The CitiCAP Project aimed to change the attitude and behaviour of citizens towards mobility to promote the shift from private car use to sustainable mobility. The lack of mass-transit options in Lahti, and in many other medium-size European cities, emphasised the need to create smart mobility solutions to reduce traffic CO2 emissions. Approximately 32% of total CO2 emissions is contributed by the traffic sector within the city area of Lahti.
Today roughly 250 European cities have fostered their mobility planning using the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) process. However, the participation of citizens to integrated mobility planning and new radical SUMP incentives required the revision of the SUMP process. CitiCAP seeked to develop new transport services for citizens while creating innovative incentives for sustainable mobility.
The project also focused on integrating the ITS approach into the sustainable urban mobility planning. Cities produce large amounts of mobility and traffic data, which society cannot fully utilise because this data is very segregated and is normally not made available to the public. Different traffic data produced in Lahti accumulate to differential storages and data providers.
The CitiCAP Project focused on co-creating and implementing a Personal Carbon Trading (PCT) scheme for mobility to reduce traffic emissions in Lahti. This was a first city-wide pilot of PCT ever performed within the EU. Through the PCT scheme citizens received benefits, such as discounted bus tickets or bicycle repair services, in exchange for smart mobility choices. In practice, the personal carbon footprint for mobility was calculated with a new mobile application based on a transport mode detection solution.
The project seeked to build a new model for the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) process by integrating the traffic and spatial master planning processes into the same co-designed entity. Strategic investments in cycling was included in the combined planning process to increase the impacts. It will include a smart main cycle route.
One of the basic requirements of CitiCAP was to collect comprehensive data on people's mobility choices. A light and replicable mobility data platform was created to implement PCT and to serve as a planning tool for city mobility planners as well as an open access mobility data source for innovators.
The PCT pilot in Lahti showed that it is possible to implement a voluntary PCT system using ICT technology. According to the final survey, 36% of users changed their mobility behavior into a more sustainable direction, which can be regarded as a good result. The final survey also indicates that information on one’s own emissions and one’s willingness to challenge oneself were more important than the CO2 price. However, magnitude of the decrease in emission levels could not be clearly separated from the impacts of COVID‐19.
User specific emission allocation was considered fair, but for users with high mobility emissions, it was challenging to stay within the allocated emission allowances. Therefore, a relative allocation method should be also considered especially in PCT pilots which only include incentivizing features. Now it could be seen that it is relatively challenging to keep users interested in using the application, which is a common challenge with most applications. The pilot also shows that many users may find PCT and emission price levels difficult to understand.
Further technical improvements are still needed e.g. to the accuracy of mobility mode recognition. It is also possible to cheat the system by e.g. turning the GPS off, and 21% of users confessed that they somehow cheated in the system.
Based on the Lahti pilot, it can be concluded that voluntary PCT aiming to provide information on mobility emissions and providing small incentives can be a good tool to support the transition to more sustainable mobility for some of the citizens. However, a mandatory PCT system with penalizing features would make it easier to establish actual emissions trading between users, but its implementation is still challenging. In addition, if there are valuable incentives, related taxation issues as well as data protection should be carefully considered.
The approach strengthened cooperation between cities, researchers and companies, but a larger‐ scale roll‐out would require clear productization of the PCT application. Future pilots could include different allocation and implementation models as well as other sectors of household consumption than mobility to deepen common knowledge on PCT. The optimal carbon price should also be analyzed in future research. The PCT pilot stirred a great deal of interest among individuals, cities and global media. PCT has now been reintroduced into public dialogue, and related research and pilots should continue alongside critical evaluation and discussion.