, one of the larger bus public transport operators in the Italian and European market, the intentions and initiatives in the Dutch province of Gelderland to gradually shift to zero emission bus fleets until 2025 and a project to introduce a trolleybus system from scratch in the Austrian city of Klagenfurt.
The general impression from the experience and presentations at local level was that both the pressure to strongly improve air quality in cities and to contribute to achieving decarbonisation objectives are drivers of the transition process, which is in full swing.
In a number of cases the transition is strongly oriented towards zero tailpipe emissions, achieved through different technologies, drawing on existing trolleybus systems, renewing and extended them, building new trolley bus systems and, sometimes on a quite large scale, replacing old Diesel buses by battery and fuelcell e-buses.
This article has been kindly provided by Jaspers.