STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN: In connection with the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Volvo Group unveiled Commute Greener, a service which transforms your mobile phone into a personal CO2 calculator with connections to Social Networks like Facebook.
People world-wide have already started using the service and are competing to reduce CO2 emissions. The most frequent CO2 reduction target set by the users is 20%, which is equivalent to changing your commuting behaviour during one working day per week.
After signing up for the service, it is easy for commuters to use their mobile phones, or a web site, to keep track of how much CO2 emissions are reduced, or increased, using different means of transportation, for example car, car pooling or bus. Tests show that individuals can be motivated to cut their CO2 emissions by 30 percent when using Commute Greener.
“We immediately received positive feedback from the people on the streets of Copenhagen. People appreciate the possibility to use their mobile phones to reduce their personal carbon footprint and contribute to a positive change in commuting behavior,” says Magnus Holmqvist, Commute Greener´s managing director.
The story behind Commute Greener begins in 2008, when an employee at Volvo IT´s Innovation Centre came up with the simple idea of an application for mobile phones that calculates the user’s carbon emissions while travelling.
“It was initially planned as an internal initiative to further enhance our work within environmental care. We wanted to come up with a new and fun way to involve our own people in dealing with climate change. Selling the service outside the Volvo Group was a very distant idea,” Magnus Holmqvist recalls.
After internal tests and an internal launch, this idea is now in the process of becoming reality. Commute Greener is being launched to external companies, cities and to individuals around the world.
“Companies save money, as their employees take the most effective means of transport rather than getting caught in traffic jams. The environment benefits and the burden on the road network is reduced”, says Magnus Holmqvist.
Holmqvist believes it is only natural that the Volvo Group, the world´s second largest producer of heavy-duty trucks, is launching a service like Commute Greener.
“We are part of the problem of carbon emissions, but we are also part of the solution. We have the expertise to create modern transport solutions for the whole of society,” he concludes.
Facts about Commute Greener
• Commute Greener is accessed through a mobile phone or an Internet web site.
• A commuter who downloads the application can use the mobile telephone to register the methods of transport that are used for commuting. The application calculates how much carbon dioxide emissions are reduced or increased using different means of transportations, for example bus, car, car pooling, train, boat or bicycle. The application also contains examples of the impact you can make, such as the fact that it takes a tree one month to absorb a kilo of CO2.
• The service provides an online community for exchanging experience and for competitions between colleagues, friends and family members about the possible size of reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.
• A GPS function opens the possibility to compare the size of CO2 emissions on different routes and using different means of transport.
• At present, individuals can download Commute Greener as an application for the iPhone from the Apple App Store. To download the application to other mobile phones, a city, company or organisation first need to order access for its inhabitants, customers or employees.
• So far, Commute Greener has registered users in the US, France, UK, Ireland, Australia, Japan, Sweden and elsewhere around the world.