To accelerate carbon-emission reduction, the Finnish city of Lahti offers citizens free transport tickets and food as rewards for being "eco-citizens". And for this, citizens make use of a dedicated app.
The "CitiCap" initiative, funded by the European Union, invites inhabitants to track their carbon emissions when commuting or travelling, through an app that detects whether they are using a car or public transports, walking or cycling. Each week, voluntary citizens get a "carbon quota" which, if not used by the deadline set, turns into "virtual euros" they can use to get access to the swimming pool, bus tickets, or a piece of cake in one of the city's cafés.
"Lahti still relies very much on cars, our objective is that, by 2030, 50% of all trips are made through sustainable mobility means", told project manager Anna Huttunen to the AFP. Currently, 44% of the trips in the city are considered as "sustainable".
The long-term objective of the initiative is to develop a new method that boosts eco-friendly behaviours, making use of an individual trading system of carbon-emission rights that other cities can replicate, the founders explain. If they exceed the quota, they pay, but if they emit less than the amount set, they can sell the surplus.
On average, a citizen in Lahti "emits 21 kilograms of CO2 equivalent a week", according to Research Manager Ville Uusitalo. The app sets the challenge of reducing emissions by 1/4, which corresponds to replace a 20km car trip by the equivelant in public transport or by bike. "You can earn up to two euros (a week) if your transport-related emissions are really low. But this autumn, we intend to mutliple this price by ten", Ville explains.
© photo City of Lahti