ITS in action: Copenhagen’s green agenda
This September, all eyes will fall on Copenhagen as the city hosts the year’s biggest intelligent transportation event—the 25th ITS World Congress. Organized by ERTICO and the European Commission and hosted by the City of Copenhagen, the Congress will see over 10,000 participants from more than 100 countries pour into the city to exhibit, demonstrate, and experience the latest intelligent transportation systems and services.
The theme of this year’s Congress is “ITS – Quality of Life” and the Congress will explore a range of topics including “ITS and the Environment.” There are countless environmental benefits of ITS. Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) apps can be used to help commuters choose the greenest route available, and connected and automated vehicles can interact with road infrastructure to ensure a smoother drive and reduced emissions.
“ITS and the Environment” is also a topic that holds a special significance to the host city. The city of Copenhagen has some ambitious environmental goals; it aims to become the world's first carbon-neutral capital city by the year 2025. To achieve this goal, Copenhagen has embraced ITS to make mobility in the city greener, healthier, and safer.
“Copenhagen is known as the world’s best city for cyclists,” said Ninna Hedeager Olsen, Mayor of the Technical and Environmental Administration, City of Copenhagen. “Sixty two percent of Copenhageners commute by bike, and 41% of all trips to work, school, and university are by bike. We have developed an extensive network of protected bicycle tracks to encourage cycling, and we are continuously looking to deploy ITS to create green mobility. To us, mobility should be greener and smarter, and it is not just about technology. It is about creating a better quality of life for all Copenhageners, and ITS solutions can support us here.”
Eco-driving in action
One way that Copenhagen is furthering its green agenda is through the facilitation of eco-driving, using a combination of an onboard unit and a multimodal app designed for trucks, buses, and cars. Eco-driving is an approach to driving that the city expects will improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. The app informs drivers what the optimal speed is to achieve a green wave through intersections. The goal is to achieve environmental benefits by encouraging drivers to moderate their speed and acceleration. The driver’s travel experience will also become much more convenient by using the app.
The Eco-driving project is currently under implementation, and tests will be launched as soon as the technology is up and running. Eco-driving will be available on half of the ring roads in Copenhagen, which includes parts of the city center. The app will also be available for tests for cyclists on a shorter part of the ring road.
A green agenda
High on Copenhagen’s green agenda is making the city friendlier to cyclists. With over 350 km () of dedicated cycle paths and lanes, Copenhagen is already considered one of the world’s most cycle-friendly cities, and the city are aiming to further improve the cycling experience through the deployment of ITS.
One initiative is the testing of variable message signs. These have traditionally been used for motorized traffic, but the city saw an opportunity to use them to help stimulate cycling as well. Signs are connected to the Central Traffic Management System, meaning that traffic data can be communicated in real-time and cyclists can be directed to less congested cycle tracks. The project hasn’t been evaluated yet, but so far cyclists seem to welcome the new signs in town.
Copenhagen is also testing intelligent street lighting in five intersections in the city. These new lights are dimmed to 50% at night to reduce energy consumption. The lights are fitted with smart technology that turns them back up to 100% when an approaching cyclist is detected. This system is actively reducing carbon emissions while also ensuring the safety of vulnerable road users travelling at night.
Working towards green mobility solutions
ERTICO-ITS Europe facilitates the development and deployment of smart mobility in Europe and connects stakeholders to make this a reality. After 25 years of work, ERTICO is now looking ahead with “Vision 2030,” which outlines a shared vision for the future of mobility.
Using ITS to reduce environmental impacts is a major priority for ERTICO. In 2017, a position paper entitled “ITS for Clean Mobility” was published, outlining how ITS can be used to reduce carbon emissions. To work towards this goal, ERTICO supports a number of eco-driving initiatives throughout Europe. It is focused on ensuring the interoperability of ITS systems and working with service providers to help define regulatory frameworks and facilitate continuity of service across borders.
“ERTICO works to reduce the impact of transport on the environment through new technology and business models,” said Jacob Bangsgaard, CEO of ERTICO-ITS Europe, speaking about the topic of ITS and the Environment. “Together with our partners, we promote electromobility solutions and mobility-as-a-service schemes. Copenhagen has made incredible progress in creating a cleaner city through the use of public transport and bicycles, in addition to investments in road infrastructure. The adoption of cooperative ITS and automation is making the city more efficient and is setting an example for many other cities in Europe.”
Visit Copenhagen from 17–21 September for the 25th ITS World Congress
Find out what you can do to help create greener cities by attending sessions and discussions presented by experts at the ITS World Congress. Attendees will also be able to experience Copenhagen’s green mobility solutions first-hand thanks to a new MaaS app called MinRejseplan, which has been developed especially for the congress. The app will provide free public transportation to all delegates for trains, metros, buses, and harbour ferries. It will also give information on private transportation options such as taxis and bicycle-sharing.
The combination of public and private transportation advice in one app is completely new, and the app will also be a live demonstration project that delegates can test and evaluate at the congress. The testing will therefore be a step into the future of Mobility as a Service, and MinRejseplan will be available to the Copenhageners after the congress.
Copenhagen has some of the best intelligent transport systems in operation, but there is still work to be done to meet its goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025. There are countless ways that ITS can benefit the environment, and although more are being discovered every day, there are just as many challenges to its deployment in cities around the world. To join the conversation and see some of Copenhagen’s green mobility in action, be sure to register for the ITS World Congress today.