About the project

Sweden has set the ambitious goal of acquiring a fossil-free vehicle fleet in 2030. This is a key step towards the country’s CO2-emissions neutral target to be achieved by 2050. The public transport sector, and bus service in particular, plays an important role in achieving this goal. In 2013, bus transport services were offered in all municipalities in Sweden and accounted for 52% of passenger boarding in public transport.

The Swedish public transport sector has defined two major targets: (i) to run 90% of the total vehicle kilometers of the fleet on non-fossil fuels by 2020, and (ii) to increase the share of public transport in relation to the total personal transport in the country, and double the volume of travel via public transport by 2020. The analysis performed within this project highlights the challenges and solutions encountered, particularly when it comes to the adoption of renewable fuels in the regional bus fleets. The fuel alternatives considered are biodiesel, biogas, ethanol and electricity.

The project results show that biodiesel has been the preferred fuel while increasing deployment of renewable fuels in buses, especially in scarcely populated regions. In addition, the compatibility with traditional diesel engines has favored this option among service providers. The use of biogas is increasing in line with incentives at local and national level. The deployment of electricity in buses is only found in city traffic, while the major choice for regional routes is usually biodiesel. A survey among experts in public transport indicated that electricity is likely to receive increasing attention and become more attractive. Environmental aspects such as emission reduction potential and energy efficiency are a priority when choosing fuels, together with infrastructure needs and fuel availability.

There is no strong correlation between population density or bus transport volume and the share of renewable fuels in the bus fleet, as shown in our mapping of renewable fuel deployment at regional level. This indicates political will, strategic planning and policies to promote public transport as very important factors affecting renewable fuel deployment.

Various knowledge transfer initiatives already in place show that decentralizing implementation efforts and sharing experiences serves well to promote innovative solutions and avoid mistakes. Devising a successful strategy for renewable fuels and low emissions in public bus fleets requires long-term engagement of decision-makers and broad collaboration with stakeholders. Every region has a different starting point but, with a multitude of concrete actions at local level, Sweden is showing that the transition to a fossil-free bus transport is indeed possible. These experiences provide lessons that should be shared internationally, and shall contribute to the transformation of transport systems towards sustainability.


Semida Silveira, KTH


Maria Xylia, KTH

Time plan
December 2014 - March 2015

Total project cost
250 000 SEK

The f3 partners and KTH

The project has received input from the following persons/organisations: Hanna Björk, Västtrafik; Johan Böhlin, Stockholm Läns Landsting/Trafikförvaltningen; Jonas Ericson, Stockholms Stad; Claes Forsberg, Region Gävleborg och Peter Dädeby, Sörmlands kollektivtrafikmyndighet.