Keolis' approach to environmental issues goes beyond the pure assumption that using public transport is more environmentally friendly than using a personal vehicle. As a provider of transport solutions and an operator of thousands of vehicles, Keolis is proactive in promoting solutions which contribute to limit substantially their impact on the environment. As well as often being financially more efficient, this is a key expectation expressed by both local authorities and passengers. These are the main areas in which Keolis aims to reduce its carbon footprint.
Using (better) fuel better
- Development of alternative fuels. More than 1500 Keolis vehicles currently run on water-based diesel emulsions; in Sweden more than 3000 of Busslink's buses run on ethanol (partly due to an embargo on diesel buses in the city centre), and an increasing number of buses run on natural gas or biogas. Of particular note are the cities of Stockholm (where a plant supplies a Busslink depot with biogas) and Lille (where the metropolitan council is about to launch a similar system next to Keolis' Sequedin depot).
- Saving electricity. Trolleybuses running on electricity are better for city air quality than diesel buses, and most new rail projects rely on electrical multiple units (EMU) rather than their diesel equivalent. In addition, Keolis' tracked vehicles are increasingly fitted with regenerative braking, which injects electrical current back into the network and therefore reduces net consumption. This is the case in Britain and Germany and also in some tram systems, in particular in the upcoming Bergen system.
- Defensive driving. Various schemes have been implemented to encourage drivers to limit their use of fuel and drive defensively. In France drivers are trained in defensive driving and the estimated savings in fuel are converted into energy saving certificates which can be negotiated on the market. In Sweden buses are equipped with handheld devices connected to the engine which monitor fuel use and indicate excessive acceleration or braking. Drivers can then measure their performance against each other and qualify for performance-related bonuses.
- Fleet management. More than 50% of the Keolis fleet today meets Euro3 standards and an increasing number of buses meet Euro5 standards. Keolis' consistent aim is to work gradually towards a lower average age, as newer vehicles are more fuel-efficient.
Environmental Management Systems
Keolis' operating subsidiaries implement environmental management systems in their depots and workshops and aim to reject as little waste and effluent possible into the environment. Beyond the ISO 14001 certification of workshops, Keolis has also introduced a benchmark EMS certification in France called Label Vert (Green Label), recognised under the self-declared standard ISO 14021. Areas covered by the label include:
- Managing industrial waste, recycling oils and detergents via the appropriate channels
- Efficient use and recycling of washing water
- The protection of soil and sub soil, through using building technologies which prevent effluents from reaching the water table.
- Staff awareness of safety and environmental issues
Advising local authorities
In France local authorities use a carbon assessment tool to measure their transport systems' carbon footprint. This is an area where Keolis can also bring advice and expertise during the redesign of transport networks. In addition Keolis has developed a tool called Parkôvert which measures the economic and environmental impacts of altering a system's bus fleet or fuel used. The tool integrates investment costs so as to be a comprehensive decision-making aid.