Tag Archive: Decarbonizing transport

  1. African innovation and research win at Summit of transport ministers

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    Source: International Transport Forum

    A Ugandan programme to reduce emissions and a Kenya-based electric vehicle-transition project are the recent winners of the prestigious International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award.

    With 64 member countries, The International Transport Forum (ITF) is an intergovernmental think tank for transport policies and is the only global body that covers all transport types. The ITF campaign aims to improve the lives of people by trend analysis and sharing knowledge to deeper understand the role of transport for economic and environmental gains. The ITF’s Annual Summit is the world’s largest gathering of transport ministers and is a platform for discussion and reform.

    The innovation category of the International Transport Forum Decarbonising Transport Award went to Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives for its campaigning to reduce air pollution from vehicle emissions. The startup initiative is made up of 400 local mechanics who navigate Ugandan’s capital city, Kampala, to improve the environmental inconsistencies from the capital’s most polluting cars. Kampala regularly exceeded the WHO safety guidelines on air pollution by a staggering six-fold, so there was an urgency with the need to improve the air quality. The Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives searched for solutions to the emissions problems and produced data-driven reports that flagged the problem to the public to gain their support. The EUR 10,000 prize will be used on quantifying equipment to further educate the city’s residents and reduce emissions, and may also be utilised in a possible electric vehicle conversion programme.

    The Wanyama Autosafety Initiative Executive Director accepted the award at the ITF Summit on “Transport for Inclusive Societies” in Leipzig, Germany on 20th May 2022, commenting that, “Our multi-faceted programme aims to address the devastating effects of air pollution in our largest city. Early results from this start-up venture clearly demonstrate that a community-based approach rooted in sound data analysis can result in better air quality and improved road safety. I hope the international recognition that comes with this prestigious award will lead to a change in policies and a cleaner, sustainable mobility future in Uganda and beyond.”

    More information on Wanyama Autosafety Initiatives can be found here.

    The research category of the ITF Decarbonising Transport Award went to the Transition To Electric Boda Boda in the Nairobi City County, Kenya project. Nairobi City County has a notable motorcycle taxi network but is often not considered for electric vehicle transitions. The research category winners will now be able to explore any policy, legal and institutional hindrances that prevent the Boda Boda motorcycle network from inclusion in transport electrification policies.

    The EUR 5,000 prize will allow the campaigners to collect data and research legality and policies in order to progress towards achieving Kenya’s sustainability goals. The study will further identify any essential steps needed to convert Boda Boda’s power from internal combustion engines into electric batteries. This will maximise Kenya’s environmental decarbonisation and adhere to the county’s wonderful renewable energy source production.

    Accepting the award, James Moronge, Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Nairobi, commented: “Boda Boda taxis have attained a significant place in catering to people’s travel needs. They contribute significantly to load factor and vehicle kilometres travelled, as well as to emissions. It is important, therefore, that they be adapted to lower-emission energy sources, including battery-powered technology. I’m delighted that the relevance of this research is recognised at the International Transport Forum’s Summit, and I hope that ITF’s global reach will help us to share the insights of our work with other countries.”

    ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim said: “We cannot achieve our climate goals without decarbonising transport. Emerging economies with growing demand for mobility face particular challenges. I am deeply impressed by the level of innovation and commitment to transport decarbonisation reflected in applications for ITF’s new Decarbonising Transport Award. I am delighted that the ITF can support these carbon-neutral transport solutions through funding and support for research, outreach and dissemination. I hope that the award winners will greatly benefit from the visibility of the award and that we will continue to collaborate on our shared climate goals.”

    The ITF Decarbonising Transport Award recognises projects with great potential to aid in decarbonising transport in emerging economies. 37 applications, primarily from African, Latin American and Asian countries, were assessed by an internal and external jury representing a diverse set of countries and profiles. The two winning entries were selected from a total of seven finalists.
    More information can be found here.

  2. Car-free zone larger than Manhattan proposed in Berlin

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    Source: Fast Company

    Action group proposes car limitations on the entirety of Berlin city centre enclosed within the RingBahn train line.

    Having been conceptualised in 2019 by three friends, the Volksentscheid Berlin Autofrei’s (People’s Decision for Auto-Free Berlin) radical proposal to transform Berlin city centre into a car-free zone is now under consideration by Berlin Senate, having reached 50,000 supporting signatures. The governing body will reach a decision by February, in a similar process to the 2016 law changes that improved cycling across Berlin.

    Of course, car-free does not equate to a complete ban, but rather a significant reduction in the prevalence of private car use – emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and other service vehicles would still function as normal. Campaigners highlight the benefits not only to the wider environment but the local one experienced by Berlin residents on a daily basis. By removing private car usage from the city, communities can ‘take back’ the Berlin streets as functional and versatile public spaces, improving both the health and safety of commuters.

    With traffic already limited in some Berlin neighbourhoods, or ‘Kiezblocks’, the proposal would massively accelerate the shift in Berlin’s urban environment, again highlighted by campaigners as a crucial step to take in light of the ongoing climate crisis. If rejected by the city, organisers will continue to collect signatures of support until the issue can go to ballot – with 175,000 required backers.

  3. Flemish Radio Interviews LEVA-EU Manager on E-Scooters with Saddle

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    The start of the European Mobility Week on 16 September is a unique opportunity to get acquainted with other more sustainable means of transport than the car. In that framework, the Flemish Radio 2 program “De Inspecteur” (The Inspector) interviewed LEVA-EU Manager, Annick Roetynck and Stef Willems (VIAS) about electric scooters with a saddle.


    “It’s complicated,” says Stef Willems of VIAS. “But the bottom line is that an e-scooter with a saddle is considered a moped in our country according to European and Belgian legislation. So, the only way to legally go on the road is with a number plate and helmet. You can in no way consider that vehicle as a regular e-scooter according to the law.”

    The police can fine you if you drive around with such a scooter without a number plate, or even confiscate your scooter, Willems warns. “The problem is that the people who buy e-scooters with saddles assume these are regular e-scooters, which allow them to go anywhere with them on the road. I have noticed that the sellers often do not clearly indicate that they are actually buying a moped.”

    Illegal e-scooters for sale

    We have seen that non-type-approved e-scooters are for sale on bol.com, says Willems. “Because they are not type-approved, you are under no circumstances allowed on public roads in Belgium. There is no certificate of conformity, so you can’t apply for a number plate. You can only drive around with it in your garden for instance. But the sellers don’t mention that.”

    There are also saddles for sale which you can mount on your e-scooter yourself, but that is not allowed either. “If you mount that saddle on your scooter, you are also not allowed on public roads, because here too you are in breach of European regulations.”

    Bol.com takes illegal steps offline

    At bol.com, they did not know that e-scooters with saddle are illegal, despite the fact that LEVA-EU had sent them a reasoned warning more than a year ago. The enquiry by the Flemish radio programme  “De Inspecteur”, convinces them to take immediate action. Tamara Vlootman tells “De Inspecteur”: “Our quality team will investigate this. Until then, we have taken the articles offline as a precaution. We will now look further into how we are going to approach that, maybe we will add a clear warning label.”

    Sellers be warned

    “We inform the companies about the correct legislation. It is all very complex but we call for the law to be respected,” says Annick Roetynck, from LEVA-EU, the professional association for light electric vehicles in Europe.

    “Some sellers actually don’t know the law; others choose not to know the law. They sometimes have the customers sign a paper to acknowledge that the e-scooters they are buying are not allowed on public roads. If an accident were to happen, they will not be able to avoid their liability.”

    Outdated law

    Annick Roetynck does not agree with the law at all. “The laws were made long ago, when there were only cars, motorcycles and mopeds with fossil fuels, but not with new vehicles in mind. That’s why you get strange situations for no reason, because an e-scooter with a saddle is largely the same as an e-scooter without a saddle. There is no justification for submitting them to two completely different legal frameworks.”

    That is why she hopes that the legislation will be changed: “Personally, I have been working for more than 20 years for accurate legislation for LEVS such as e-scooters with or without saddle but also electric bicycles-without pedals for instance. They all have a role to play in making mobility more sustainable. They have great potential in decarbonizing mobility in the fight against climate change. There is some good news: the European Commission has recognized that the legislation needs to be improved and we hope it to be amended within 2 or 3 years.”

    The radio-interview with Annick Roetynck is here: https://radio2.be/luister/select/de-inspecteur/sommige-elektrische-steps-zijn-illegaal-als-je-er-een-ongeval-mee-hebt-is-de-verkoper-mee-verantwoordelijk

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