Mitigating corporate and community fleet emissions
Fleets consist of the vehicles used by local governments to conduct their business and provide services as well as the private vehicle fleet used by residents and businesses in the community.
A corporate lens on fleets
The operation of a corporate fleet can make up between 20-40% of local government (corporate) transportation-related emissions  and as such, emissions reductions can be realized primarily from augmenting composition and use of corporate vehicle fleets by using the various techniques below.
Reducing emissions from fleet operations is tied directly to reducing fuel consumption. In turn, this can lead to both financial savings and emissions reductions over the long-term.
A Green Fleet Action Plan may focus on achieving fuel efficiency, fuel transition, and/or fleet streamlining by considering a local government’s business needs, and costs, in addition to technical opportunities and constraints.
Action plans typically begin with calculating fuel consumption and emissions baselines. As with other corporate emissions reduction strategies, the plan includes the identification and assessment of different strategies that can most effectively reduce emissions. They also may integrate a series of local government policies, projects, and processes. Several common policies, projects, and processes are described below.
- Corporate bikeshare and cycling incentive programs. Several local governments, such as City of Rossland, have purchased electric bikes for staff to use for work purposes and implemented a program that would allow staff and elected officials to purchase electric bikes for commuting to work using an interest-free loan. The City of Vancouver provides cycling incentives for employees using funds collected from paid employee parking at city hall.
- Corporate carshare programs provide a way to rationalize the size of corporate fleets. Fleet managers analyze the vehicle needs of the local government and develop opportunities to share automobiles between employees. It reduces the assets the local government needs to maintain and helps eliminate unnecessary fuel consumption and emissions. The City of Vancouver developed a partnership with carshare operator Modo for business use, as an alternative to use fleet vehicles.
- Driver awareness and education programs for more fuel-efficient driving behaviour.
- Fleet route planning ensures that the most direct, or efficient, route is taken. Computerized tools, such as GPS, can assist with the mapping and planning of routes.
- Fleet preventative maintenance programs focus on ensuring regular maintenance of vehicles to support optimal engine performance.
- Fleet benchmarking enables the comparison of fleet performance by vehicle, employee, and/or department, both within and between local governments, revealing opportunities to improve fuel efficiency and overall performance.
- A fuel data management system provides continuous monitoring of fuel consumption and vehicle performance and allows fleet managers to alter the strategies used to increase fuel efficiency.
- Fuel efficiency strategies ensure the environmental performance of vehicles and provide a framework for purchasing decisions.
- Fuel efficiency vehicle purchasing policies prioritize buying or leasing energy efficient vehicles, equipment, and components when considering new asset acquisitions and replacements. For example, the District of Saanich has committed to procure at least 10% zero-emission vehicles for all new purchases.
- Idle reduction policies result in the elimination of unnecessary and wasteful idling of vehicles and equipment reducing emissions in addition to saving money.
- Lifecycle costing involves evaluating purchase options based on the upfront cost in addition to the operating and maintenance costs, reliability, warranties, depreciation, and resale value.
- Vehicle and fleet rightsizing matches vehicles and machinery to the tasks required ensuring maximum efficiency is achieved and fuel is not wasted.
- E3 Fleet provides guidance on how to develop a Green Fleets Action Plan. The City of Richmond, Township of Langley, City of Surrey, City of Vancouver and City of Prince George have all earned E3 Fleet Ratings from ranging from platinum to silver.
- SmartDriver training series (NRCan)
Fleet benchmarking programs enable a comparison of fleet performance by vehicle, employee, and/or department, both within and between local governments, revealing opportunities to improve fuel efficiency and overall performance. Benchmarking helps fleet managers understand how to take action and how to improve fleet performance.
Benchmarking is a business intelligence resource for fleet managers and provides the ability to track corporate fleet use and make informed decisions. Specifically, it allows fleet managers to identify:
- Activities resulting in reduced emissions and related pollutants
- How various departments and functions compare in terms of vehicle use and operational characteristics such as fuel consumption
- If relevant, evaluation of progress on any Green Fleet Action Plan initiatives
- Where and how to take action to improve fuel efficiency
Fleet benchmarking programs start with the development of a fuel data management system. Once in place, reviewing key figures could indicate where problems are occurring and how to best direct investment to improve the fleet program. Benchmarking programs allow the following steps to be taken:
- Relate fuel consumption to business outputs
- Calculate average fuel consumption as an internal benchmark
Review results and identify cost and performance improvements.
Fuel data management ensures that efficient and accurate fuel consumption and vehicle performance data is recorded and tracked. The understanding gained from this information will allow fleet managers to target areas that will result in the greatest fuel efficiency increases and emissions reductions. In addition to facilitating GHG reductions, fuel data management systems:
- Help identify continuous improvement opportunities
- Provide detailed measurement of fuel performance
- Increase benchmarking comparison opportunities
- Provide accurate cost methods
Local governments can take a variety of approaches ranging from manually tracking mileage and fuel consumption, with pen and paper, to collecting fuel consumption with on-board computers.
The more actively a fleet’s fuel consumption is managed, the more effective a fuel data management system can inform strategies to reduce emissions. Be sure to relate fuel consumption to business outputs (such as fuel consumed by distance traveled, hour, tonne, or person) and create opportunities to differentiate between business units, vehicles, and employees. This will allow you to take more targeted action and foster the desired change.
E3 Fleet can both provide guidance for how to develop a system that works for your community.
A community-wide lens on fleets
Local governments may act to reduce community-wide emissions from private fleets and personal vehicles by planning for ways to influence travel behaviour responsive to community design, design for complete, compact, and connected communities, transit-oriented development, travel demand management, bike share, car share, and efficient goods movement.
Learn more about land use and transportation.
EV charging readiness
Local governments may require new construction be designed in such a way as to allow access to EV chargers. This is typically enabled through the local government’s zoning bylaw which describes requirements for EV charging readiness such as providing wiring for chargers during design and construction (charger itself would be installed by the owner after completion). Alternatively, requirements can be added for EV charger readiness in a development permit area guideline. These guidelines refer to conditions outside the building envelope, such as surface lots and landscaping, and are typically included under access and parking sections in the guidelines.
- The District of North Vancouver requires 20% of parking stalls to be EV-ready (wired for level 1 charging in multi-family development sites with conduit in place for 100% of parking stalls to be wired in the future). For commercial/industrial applications, around 10% of parking spaces must be EV-ready (wired for level 2 charging).
- The City of New Westminster augmented its development permit area guidelines in 2018 to include EV charger readiness in commercial and industrial developments. The guidelines for industrial developments with more than 10 employee parking spaces include an energized outlet Level 2 or higher for a minimum of one parking space for every 10 spaces, plus one space for additional parking spaces that number less than 10.
- City of Vancouver, (2004). The Climate-Friendly City – A Corporate Climate Change Action Plan for the City of Vancouver; and City of North Vancouver, (2005). City of North Vancouver Greenhouse Gas Local Action Plan.
- Fraser Basin Council, (2006). Greening Canada’s Fleets – E3 Fleet Rating System.