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App helps commuters reduce carbon emissions

By DU JUAN | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-06 09:14
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A Beijing government program that uses carbon credits to encourage residents to use public transport is proving popular and has reduced carbon emissions by more than 8,000 metric tons in less than two months.

The capital's green transportation service platform, built by the Beijing Municipal Transport Commission and navigation companies Amap and Baidu Map, has prompted people to make 2.45 million trips on public transport since Sept 8-traveling a total of 30 million kilometers, the commission said on Tuesday. By doing so, they have prevented 8,057 tons of carbon emissions.

Ge Yu, director of the commission's technology division, said that since Sept 8, when the platform launched a "carbon energy" event, the number of people choosing green travel four times a week has increased by 2.5 percent.

"On average, up to 13,000 users have participated in the 'carbon energy' activity each day," he said. "They have helped the city to be greener and cleaner."

When Beijing residents use buses, subways and bikes to go out, or walk with the aid of navigation apps, they can earn "carbon energy" based on the reduction in carbon emissions from their green travel. That "carbon energy" can be exchanged for coupons for public transportation and shopping.

They can also donate it to charities engaged in activities such as tree planting.

Beijing is the first city in China to use carbon credits to encourage green travel, the commission said.

Zhao Wei, 31, a white collar worker in the e-commerce industry in Beijing, said he was happy to use the platform and that it has given him real benefits.

"First, it has saved me commuting time because subways are much more punctual compared with driving, especially in such a big city with busy traffic," he said. "Meanwhile, I walk more by using public transportation, which can keep me fit.

"Most importantly, I can make my little contribution to this world by reducing my carbon emissions, which makes me feel good."

Guo Jifu, head of the Beijing Transport Institute, said, "It is meaningful to bring everyone into carbon emissions reduction action, which has set an example for other areas in the country."

In November last year, the capital's transport commission signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build a green transportation service platform with Amap.

Based on big data provided by the city government, the new platform covers buses, subways, walking, cycling and driving.

The app can calculate the time it will take to reach a destination.

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