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No idling taxicabs in Umeå


Detailed description of the Good Practice

As many other cities in Europe, Umeå have problems with pollution of the air. In fact, Umeå exceeds the limits for air. One of the largest challenges for the town is to improve the quality of air.

In Umeå there are 200 taxicabs that runs an average of 300 days/year. Each cab picks up and leaves passengers in town about 40 times each 24 hour. That is 8000 stops each 24 hour and 2.400 000 stops/year in Umeå. We discovered that the taxicabs almost never turn off the engine when they wait for- and drop off passengers. In fact they left their engines idling an average of 5 minutes/stop, that means 3 hours and 20 min/taxicab X 200 taxicabs = 640 hours idling engines in 24 hours only in Umeå. Those 200 idling engines discharge 685.800 kg of carbon dioxide each year – that’s only when they don’t move!

Our goal was to make visible that idling taxicabs was a problem an also to stop unnecessarily idling and reduce the discharge of carbon dioxide. This we did thru education of all taxi drivers and also challenged the drivers to a competition. The driver that could reduce their fuel consumption of their car the most in relation to the quantity of kilometres driven would win a very special price! We also made media aware of the project so that passengers would remind the drivers when they forgot to turn off their engine.

200 taxicabs reduced the unnecessarily idling with 90% witch means a saving of 617.220 kg of carbon dioxide. In Stockholm there are 5000 taxicabs and I Sweden? In Europe?

air quality
awareness raising

Objectives of the Good Practice

Our goal was to make visible that idling taxicabs was a problem an also to stop unnecessarily idling and reduce the discharge of carbon dioxide.

The planning started in January 2009 and we implemented the practice at the first taxicab company in February. The practice went on for thee months. In may 2009 we implemented the practice at the second taxicab company and will be finished in September. The quality of the practice is very high, because the outcome of the practice is so fast. With very little money and simple means, anyone can do it and the savings of the environmental, health and money comes right away.

Participants of the Good Practice

Taxicab drivers and managers of taxicab companies.

Target group of the Good Practice

Taxicab drivers and managers of taxicab companies

Funding of the Good Practice

The practice does not cost us anything in money, only our own time that we have to spend on measurements and education of the taxi drivers.

More Details of the Good Practice

The innovativeness of this practice is first of all in the discovery of the problem with idling taxi cars. Nobody (that we know about) has made visible that if you add up all little stops that taxi cabs do in one day, we do get a massive amount of unnecessary carbon dioxide discharge. Not even the taxi drivers themselves could have believed that they did leave their car engines on for such a long time, all the short stops added up together.
The other innovative part of the practice is that that it is so simple - anyone could do it! It does not cost anything and the taxi cab companies saved a massive amount of money that they could use to educate their drivers even further. The managers of the taxi companies did not either know about the problem and were of course interested in how much money they cold save and how they could contribute to the overall environmental work in the city. They did use this in their marketing of their companies.

We made a fun competition out of the whole practice. Instead of telling the drivers that they are the bad guys, we made it to something positive. They thought it was fun and interesting, and they all talked proudly of their company. And they cold get personal benefit for joining the practice – that means they did it because they wanted too, not because they had to.

The practice is so cheap and easy to complete, it could be done by anyone in any town anywhere in world, because we are sure the problem is the same all over the world.

Available files

Contact details

Carina Aschan

Umea Kommun, SE-901 84

Data sources and references

Environmental Award 2009
UBC Commission on Environment
Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 2/2009