Gothenburg's innovativeness stengthened by unique transport initiative
The Gothenburg region is growing. As a result, the demand for transport is constantly increasing. At the same time, the city has committed to reducing its climate footprint to almost zero by 2030.
As an element in solving this problem, the City of Gothenburg (through Business Region Göteborg) started the Gothenburg Green City Zone in January 2020. This was in collaboration with Volvo Cars and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. The zone is an open arena for innovation. Anyone who wants to and is able to contribute can join the initiative and be part of collaborations developing and testing new technology in a real city environment. The goal is to build an emission-free transport system in large parts of Gothenburg by 2030.
“To reach zero emissions, we need to work on reducing the number of vehicles on our roads. Concurrently, we must increase micromobility throughout the city and electrify the remaining vehicles. By working from needs, we want to bring companies on board for this major change. Centred on various zones, we have chosen to review all types of transport and needs simultaneously and find system solutions that can also be scaled up for larger geographical areas,” reveals Maria Strömberg, director of Clusters & Innovation at Business Region Göteborg.
Testing in three selected areas
The three areas are Lindholmen, a rapidly expanding part of the city, Forsåker in Mölndal and the Event District in central Gothenburg. Lindholmen is a vibrant business hub with many people moving around and commuting in and out of the area. Forsåker is the development of a new district in Mölndal, where approximately 3,000 homes and workplaces for 4,000 people will be constructed. Finally, the city’s event district is located between Korsvägen and Ullevi. The area is visited by seven to eight million tourists every year, it has around 20,000 car commuters daily and is a busy hub for public transport.
“There are also hundreds of entrepreneurs and an extremely large number of residents here. How do we involve them on the basis of their needs and get, for example, a shop to collaborate on sharing goods transport with its neighbours along the street? And how do we create smart solutions that make the environment pleasanter and more accessible without masses of cars on the streets?” muses Maria.
Logistics hubs as a solution
To investigate the possibility of creating regional and local logistics hubs as a solution for greatly reducing traffic in the Event District, RISE is now leading a pilot study. Named REDIG, the study covers Gothenburg Green City Zone. The Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre, Liseberg, Got Event, Volvo Technology, World of Volvo and Göteborg Energi are the bodies participating in the study.
“In the pilot study, we are identifying, for example, which logistics solutions are needed for joint goods transport that makes business sense and is sustainable. Other issues are the optimum location of logistics hubs and which services are needed there. Using in-depth interviews with all the participating bodies and data from their logistics flows and deliveries, we have mapped out needs and challenges,” states Anna Eriksson, senior project manager at RISE.
Anna adds: “In the first stage, we’ve identified that the major suppliers are already fairly optimised. However, there are many small transport flows that we can improve so there is less traffic in the city.”
Collaboration builds innovativeness
When the analyses are complete, the next step is a workshop with all those involved. The aims are to further discuss their business models and find solutions via dialogue.
“Assembling all the major bodies in one place means they can learn from each other and see how they can optimise their flows. Strategic collaboration is what leads innovation,” asserts Anna.
Maria agrees: “We need to increase collective innovativeness. We can do this via initiatives such as Gothenburg Green City Zone. Here, companies can meet, exchange knowledge and find new collaborations around innovative solutions. Preferably, the value chains built in company collaborations should be as long as possible. This is when we discover system solutions and learn how they can be scaled up.”
Taxi wireless charging tests
A number of other pilot studies are in progress in Gothenburg Green City Zone, as well as a series of tests. One of these is the Wireless Charging project. Running until 2025, this is studying the inductive charging of taxis in live traffic. It involves taxi operator Cabonline, this and their fully electric Volvo XC40s. Driven in live taxi traffic, the cars are using wireless charging stations at specially prepared bays at Lindholmen and at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The project also includes Volvo Cars, Göteborg Energi, Momentum Dynamics and Vattenfall InCharge.
“We are collaboratively studying new charging technology with real users in commercial traffic and evaluating if said technology has future potential. For us, the focus is on knowledge gathering. This is a way of learning not only about user perceptions, but also about the technology and the societal aspects. It gives us greater insight into what scaling up the technology volume-wise would entail,” discloses Robert Eriksson, senior technical project manager, electromobility, Volvo Cars.
More tests in the initiative
Investigation of emission-free transport in the form of micromobility is another example of the testing taking place within Gothenburg Green City Zone. Bravida’s service personnel are getting between their various assignments using electric bicycles and mopeds, ordinary bicycles and their own two feet. In the Emission-free Events project, Göteborg & Co, Business Region Göteborg and Got Event have jointly drawn up climate calculations for events and mapped out emission sources. The next step is to develop a method for reducing emissions. Yet another example is RISE’s analysis of how DB Schenker’s vehicle fleet is used. The idea is to learn about flows, needs and what is required for a switch to fully electric vehicles.
“I feel that, through initiatives such as Gothenburg Green City Zone, the business community is gaining a better understanding of what the city wants. It is also seeing the market potential of being part of collaborative innovation. Said potential is both local and an opportunity for products to enter the global market,” reveals Maria.
Maria concludes: “This is an investment in businesses and the reduction of negative impact on the climate and the environment. It is also a drive to create more, new, sustainable jobs in Gothenburg.”