Reducing carbon emissions through better driving

Drivers from state-run bus company in Karnataka, India (KSRTC) participating in the training workshop in Mysore, Karnataka

In August 2012, EMBARQ India in partnership with Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), organized a driver training, fuel monitoring, and vehicle maintenance workshop in Visakhapatnam, a port city on the southeast coast of India. This workshop was organized as part of EMBARQ India’s ‘Talking Transit’ series of workshops under the FedEx supported Bus Karo Plus programme. The workshop was a result of the best practices identified by EMBARQ India through a performance evaluation project conducted jointly with APSRTC in the city of Vishakhapatnam. APSRTC’s best practices in vehicle maintenance and driver training have resulted in consistently high fuel efficiency. It has also resulted in many awards for the corporation. The workshop was attended by officials from public transport agencies from over 20 cities, and focused on best practices that would help city bus agencies improve their operational efficiency.

EMBARQ India’s Bus Karo Plus programme has three components – ‘Talking Transit’, a workshop series, ‘Mentoring Transit’, assisting agencies in impleneting pilot projects, and ‘Learning Transit’, developing and disseminating training material.

As part of the ‘Mentoring Transit’ initiative, after the workshop in Vishakapatnam, EMBARQ India organized driver training workshops in Delhi, with Star Bus; in Mysore with the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC); and in Bangalore with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC).

About 30 drivers from each of these cities  have been trained by Mohammed Haneef, a former APSRTC driver who is now a consultant with them for fuel efficiency and safety. Haneef, who was instrumental in developing the driver training course for APSRTC, introduced the drivers to two driving methods – ‘smart driving skills’ which has five principles of safe and fuel efficient driving and ‘momentum mode driving’, which uses the momentum of the vehicle to reduce the fuel intake into the engine. The first workshop was held in Delhi with Starbus buses, where 37 drivers were trained. After the training, it was observed that the fuel efficiency increased by 67%. Similar results were also observed in Bangalore (42% increase) and Mysore (21.5%). The improved fuel efficiency not only raises the operational efficiency of these agencies but also reduces their CO2 emissions.

Considering, for example, that the drivers trained through these pilot workshops maintain the improved fuel efficiency, the total carbon savings per day from the three cities will be close to 2.5 tonnes. If all the drivers in the depot improve their fuel efficiency, the fuel savings will be about 18 tonnes. If all the drivers in these organizations improve their fuel efficiency up to 296 tonnes  of carbon emissions can be reduced.

Carbon Emissions Reduced

Under the current operational environment, the three organizations can save up to 90,000 tonnes of CO2 per year between them. In addition to the reduction in CO2 emissions, higher fuel efficiency can also help reduce fuel expenses by INR 1.072 billion per year (US$ 18.4 million). This money can then be used to improve operations.

Money Saved

EMBARQ India strongly believes that there is great potential for carbon savings from bus transport agencies. By promoting good driving habits, road safety can also be improved. To achieve this, EMBARQ India is working at three levels:

  • Assisting organizations to include fuel efficiency monitoring as an organizational process: good monitoring and incentive schemes are essential for successfully achieving these fuel efficiency levels.
  • Safe driver training habits and monitoring: With the increase use of technologies such as GPS, there is potential for incident management. Ride smoothness, hard braking and acceleration can all be monitored.
  • Finally, EMBARQ India is also working towards scaling up this process to all transport organizations in India. EMBARQ currently works with transport organizations in 20 cities and through this program, more cities would be added to the network.


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