Carbon-Efficient Mobility and Carbon Foot-Printing

(Wright, Kemp & Williams, 2011) define Carbon Footprint as "A measure of the total amount of CO2 and CH4 emissions of a defined population, system or activity, considering all relevant sources, sinks and storage within the spatial and temporal boundary of the population, system or activity of interest. Calculated as CO2 equivalents using the relevant 100-year global warming potential (GWP100)." Indeed, by including populations, systems, and activities, this definition covers both, the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) and the Carbon Footprint of Individuals (CFI), as well as other, less commonly used classes of Carbon Footprints. PCF is already defined and analysed by industry-related organisations or ministry departments (BDI, 2010). For CFI, related calculators and estimation techniques have already appeared on the market (Carbon Footprint, 2013).

Not only the techniques that are used by online CFI calculators, but also recent surveys (Walser, Nodvin & Draggan, 2010) indicate the role of transport means (private vehicles among them) for the total CFI. Four out of the six categories involved in the calculator of for the calculation of CFI are related to transport, while the survey of (Walser, Nodvin & Draggan, 2010) has shown that 10% of the total Carbon Footprint (including PCF, industry, etc.) comes from private transport (note that holiday flights are NOT included). Thus, private transport, cars probably being the most important factor, is a very promising field for pursuing CFI reductions.

There are some approaches that motivate individuals to reduce their CFI, e.g., (Mankoff et al., 2007), which considers the use of social networks, such as community-driven carpooling websites, in order to offer such incentives. These services are getting more and more attractive especially to younger people, since they let them save gas (and consequently money). Such services further have the positive side effect of getting to know new like-minded people. Furthermore, projects such as Green Mobility (Green Mobility, 2013) or business initiatives such as BetterTaxi (BetterTaxi, 2013) for CO2-related car and taxi sharing business models provide further ideas for possible CFI reductions.

Another approach aiming at reducing the environmental impact of motorised traffic is directly addressing the drivers, and motivating them to adopt an environmentally friendly driving style. Studies (e.g. Matsumoto et al. 2013, Cuevas 2013, Fiat "eco:Drive" 2010, …) figured out that by "eco driving", also called "green driving", quite considerable fuel savings and related CO2 reduction can be achieved. In recent years, "eco driving" is coming more and more into the focus of public authorities (e.g. since 2005 in Switzerland training on "eco driving" forms a mandatory part of the driving license courses), and many car manufacturers and traders (e.g. CITROEN, FIAT, VOLVO, FORD, UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, …) set activities to support "eco driving". In addition to the inclusion of eco-driving feedback (e.g., Toyota’s “eco-drive indicator”) or eco-driving advise (e.g., display of suggested gear) in the vehicle’s dashboard, some car companies offer a whole range of eco-driving tools (e.g., Renault’s R-Link offers the driver tools that can trace the eco-driver profile, assess each trip, and give personal advice to help consume less fuel).
Several European projects were/are focussing on "eco driving": some projects (e.g. ECODRIVEN, ECOSTAND, AMITRAN, ECOeffect, ECOWILL,…) look(ed) closer on the behaviour change aspects and developed guidelines and recommendations, some other projects (e.g. COSMO, FREILOT, eCoMove, ecoDriver, …) develop(ed) technologies  to support "eco driving" by Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).
Many organisations offer “eco driving” courses and certificates, and e.g., the Swiss Quality Alliance Eco-Drive QAED offers even “self-service eco-driving simulators”.
There are also several apps for mobile phones and tablet computers (e.g. AXA Eco-Driving, FIAT eco:Drive, AA Eco Drive, My Car Driving, Efficiency Pro, EcoSpeed, greenMeter, STR EcoDriving Lite,…) available at the market, aiming to support drivers to adopt an environmentally friendly, fuel saving driving style.
Also services/products targeting fleet owners and professional drivers include the aspects of carbon-efficient and fuel saving driving styles, and offer in-car devices (among these products are for example OptiDrive™ from TomTom Telematics, and EcoTrak from CMS SupaTrak Ltd), whcih alert drivers in real-time about risks and fuel saving issues such as e.g., speeding, harsh braking, harsh accelerating, etc. While these devices use the data directly retrieved from the vehicle’s CAN bus as a basis, there are also approaches (e.g., Stoichov R., 2013) to use data retrieved from the smartphone’s built-in sensors as a basis for assessing the driving style and developing resulting eco-driving recommendations and allerts for the driver.

Many interest groups and governments have strategies in place to achieve carbon-efficient mobility, notably UITP the International Association of Public Transport, the European Commission (white paper on transport), the European Cyclist Federation, and OICA the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.

References and Further Reading

Quality Alliance eco-drive QAED, “Ecodrive – Selbstbedienungs-Simulatoren.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 04-Mar-2015].

R. Stoichov, “Android Smartphone Application for Driving Style Recognition.” Project Thesis, TU Munich, Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Institute for Media Technology, Distributed Multimodal Information Processing Group, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eckehard Steinbach, 2013.

“CMS SupaTrak Ltd | Vehicle Telematics & Connected Fleet Solutions | Safer Driving Assistant (SDA).” [Online]. Available:!safer-driving-assistant-sda/cun6. [Accessed: 03-Mar-2015].

“Safe and Efficient driving with Active Driver Feedback and WEBFLEET OptiDrive - TomTom Telematics GB.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 03-Mar-2015].

“White paper 2011 - Transport.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 10-Sep-2014].

G. Graves, I. Jeffreys, and M. Roth, “RACQ EcoDrive Research Study.” RACQ EcoDrive Research Study - Final Report, Oct-2012.

J. Tulusan, T. Staake, and E. Fleisch, “Providing eco-driving feedback to corporate car drivers: what impact does a smartphone application have on their fuel efficiency?,” in Proceedings of the 2012 ACM Conference on Ubiquitous Computing, 2012, pp. 212–215.

S. Shaheen, E. Martin, and R. Finson, “Ecodriving and Carbon Footprinting: Understanding How Public Education Can Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Use.” Mineta Transportation Institute, Apr-2012.

D. Hibberd, H. Jamson, S. Jamson, J. Pauwelussen, C. Obdeijn, A. Stuiver, T. Hof, C. von der Weert, G. Paradies, R. Brignolo, C. Barberi, A. Iviglia, and M. Mazza, “ecoDriver - D12.2: Multi-modal in-vehicle and nomadic device eco-driving support for car drivers.” [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 04-Apr-2014].

FIAT ECOdrive, “Eco-Driving Uncovered - The benefits and challenges of eco-driving, based on the first study using real journey data.” 2010.

S. Husnjak, I. Grgurević, and Ž. Šarić, “Principle of measuring the effectiveness of eco-driving using information and communication technologies,” in Proceedings of the 1st Research Conference In Technical Disciplines, 2013, vol. 1, pp. 142–147.

N. Ligterink, “Eco-driving: The driver aspects of fuel consumption,” 13–03-2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 06-Mar-2014].

S. B. Bart Beusen, “Using on-board logging devices to study the long-term impact of an eco-driving course,” Transportation Research Part D Transport and Environment, vol. 14, pp. 514–520, 2009.

S. Matsumoto, T. Park, and H. Kawashima, “A Comparative Study on Fuel Consumption Reduction Effects of Eco-Driving Instructions Strategies,” Int. J. ITS Res., vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1–8, Jan. 2014.

ECoMove, “eCoMove - Cooperative Mobility Systems and Services for Energy Efficiency,” Cooperative Mobility Systems and Services for Energy Efficiency, Feb-2014. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 12-Feb-2014].

“,” carpooling - Europe’s largest carpooling community. [Online]. Available:

BetterTaxi, “BetterTaxi - Taxi App für Android und iPhone,” 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 07-Mar-2013].

Green Mobility, “GREEN MOBILITY,” 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 07-Mar-2013].

Carbon Footprint, “Carbon Footprint Ltd - Individuals, families and groups,” Carbon Footprint, 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 07-Mar-2013].

BDI, “BDI - Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. - Product Carbon Footprint,” 2010. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 07-Mar-2013].

J. Mankoff, D. Matthews, S. R. Fussell, and M. Johnson, “Leveraging social networks to motivate individuals to reduce their ecological footprints,” in System Sciences, 2007. HICSS 2007. 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on, 2007, pp. 87–87.

M. Walser, S. Nodvin, and S. Draggan, “Carbon footprint,” 2010. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 06-Mar-2013].

L. A. Wright, S. Kemp, and I. Williams, “‘Carbon footprinting’: towards a universally accepted definition,” Carbon, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 61–72, 2011.