Circularity Compass topics by Rupprecht
Circularity Compass topics by Rupprecht

Public transport heading to circular business model

Date: 29.02.2024
Public transport helps to lower emissions but it is still resource- and waste-intensive in itself. The CE4CE project reduces the ecological footprint of public transport (PT) through a higher circularity. The partners identify circularity gaps and develop innovative circular economy models for planners and operators. They provide guidance on how to incorporate circular economy principles into procurement processes for services and infrastructure and design more circular products and business models.

In the face of the climate crisis and thus with an urgent and undisputable need for all business sectors to turn to circular economy mode, public transport will definitely not stay behind. And what it also now has at hand is an outstanding benchmarking tool so as to precisely assess where it starts this ecological journey from. Developed by trolley:motion with all partners within an ongoing CE4CE Interreg Central Europe project, Circularity Compass, or The Public Transport Circular Economy Self-Assessment Tool, is a useful, simplified and user-friendly survey for public and private transport authorities (PTAs) and operators (PTOs), allowing them to estimate the status quo, reflect on challenges and opportunities, and identify possible and realistic actions for the transition to fully circular public transport systems.

The circular economy concept in public transport specifically aims to profoundly rethink and redesign public transport systems so that materials stop being wasted and environmental footprints along the entire value chain are reduced to net zero. In an ideal fully circular public transport value chain, products are durable, repairable and reusable by design in order to keep them circulating as long as possible and therefore reduce the extraction and use of new raw materials and resources to the utmost achievable extent. Once assets and material resources reach their maximum lifespan, transformation processes such as recycling are deployed to recover materials and put them back into the game, i.e. the value chain.

Sounds exciting? So how to get there and what is your starting point? The Circularity Compass survey questions one by one, depending on your company’s specific activities, will refer to and guide you through PT key areas, i.e. vehicles, fuels used, charging infrastructure, energy consumption or facilities as well as “softer” organisational and personnel aspects, all with a common aim to identify your position on the circularity map, raise awareness, give abundance of directions and food for thought in terms of the supply, operation, and maintenance of assets in your organisation, and finally come to conclusions how to adjust your PT business to make it more sustainable and closer to net zero.

Does your organization have an estimate of the quantity of some of the raw materials that are used for your vehicles manufacturing? What kind of measures has your company undertaken to extend the lifespan of your fleet in the last five years? These are the kind of insightful and eye-opening questions providing an array of answers to select from that PTOs and PTAs might expect in the survey which, like a compass, will show them the right direction to circular economy model.

The Compass is now about to be tested among CE4CE project partners in the form of workshops with various stakeholders. Public Transport, are you ready to go on the exciting journey towards circularity? Then let’s set off!

Stay tuned for the forthcoming release of the Circularity Self-Assessment Tool and feel free to reach out if you want to know more the Compass and the CE4CE project!

Author: Marta Woronowicz (trolley:motion)