Environment and sustainability
We want as many people as possible to leave their car at home and travel by bus or train. The greater the numbers who travel with us, the better it is for our environment. Our aim is to double the number of trips by 2020. This means an average increase of about seven percent per year, which would be amazing. The road ahead is twisted and full of obstacles, but we are nonetheless confident that we will be able to accelerate much more than we have to brake.
We do our best to influence every decision within the transportation sector that affects environmental impact. The choice of vehicles at purchase, traffic planning, how our buses and trains are driven, various infrastructure measures, the choice of technology and fuels and, naturally, how each of us chooses to travel are just some of the decisions we can and should participate in. Our goal is for public transit to be structured so that it contributes to sustainable travel and a good environment.
We bear a responsibility. The mere fact that we are here and that many people make use of our services means the environment does better. It's something we're proud of. This doesn't mean we can relax and be satisfied with what we've done. We naturally want to do everything we can to reduce today's environmental and climate impact – emissions, noise pollution, congestion, etc. There is a lot to think about and a lot to consider. Although a trip by public transit that replaces a trip by car means that the environment does better, emissions from buses also impact the environment. We must naturally take responsibility for this and do our best to improve.
Doubling public transit use is a tough challenge. Sure, we're dependent on the efforts of others, that the right decisions are made and that a number of necessary initiatives are taken, but much also rests with us and it will take hard work and a common focus if we are to succeed. If we constantly improve and develop public transit there's a good chance we'll reach our destination. We need to do it in the same way we like people to travel – together.
Burning the Earth's resources just so that we can travel is unsustainable. We must stop using fossil fuels and find solutions based on renewables. Our goal is to be completely fossil-free by 2020.
Use of fossil fuels has dominated the transportation sector for a very long time. Phasing them out involves more than just replacing them with a new fuel. We are instead working to become more flexible and use different types of fossil-free fuels.
One of the ways we are doing this is by using biogas, which is a fuel made from renewable raw materials and produced locally from waste. A smart choice in more than one aspect. Environmental impact is reduced and the fuel source is secure since biogas from household waste will not run out. It also creates employment in the county, and promotes technological progress.
Another focus area is electrification, which we are initially implementing in city traffic in Uppsala. As of spring 2014, we have more electric hybrids servicing Uppsala. This is the first step towards increasingly electrified city bus services. Thanks to electric operation, the bus reduces fuel use by 30%, thereby reducing harmful emissions to an equivalent extent. The hybrid bus runs almost silently for short stretches on pure electricity through stored brake energy. This means that the buses are helping us to reach our goal of fossil-free operations while having positive effects on Uppsala's environment in the form of reduced emissions and reduced noise level. In addition to the hybrids, work in underway to make one of Uppsala's bus routes completely electric-powered by the summer of 2018. We hope to be able to tell you more about this in the future! In December 2016, two electric-powered buses were introduced in our services in Enköping and Bålsta.
Our third support on the road to fossil-freedom is biodiesel. Biodiesel is similar to fossil diesel, but is made from vegetable oils or animal fats. The most common application, both with us and other organizations, has been mixtures of biodiesel and conventional diesel. But, biodiesel also works in its pure form and is becoming more and more common in our traffic services. In 2017, we are taking steps closer and closer to completely fossil-free diesel usage, particularly thanks to our HVO fuel.