ENERGY WORKING GROUP
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam
Representatives from Bangladesh, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Thailand, and Viet Nam met in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam on 4 December 2017 to discuss, share and learn about operational and energy efficiency improvements in urban transport projects. The experts’ workshop focused on opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from bus rapid transit projects and reform approach in organizing transport governance in South-East Asia as well as a discussion on how to undertake the transition to an electric bus fleet.
The workshop was organized by the Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Transport Working Group and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in coordination with the Asia LEDS Platform (ALP) on the 4th of December, 2017 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The workshop was funded by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Moderator Angela Enriquez from the World Resources Institute (WRI) led the workshop with expert presentations from GIZ, Integrated Transport Planning (ITP), and WRI Mexico. The experts provided inputs to maximize learning and retention and a platform for a peer-to-peer exchange of experiences on the topic.
The presentations and discussions covered two core topics:
1. Bus sector reforms and service-based contracting
2. Business models for buses and the electrification of the public transport fleet
The 25 participants from Thailand, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, and Viet Nam engaged in intensive discussions on how to spur transport reform and each provided insight into their economies’ experience on linking operational and energy efficiency policies in transport. As an example, Thailand has made large efforts to promote public transport use and combine it with the introduction of 200 new electric buses in cities. The Vietnamese representative reported on the solutions to congestion that particularly bus rapid transit (BRT) systems can deliver. In Hanoi, a new BRT route has so far proven successful and may be expanded and complemented with other transport policies.
Reforming bus operations through service-based contracting and key performance indicators
Mr. Mettke (GIZ) opened the first session by highlighting the connection between urban mobility, public health, and climate change. Through platforms like the Sustainable Urban Transportation Project (SUTP), GIZ addresses key areas of sustainable transport policy for developing cities. Consolidating public transport is a key necessary precondition for making transport more efficient. In order to address challenges in urban transport such as congestion, pollution, and high external costs, it requires modernization and formalization of public transport services. However, improving service standards leads to cost increases, which can act prohibitively to new transport initiatives.
In a second step, Mr. Kaenzig (ITP/GIZ) presented on franchising bus services and key performance indicators as a way to measure and manage bus sector reform. Industry and route consolidation offer opportunities for rationalization and subsequent performance evaluation, he explained, that can increase efficiency and reduce costs and emissions. He drew from case studies in Johannesburg, South Africa; Kaunas, Lithuania; Tiblisi, Georgia; Singapore, and London, UK, where franchising and minimum service standards triggered higher quality and a mode shift towards public transport.
Different forms of contracts are available for initiating these reforms. Additionally, establishing key performance indicators can set the baseline for improving public transport service over time, e.g. by starting with simpler performance metrics on the percentage of schedule operated and excess wait time. Evaluation of indicators can serve to assess network-wide performance, ensure compliance of operators, and increase customer satisfaction and ridership. The correlation of better data and better bus system performance was illustrated with several examples from the last decade.
Transitioning to electrification of the public transport fleet
Mr. Escalante (WRI Mexico) reported on low-and zero-emission vehicles and the significance of this transition for public transport operations. Four trends in cities around the world are worth noticing:
– New stakeholders like utilities are interested in electrification
– New financing mechanisms available reduces upfront costs
– Technological innovations allow for more efficient operations
– Public funding, guarantees, and incentives help stabilize the business environment
Mr. Escalante described the business scenario for public or private fleets and how to overcome barriers for implementation. To overcome barriers and ensure the delivery of complex investments in hybrid and electric buses, there are investment components, funding sources, financial products, and delivery mechanisms to consider. Research by the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities in 25 cities which have successfully deployed electric vehicles provided these pillars of a business model. As an example, Mr. Escalante reviewed the status of the Integrated Public Transportation System of the city of Bogota, which introduced more than 500 hybrid electric buses in 2012.
In a group exercise, the participants were invited to reflect on the business model of transport systems known to them and exchange experience with the group. The goal of this exercise was for participants to identify the responsibilities of national and local policymakers in planning electrification of the public transport sector. Recognizing and learning about facilitation and dialogue mechanism of varying levels of government can help decision makers facilitate project implementation and effective coordination of project-specific support.
The second stage of the exercise consisted of discussing the implications of the business model framework for subnational implementation and concrete steps towards more intergovernmental coordination. Presenting one of the main barriers to implementation, receiving commitments from all agencies has proven crucial in past successful projects.
As a result of the exercise, the participants recognized the complexity of adopting electric buses and the need to involve a variety of stakeholders from across ministries – e.g. Transport, Energy, Utilities – and local stakeholders – e.g. city engineers. This led to the insight to start thinking about who will be involved once officials make the decision to electrify their public transport fleet.
Overall, the workshop was a great venue to find opportunities for collaborations, learn from examples of implementation, and discuss, share and exchange information. Participants expressed their interest to continue these kinds of workshops, having benefited from the lessons learned, relishing the exchange platform created and eager to apply the knowledge acquired.
For more information about the workshop, please contact: Angela Enriquez (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lead of the LEDS Transport Working Group