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Transport and Environment Alliance for Urban Sustainability

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
TELLUS (Results 1 - PF1: CVF - Clean Vehicle F...)
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

CIVITAS (City – Vitality - Sustainability) is a European Commission (Commission) initiative to promote cleaner and better transport in cities. Through the CIVITAS Initiative, the Commission aims to generate a decisive breakthrough in clean and better urban transport by supporting and evaluating the implementation of ambitious integrated and sustainable urban transport strategies that make a real difference for the mobility and quality of life of citizens.

Under the umbrella of the CIVITAS initiative, five European cities were clustered in the TELLUS project: Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Berlin (Germany), Göteborg (Sweden), Gdynia (Poland) and Bucharest (Romania). Within the TELLUS project 48 demonstration measures were implemented, which varied in number and differed widely regarding contents, type and underlying policies. Particular local circumstances, specific city characteristics as well as needs expressed, problems faced and priorities given shaped the selection of a specific set of innovative transport measures in each city.




The TELLUS project set itself ambitious transport-related, environmental and societal objectives to be reached after four years (2006). Moreover the project formulated target quantifications also for 2010. This orientation towards objectives emphasised the process character of the project not ending with its financial assistance but bringing effects for the city beyond this phase.

The specific objectives of the project were to:

  • increase the modal share in favour of public transport;
  • increase public transport use;
  • reduce road casualties and injured people;
  • reduce congestion;
  • reduce car kilometres;
  • increase bicycle kilometres;
  • reduce air pollution and noise to levels below national and EC directives;
  • reduce NOx emission from heavy traffic;
  • reduce traffic related CO2 emissions and energy use;
  • improve intra-organisational co-operation at the city level;
  • achieve extensive political and public awareness for TELLUS;
  • improved public-private co-operation.

Each city implemented a set of measures. There are no two cities that had exactly the same mix of measures. The number and spectrum of measures differed from city to city according to the focus identified as relevant for the respective city and the city’s role within the CIVITAS-Initiative (leading cities and followers). Rotterdam implemented 26 measures, Berlin 10, Göteborg 8, Bucharest 4, and Gdynia implemented only 1 measure. 

The TELLUS demonstration measures were not an isolated attempt to improve the living conditions of the citizens, but they were integrated into the cities’ urban transport policies and plans. In general, the focus of the TELLUS project was on translating urban transport policy into practical implementation of innovative measures, whereas ‘innovative’ is understood in the city-specific context. However, not all measures were concerned with implementation, but some aimed at preparing the ground while others supported strategies and measures by developing a concept to be implemented later and/or through a different scheme. Out of the 48 TELLUS measures 28 were aiming at direct implementation, 17 at concept development and implementation, and 3 measures developed concepts only. 


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


This form reports on the TELLUS results relating to the CIVITAS policy field “Clean public and private vehicle fleets” according to the demonstration site (Berlin, Bucharest, Göteborg, Gdynia, Rotterdam) and measure. If you are interested in the TELLUS results relating to other CIVITAS policy fields, please see the form "TELLUS (Overview)" available on the TRKC website to identify the exact name of the policy field and search the corresponding form on the TRKC website.

1) Berlin (Germany).

- Introduction of CNG-powered vehicles.


The aim of the measure was to bring at least 100 additional CNG-powered (Compressed Natural Gas) distribution lorries of different weight classes (3.5 – 24 t) onto Berlin’s roads. In order to achieve this objective information material was to be developed and distributed, and it was planned to conduct special information events for target groups and potential customers. In particular the haulage companies operating from the planned new city logistics centre were supposed to be addressed. Improving the information basis of potential users was seen to be of particular importance, since the measure dealt with the application of a new technology, i.e. CNG-vehicles, which had thus far been unknown to the target groups. Additionally, financial assistance for purchasing CNG-vehicles was supposed to compensate for the higher costs of a CNG-vehicle compared to a conventional Diesel driven vehicle. Moreover, it was planned to further support the customers by offering technical assistance during the introduction phase.


At the beginning of the demonstration measure it turned out that there was a general reservation towards the equivalent performance of CNG compared to conventional vehicles, and the tax-privilege on natural gas as fuel had not really been noticed. By an intense information campaign these problems could be partly smoothed out so that the demand for CNG-lorries enhanced during the demonstration measure and the objective ”financial support of the purchase of 100 CNG-lorries” could be achieved in August 2005. The demand for the subsidies of CNG-lorries is still ongoing. On the 6 October 2005 91 lorries supported in the context of the demonstration measure were on the road, 48 requests were under examination by the demonstrator and 16 requests were postponed

Technical Implications

The technical implications relating to the CIVITAS policy field “Clean public and private vehicle fleets” according to the demonstration site (Berlin, Bucharest, Göteborg, Gdynia, Rotterdam) and measure are as follows.

Göteborg (Sweden).

- Introduction of clean waste collection vehicles

Even though it has been shown that the clean vehicles do improve the environmental performance with respect to emissions, noise and fuel consumptions there are some potential to improve the performance even further.

At the emission measurements rather high peaks of hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide were detected at the start of the engine. In order to improve the environmental performance even further the engine should be optimised for usage with hybrid technique.

Another area of improvement concerns the batteries. In the clean vehicles ordinary lead batteries were used, which have a total weight of about 1,100 kg. Further improvements of the vehicles should focus on better batteries (i.e. batteries with more power per unit of weight), as well as replacing the lead content with a more environmentally friendly material.

Another area of environmental improvement for future generations is to completely replace the fuel used in waste collection vehicles by electricity. The clean vehicles do use electricity but only during the actual waste collection procedure (i.e. lifting and compaction of waste).

Another possible improvement is to make use of the kinetic energy of the vehicle during the transport of waste and convert that energy into electrical energy. That is when the vehicles today slow down by applying the brakes, the kinetic energy is lost as heat. Instead that energy could possibly be recovered and stored in a battery as electrical energy. As waste collection in densely populated areas is characterised by many stops, this is considered as a major area for improvement.

Policy implications

The general policy implications relating to the CIVITAS policy field “Clean public and private vehicle fleets” are the following.

  • Cities should continue a dialogue on the availability of a broad range of clean vehicles. One of the current barriers to using clean vehicles is the insufficient range of vehicles available;
  • Cities should help in creating the market for clean vehicles. Through converting their own vehicle fleets and organise promotion campaigns for the uptake by other organisations and private persons cities can play an important role in creating a market for clean vehicles;
  • Availability of an area wide network of filling stations should be assured. The user surveys in the framework of TELLUS show that one of the most important requirements is an area wide network of CNG filling stations;
  • Governments should introduce and maintain a reduced fuel tax (up to 2019);
  • Actively combine clean vehicles activities with accompanying measures. The introduction of cleaner vehicles should be enforced by measures like environmental zones or road pricing linked to the PM10 and NO2 emissions, special parking areas with lower parking fees for vehicle fulfilling low emission standards;
  • Establish a common European definition for “clean vehicle”, which would facilitate the development of subsidy schemes and accompanying measures;
  • Appreciate the complexity of clean vehicle measures. The modernisation of a vehicle fleet is a complex equation and consequently includes more variables which have to be considered as transport demand, the architecture of urban space, the environmental factors, etc... Implementing new technologies is not the only solution: improvements in tram infrastructure can for example mead to considerable gains in energy efficiency and related emissions;
  • Communicate combined information on ecology, economy and infrastructure. To increase the clean vehicle fleet, companies require other arguments such as financial rather than environmental. Emphasis is placed on rather than purchasing costs. The good lesson learnt is that if information on the ecology, economy and infrastructure are combined and addressed towards selected target groups, it is possible to influence buyers to choose vehicles with lower emissions if the overall running costs and function are similar to the standard vehicle;


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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