The City of Lahti in Finland was the first to experiment with a carbon trading scheme among its inhabitants to reduce transport-related emissions. Based on a mobile app that measures the emissions of each daily trip and let users manage their individual carbon allowance, this system was voluntary, incentive-based and participatory. Could this pioneering initiative, financed by the European Urban Innovative Action fund, be replicated in other European cities?
After carrying out a feasibility study on a national transport carbon rationing scheme in France, the Mobile Lives Forum wanted to document and analyse the only rationing experiment that had been in operation: that of the city of Lahti, in Finland.
The city teamed up with researchers and companies to develop a mobile app that enables users to manage their carbon allowance, by measuring and deducting the emissions linked to each of their daily trips. The app was used on a regular basis by 350 citizens between the end of May and December 2020, and rewarded those who didn’t exceed their weekly carbon allowance by offering them, for instance, vouchers for local businesses or transport tickets. This experiment is part of an action plan financed by the European Urban Innovative Action fund, called CitiCap, the goal of which is to develop alternatives to individual combustion engine car use.
The description and analysis of this experiment is based on data and documents in English made available on the UIA website and on interviews carried out with the project’s manager, Anna Huttunen, and one of the researchers on the project design and evaluation team, Ville Uusitalo. By documenting the practical, organizational and financial aspects of the project, this memo aims to guide public actors who may want to reproduce this type of experiment in their territory.
The city of Lahti wanted its inhabitants to be involved in defining the methods by which the participant’s carbon allowance would be allocated and then progressively lowered. The citizens who were consulted during work groups and through questionnaires agreed on the following principles:
Because of the pandemic, researchers were only able to collect and analyse reliable data over a three-month period. This data and the results of the questionnaires given to the participants show a general trend towards fewer trips made by individual cars:
The app also served as an information and communication tool on the carbon impacts of mobility. The participants’ main motivations were to:
Although not perfect and disrupted by the covid pandemic, this experiment allows us to identify the necessary conditions for success and levers of improvement in order to deploy this system in other European cities.
According to the local team that led the project, the conditions that allowed for its successful implementation were as follows:
To access all the information on the project’s creation, financing, operation and results, download the summary sheet produced by the Mobile Lives Forum:
For the Mobile Lives Forum, mobility is understood as the process of how individuals travel across distances in order to deploy through time and space the activities that make up their lifestyles. These travel practices are embedded in socio-technical systems, produced by transport and communication industries and techniques, and by normative discourses on these practices, with considerable social, environmental and spatial impacts.En savoir plus x
To cite this publication :
Mobile Lives Forum (04 October 2021), « Lahti: The first carbon rationing experiment applied to local journeys », Préparer la transition mobilitaire. Consulté le 31 March 2023, URL: https://forumviesmobiles.org/en/project/13794/lahti-first-carbon-rationing-experiment-applied-local-journeys
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