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1/14/2019 10:00 AM

Allocation of emission allowances for mobility investigated through a survey

The main objective of the CitiCAP (Citizens’ cap-and-trade co-created) project is to reduce the emissions from urban transport by means of personal carbon trading. Personal emissions are traded using a mobile application based on identification of the form of mobility. An application that identifies the form of mobility and that will be integrated into the final personal carbon trading app has been tested with residents. The fair allocation of personal emission allowances has been investigated with an allocation survey conducted on residents.
CitiCAP-app

​The aim of the survey carried out by researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) was to determine which allocation method for emission allowances Lahti residents feel is fair and just. The survey received 304 responses.

 About 30 students from Lahti University of Applied Sciences participated in collecting responses by interviewing Lahti residents. This resulted in 208 responses from pedestrians, cyclists and bus passengers. In addition, responses were received through the CitiCAP mailing list, the city's website and the electronic survey shared on social media.

The emissions cap to be set for the City of Lahti, calculated based on the city's emission reduction targets, determines the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that the city is allowed to produce and the number of emission allowances that can be allocated between residents. The respondents had the opportunity to state whether they want everyone to have the same emission quota or if the quotas should be adjusted according to life situation.

The most popular allocation method was user-specific allocation, supported by 47.4% of the respondents (n=144). With a user-specific emission quota, the number of emission allowances per participant is determined by life situation. The emission allowances are allocated equally, but certain needs grant more allowances for the quota. Factors which may increase the emission quota include, for example, the number of children or living away from public transport routes. The next most widely supported option was the equal emission reduction target, which was selected by 33.6% of the respondents (n=102). With an equal reduction target, all participants aim to reduce their own emissions from mobility by the same percentage.

The least popular was equal allocation where all users would receive an emission quota of the same size. It was supported by 19.1% of the respondents (n=58).

"User-specific allocation was consistently the most popular across all respondent groups, but there were small differences between different allocation methods, for example, between respondent groups of different socioeconomic status, gender, age and ones living at different distances", says Junior Researcher Tuuli Ronkainen from LUT.

In addition to the survey, an allocation game in which the allocation of emission allowances was considered through a game develop by LUT researchers was tested at events. The responses received in the game will also be taken into account as qualitative data in deciding the allocation method. Tuuli Ronkainen is working on a scientific article based on the allocation survey that will be published in early 2019.

"That the basis for the allocation of emission allowances is considered fair is very important for the project's acceptability", says CitiCAP Project Manager Anna Huttunen.

The starting point for personal carbon trading is to involve individuals in climate action, to encourage them to re-evaluate their own mobility from an environmental perspective and to reward residents for sustainable mobility choices.

 User testing of mobility app underway

Lahti has already launched the test version of a mobility application with which users can track their daily trips and the resulting emissions. The application automatically identifies the different forms of mobility. The app will later be incorporated into the actual carbon trading application, Kulkukauppa.

This experiment with a limited number of users allows the CitiCAP project to gain unique data on travel chains and the carbon footprint of users' mobility. The data can be used to prepare the final application and the calculation rules for the CitiCAP carbon trading pilot. The data collected will also be used to test technical architecture and integrations as well as to experiment with analysis methods. 

The data collected through the application also provides valuable information on the mobility of residents that is needed to promote sustainable mobility in the city.