The Award will be presented to the scheme which, in the opinion of the judges, constitutes the best contribution by a bus operator, authority, manufacturer or any group or individual within those organisations to one or more of the following:
- Further improving the environmental friendliness of the bus
- Improving the environment in which buses operate
- Improving the environment for bus users and potential users.
For the avoidance of doubt, environmental benefits in the context of this award are defined as:
- Changes to noise levels
- Changes to vehicle emissions, either in total or in the chemical content which would be less harmful to either public health or in reducing contributions to global warming
- Changes to air quality in specific areas (for example, depots, terminals or other places where vehicles and humans interact), including local authority designated Air Quality Management Areas.
- A reduction in waste products or in the environmental effects of waste products.
- Improved energy efficiency in either premises or on the road
Winner, Gold Award
To 'planet Reading' and beyond! - Reading Buses
Building on Reading Buses' investments in bio-gas and hybrid-electric vehicles the company has now placed an order for the world's first five Scania gas double-deckers, without funding support. The company is also investing in micro-hybrids and projects to re-engineer early hybrid buses with innovative new MagTec and Vantage powertrains. However, through its 'planet Reading' strategy, the company promotes high environmental awareness in all areas of the business. Some of the initiatives include; more than 200 solar panels on the depot roof saves 26 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, there is extensive cycle parking and a cycle to work scheme, green parking bays are provided for employees who car share, there is priority parking for the top DriveWell bus drivers, two thirds of office waste is recycled, and the gas fuel comes from a carbon neutral and sustainable source.
Reading Buses' commitment to reducing its environment impact runs throughout its business. The judges noted that the company has been at the forefront of gas bus technology, whilst also investing in electric-hybrid vehicles and retro-fitting older vehicles to become more environmentally friendly, making it a worthy Gold Winner in this category.
Winner, Silver Award
Environmental Improvements to Vehicles - First Bus
First Bus identified a declining trend in fuel efficiency and it became evident that new vehicles were less efficient than the buses being replaced, increasing both operating cost and CO2 emissions. To reverse this trend, First Bus began hosting an annual testing programme at Millbrook Proving Ground which involved rigorously resting vehicles from different manufacturers head to head in order to better inform procurement decisions. As part of this work a new test cycle was also developed by First Bus and Millbrook engineers based on real world data to ensure results from such testing were both fair and meaningful. A development race emerged between bus manufacturers which has led to significant improvements in the efficiency of their vehicles including reduced vehicle weight, optimised drivetrain efficiency, systems to recapture brake energy in order to power ancillaries and introduced Stop/Start technology, all of which have resulted in fuel economy improvements up to 30%, reducing CO2 emissions by the same amount. Overall the First Bus vehicle improvement programme has resulted in savings of around ú10m per annum.
Although producing substantial savings for its own business, the judges applauded First Bus for developing the partnership with Millbrook Proving Ground which will bring benefits for the whole bus industry. The entry showed clear evidence of building on previous work and the benefits it brought.
Winner, Bronze Award
Clean Air for Schools - Transport for Greater Manchester
Better air quality is a key shared priority for Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester. TfGM has developed a number of initiatives to help deliver the required improvements in local air quality, including work to encourage the use of Yellow School Buses, and alterations to reduce the vehicles' emissions as part of the Clean Air for Schools programme. Two successful bids for government funding enabled TfGM to retrofit air pollution control equipment on all of the region's fleet of 41 Yellow School Buses. The remaining Yellow School Buses are hybrid diesel-electric, already producing up to 30% fewer greenhouse gas emissions. A condition of DfT's Clean Bus Technology Funding was that projects must deliver at least a 50% reduction in nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. However, TfGM set a higher target of an 80% reduction in these levels and over the course of six months achieved a reduction of up to 99% overall.
The judges like idea that school children should go to school by bus, rather than by car, which reduces congestion and emissions. TFGM's scheme has produced very good outcomes, providing good value for the funding.
Buses Do Their Bit - Durham Air Quality Monitoring Area - Go North East
Durham County Council approached Go North East (GNE) in 2014 to discuss its intention to declare an Air Quality Monitoring Area (AQMA) for the Durham City area. An appraisal of the options was carried out, one of which was to reduce diesel engine emissions from buses. GNE agreed to be part of the process and made a successful Green Buses joint funding bid to fit particulate traps to buses working on the Prince Bishops route which runs into the AQMA area from Gilesgate into the City Centre. GNE had recently introduced hybrid buses onto the Angel branded route with a pledge that it would look to introduce more low emission vehicles on routes when in future years. GNE has continued to invest in its fleet, introducing more low emission vehicles to help to achieve the aims of the AQMA. This has included a fleet of 12 Optare Solos for the Indigo and seven Streetlite double decks onto The Castles Express, followed by 20 Streetlite single decks in May and June 2016 for the Prince Bishops route.
The judges noted the good partnership with Durham County Council and Go North East's ongoing efforts to reduce emissions from its vehicles.
We think the World of Edinburgh - Lothian Buses
Lothian Buses is committed to reducing the environmental impact from its activities and created an environmental brand 'We think the world of Edinburgh'. This commitment has seen the introduction of new technologies to reduce the impact on the environment. With 85 hybrid buses currently in service, the company is on its way to meeting the Scottish Government's ambitious climate change targets. Numerous resource efficiency projects have been carried out internally such as increasing recycling rates - which last year reached 94% - as well as power and water saving projects.
The judges liked the eco-brand, and the approach which encompasses the entire operation, delivering comprehensive outputs.
Inverness ElectriCity - Stagecoach North Scotland
Last year Stagecoach North Scotland launched a GBP1.1m fleet of six fully electric buses in Inverness. Partly funded from the Scottish Government's Green Bus Fund, the Optare Solo EV buses are the first fully electric buses of their kind to be used in Scotland. The new vehicles look identical to a conventional bus, the only difference being an electric power pack in place of the diesel engine. The buses all have a regenerative braking system which generates and stores electrical energy when the brakes are applied, enhancing their operational range to between 70 and 95 miles per full charge. The vehicle's top speed is 56mph but can be limited to a lower speed for greater energy conservation. The branding was developed in-house with the aim of raising public awareness of the technology and make them easy to identify on the road to passengers as well as the public as the new Optare Solo EV buses look identical to their diesel counterpart without their unique branding.
The judges liked this entry which, although small in scale, is significant in that if it can be shown that electric vehicles works in smaller cities, they can be rolled out elsewhere. A good partnership with Hitrans was noted, which provided two charging points. Overall the project represents a message for the future.
Who could be nominated?
This category was open to industry suppliers, operators and authorities either separately or in conjunction with one another.
… and by whom?
Nominations were welcomed from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
Decisions will be based on the quality of the submissions made and the extent to which they address the criteria. Nominations should therefore provide information on:
- The nature of the project(s) and its intended effect on the environmental impact of the bus
- The extent of technological innovation
- Where the nomination concerns a new product or service, the extent of its commercial success
- Deliverability on an industry-wide basis (this would include the practicality and affordability of the idea).
- Where the nomination concerns a new product, the degree to which the product has proved reliable in everyday service and delivered the benefits intended.
- The extent to which customer and market research was employed in the development of the product
- The involvement of other partners in the industry in the development of the project or product.
Products or services entered for consideration need not necessarily be exclusive to the bus industry, but entrants need to demonstrate that it has widespread application within the industry.