GoGreen - an overview of our journey

In May 2023,  SWARCO's GoGreen team started a unique journey, traversing various exhibitions and trade fairs across Europe to present their innovative approach in achieving the ambitious climate targets set by the European Green Deal. Since then, we have met with a diverse audience, including city representatives, private industry partners, academicians, traffic experts and engineers in a mission to support them in meeting the EU Green Deal objectives and at the same time, learn about the current market challenges in a tailored manner, to ensure our future development directly responds to our customer need.

In this article we provide a retrospective view of our journey since May 2023, share key outcomes of the GoGreen market survey and insights from Itir Coskun and Rory Abraham (both Innovation Managers at SWARCO), and provide a short outlook of what our stakeholders can expect from the initiative in the future.
Rory Abraham & itir Coskun, SWARCO Innovation Managers

The fast-changing mobility trends and needs require new ways of managing traffic, because the traditional way is no longer sufficient when pollution levels are rising and cities are continuously under pressure with increasing travel demand. GoGreen makes sure cities can experience, how currently existing ITS solutions can be integrated and connected and supports cities with the current needs of mobility management for all types of travelers. Because for most of us, travelling green means also travelling different, e.g. not being dependent on private car usage and adjusting to emission free city centers, meaning other transport modes need to be made convenient, safe and attractive.

A not very surprising, but not to be forgotten key outcome from these multiple meetings: cities are just like people. Everyone is individual, and sustainable progress is only possible by putting the egos back and striving for true collaboration.

“It is not possible to just meet a customer and present a general solution that fits everyone. But if we talk about available technologies in the right way, with the right people on the table, we can identify all the challenges and reveal potentials that sustainably benefit the society!”, Abraham underlines pointing out that this is something we need to put our focus on.

What is GoGreen and how does it stand out?

GoGreen is an initiative that welcomed much support from the European Commission, visualizing how the EU Green Deal cities can utilize a scalable and modular eco-system of ITS to reduce pollution and emissions coming from day-to-day traffic.

The initiative is supported by an immersive VR-experience: people get to see a connected city, play with different ITS components and get a visualization of how these components change the city’s infrastructure, look and feel and traffic flow – in a nutshell, it shows how SWARCO can help to build green cities, wrapped in a very tangible, understandable and interactive way.

“GoGreen plays a vital role in helping cities understand how ITS can contribute to meeting the Green Deal goals. Along with insights into various mobility challenges and the significant value of ITS to address them, cities are offered a strong partner in sustainability with an End-to-End portfolio and access to an internal expert pool!”, says Itir Coskun, underlining the benefits of the initiative.

What are the key learnings?

Cities are confronted with individual starting situations, whether due to varying geographic, economic, or climatic conditions. Nevertheless, there are some fundamental challenges which are relatively similar, based on our GoGreen market survey responded by over 80 leading transport stakeholders from over 20 countries:

  • Demand for behavioral shift and public awareness: Many cities recognize the importance of changing how people travel and raising awareness about sustainable transportation options. It is a common objective to encourage a change in mindset and advocate for alternative transportation methods like micromobility and public transport.

  • Political and governance hurdles: Political structures and governance challenges emerge as obstacles in addressing climate concerns and executing effective transportation strategies. The decision-making process, involving various interest groups, necessitates prioritization, a complex and time-consuming task across different levels of government and between public and private entities.

  • Enhanced citizen engagement and awareness: This recurring theme underscores the imperative of increased citizen engagement and awareness. Active public participation in decision-making and the spread of information regarding the advantages and necessity of sustainable transport options are pivotal for the adoption of such services and thus, meaningful change.

  • Infrastructure and funding challenges: Prevalent challenges include outdated infrastructure, insufficient or not known funding opportunities, and the urgent need for substantial investments in transportation infrastructure, particularly in public transport and sustainable mobility solutions.

  • Lack of clear ownership and collaboration: Despite acknowledging climate challenges, difficulties persist in prioritizing climate-related issues due to various reasons. The transversality of sustainability challenges increases the need for collaboration among different organizations but also for breaking down silos and fostering cross-departmental cooperation.

This goes hand in hand with the conversations held with visitors of the different events and clearly shows where the lever should be applied. “This exchange is very powerful!”, Itir Coskun emphasizes the positive experiences she encountered during the meetings and adds: “It clearly shows us, that we are going into the right direction. We are not just any contractor; we are a willing partner with a lot of knowledge in domain technology. Our objective is to find the best tailor-made solutions for our customers and the environment. In the long term.”

How does GoGreen respond to the market survey outcomes?

The benefit GoGreen brings is evident in its tangible outcomes, which will lead to significant positive impacts on both the environment and urban mobility. The initiative focuses on reducing traffic congestion, park & ride solutions, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, incresing road safety for vulnerable road users such as children or visually impaired citizens, promoting public transport, monitoring pollution levels, and supporting with mobility strategies based on detailed data.

GoGreen enables cities in understanding how to upgrade their mobility eco-system to the next level. It will exploit the full potential of Intelligent Transportation Systems and push the boundaries of innovation in the quest for a more sustainable and efficient mobility landscape.

How will we move on with GoGreen?

When the GoGreen initiative started in May 2023 at the ITS congress in Lisbon, the first important milestone was determined to share our expertise with and learn from as many cities as possible until the Intertraffic 2024 takes place.

But the journey does not end here according to Rory Abraham:

“This journey brought SWARCO a lot closer to customers and through the engagement and the exciting VR demonstrations, it allowed every single one of our conversation partners to really engage with us and understand our tailor-made approaches which will help them to reach ambitious climate targets”, adding that “We see the same challenges in cities which are not part of the European Green Deal. We have to think beyond Europe, expand our scope and get in touch with cities from all over the world.”

The impacts of climate change are global and we need to act quickly and collaboratively. Apart from GHG emissions, current pollution levels are affecting the quality of life of citizens and cities are risking high penalties if they are not addressing this. Cities that we have yet not interacted with, no matter if they are part of the EU Green Deal or not, are very welcome to reach out to us for a GoGreen consultation at any point.

Let’s make Europe green. Deal?

Learn more about GoGreen and follow the journey.