Greener commuting at Volvo by use of CO2 “pedometer”

A group of employees from the Volvo Group in Göteborg, Sweden, have been taking part in a project in which a personal CO2 “pedometer” has kept a check on what their commuting to work costs in the form of carbon emissions. Their journeys were registered using software in their mobile phones and a concept developed by Volvo IT. By changing their behaviour, the group succeeded in reducing their carbon footprint by more than 30%.

With their normal travelling pattern as the starting point, the participants set a target for reducing their environmental impact. Many of them chose to take the bus or bicycle instead of travelling by car. People who left their cars at home were able to make business trips during working hours using eco cars from a car pool.

All their journeys were registered using their mobiles and the participants were then informed via their mobile phones about the reduction they had made in carbon emissions.

“Our project demonstrates how Green IT can show people how they can help to reduce the climate threat and thereby increase their motivation to change their behaviour and help to improve the environment,” explains Kerstin Hanson at Volvo IT, where the prototype has been developed.

This prototype project, which was run in collaboration with the City of Göteborg, among others, aimed to measure the time, efficiency and environmental impact associated with commuting.

“Greater collaboration between industry and society is essential to overcome the environmental challenges that face us,” says Niklas Gustavsson, director of environmental and social affairs at AB Volvo.

In addition to the purely environmental benefits, there is tremendous potential for improving the efficiency of the existing road network.

“If this kind of IT-based system can increase people’s motivation to use alternative means of transport, we can also reduce the load on our roads. This means that commercial traffic and the people who have to use their cars will be able to travel more smoothly,“ explains Niklas Gustavsson.

Many environmental problems are global and traffic infarcts during the rush hour affect most of the major cities all over the world. So moving from a prototype to a ready-made offer represents an exciting business opportunity.

“We are currently analysing the results and they look promising. Several of the participants are going to continue commuting by bus, as they have seen just how smoothly it works,” concludes Kerstin Hanson.

Facts relating to the technology
The participants used their mobile phones to contact a website where they registered. The environmental impact was calculated on the basis of distance and means of transport. Tickets for public transport could also be purchased via mobile phones and eco cars could be booked and unlocked in the same way.

Press images are available at

May 27, 2009

For more information, please contact Jan Strandhede, Media Relations Manager, Volvo IT, tel +46 31 323 37 15.