The City of Ghent has private fleet management for its employees. In order to reduce the emissions and use of fossil fuels by the fleet vehicles and to increase the efficiency of the fleet, a number of measures were carried out.
Background & Objectives
In 1997, Ghent launched its “Mobility Plan for the Inner City”. Recent surveys confirm that living and visiting Ghent since has become far more pleasant than a decade ago. Therefore, the city continues work on improving transport related issues. As part of the CIVITAS Elan project the city has set out to improve the cleanliness of its fleet. The main goal was to reduce the emissions of the vehicle fleet (cars and vans up to 3,5 tons) by increasing the efficiency and reducing the use of fossil fuels.
The city of Ghent is the only Belgian city that has set up a city fleet management cell responsible for establishing a sustainable profile for the fleet.
To encourage the use of alternative fuels electric cars, hybrid trucks and CNG vans were introduced to the city fleet. In total 45 standard cars were removed from the city fleet in August 2011 and replaced by cleaner ones following the durable purchase strategy that includes environmental scores as selection criteria. In June 2012, 14 electric vehicles were added to the city fleet and 1 hybrid truck is now used for internal city logistics.
At the same time employees were encouraged to “eco-drive” and reduce fuel by providing eco-driving training to car fleet drivers. Also, tyre pressure was measured regularly, as insufficient tyre pressure leads to higher fuel consumption.
Due to the fact that 45 cars and 38 light freight vehicles were removed from the fleet over the project period, many city employees started to think about their own transport behaviour.>As a consequence they tried using bicycles. This in turn led to a 30% reduction of kilometres driven by the car fleet of the city. In addition, the total number of km driven by light freight vehicles was reduced by 11%.
An initial plan to also integrate bio diesel (B30) in the city car fleet in order to be less dependent on fossil fuels, failed because B30 is not approved as fuel in Belgium yet.
The total fuel use of the city fleet decreased by 24% as a result of the measures implemented. There are also several useful lessons that have been learnt during the implementation phase which can be useful for other cities.
- It is advisable to have a permanent city fleet manager as the purchasing decisions, including number and types of vehicles, need to be centralised.
- The city fleet manager needs to investigate which vehicles are needed. For vehicles used for short distances electric vehicles are preferable, while for the replacement of vehicles with high mileage a hybrid or CNG alternative is recommended. In some cases also car-sharing can be an option.
- It is recommended to organise a feasibility study in advance to find out about possible impediments.
- It is recommended to include the use of bicycles and/or PT in the car policy. During the implementation of the project many employees changed their private transport habits. For this reason it might also help to set up bike sharing schemes for employees.