Strong desire to enhance urban environment
There is a strong desire to improve the environment in cities, according to a study of seven large cities conducted by the Volvo Group. This study will lead to projects similar to those that are being conducted in Gothenburg.
Today, half the world’s population live in large cities and the trend is simply continuing. By 2050, the percentage of city dwellers worldwide will be 80 per cent.
Moreover, the number of so-called mega-cities, with more than 10 million inhabitants, is constantly increasing.
The reason people are moving to the cities is that they are looking to improve their standard of living, with jobs, better health care and education. However, the environmental problems are growing and, in addition to congestion and poorer air, the call for reduced noise is becoming increasingly vocal.
This is demonstrated by statistics produced by the Department of Strategic Development at AB Volvo. It is also confirmed by the study the department has conducted.
The study focuses on seven large cities in different parts of the world. In addition to Gothenburg, they are Shanghai, Tokyo, New York, Los Angeles, Lyon and São Paulo. Decision-makers and the people responsible for public transport and distribution have been interviewed about the demands they are imposing on the vehicles of the future.
“The conditions in these cities vary, when it comes to both economy and infrastructure. However, there is a powerful desire to change and improve things,” says Fredrik Almhöjd, who has been involved in conducting the study.
In Tokyo, the underground railway is reducing the need for buses, while the demand for electrically powered distribution trucks is increasing. São Paulo has set a target to replace its diesel buses by 2018, whereas the target for Los Angeles is that 15 per cent of its buses will be driven by electricity in 2015.
Lyon is introducing environmental zones in the city centre to reduce both noise and emissions. In New York, there is enormous support from the authorities for investments in electric vehicles. The authorities there are paying a large percentage of the difference in price.
In Shanghai, traffic congestion is a huge problem. The city is extremely interested in electric vehicles and, via its subsidiary, Sunwin, Volvo Buses is a market leader, with a large number of fully electrical buses operating in the city.
Working on the study has been really rewarding, according to Fredrik Almhöjd.
“We are creating a profile among our customers, learning about their agenda and initiating an important dialogue on ways of helping them,” he says and goes on to talk about plans for the future.
“We are going to include more cities in the study and extend out partnership with some of them. The target is to set up more collaborative projects in the way we have already done in Gothenburg,” he says.