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Advances in cleantech, energy efficiency and sustainability continue to push their way into more and more places, and it’s none too soon. Look no further than current conditions in northeastern China, where clouds of choking smog are closing businesses, schools and airports, to see why reduced emissions are critical to both our health and that of the planet. Happily, many countries are taking steps to provide clean, reliable transportation and aiming toward a greener future.
The Caribbean nation of Aruba has recently announced new 60-passenger buses in an effort to keep the island and its famous beaches in their pristine condition. As part of a plan to become the first carbon-neutral country with complete energy independence, the new ARUBUS vehicles are all-electric, produce zero emissions and are long-range to boot. Running on wind-generated electricity, the BYD-manufactured buses should save Aruba approximately $600,000 USD over the course of their 12-year-plus lifespan.
The state of Utah is also getting in on the next generation of electric sustainable public transportation. First developed at the University of Utah to move students around campus, the new WAVE buses use a savvy wireless charging system to keep people moving all day long. With intermittent – and brief – stops on charging pads along the bus route, the batteries do not need to be as large, leading to reduced weight, faster charging and fewer costs. Now in use in Park City, UT, WAVE is planning to roll out their offering in 10-20 more U.S. cities over the coming year.
The Finnish capital of Helsinki is also innovating with their bus system by letting riders choose the route. Linking to a smartphone app for both summoning rides and payment, the Kutsuplus system of minibuses allows people to book private transit or share with others, while only charging for the distance traveled. Though cabs in Finland are expensive, the service is not aiming to put them out of business. Rather, the regional transportation authorities are using these on-demand buses to aid and encourage people to use public transit who may otherwise have had to make multiple transfers between bus and train routes. With the environmental benefit of fewer private cars on the road, free onboard Wi-Fi and no downtown parking costs, the Kutsuplus seems destined for success.
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