It’s no wonder that Sweden is the leader in “green” transportation in Europe. Sweden was the second country in the world to introduce an eco-tourism charter, after Australia. Sweden also set up ‘Nature’s Best’, Europe’s first eco-label that assures the quality of approximately 180 holidays and activities run by its 80 eco-certified tour operators around the country. Here are three of the latest green types of transport that are in the forefront of the green technology movement in Scandinavia. Take advantage of these eco-efficient and cool ways to get around the next time you visit Sweden.
Trains are one of the world’s greenest modes of transportation. Although they do not always have clean burning engines, trains still remain a much lower carbon consuming type of transportation compared to taking a plane or driving a car. Transportation technology in the past five years has advanced to the point where trains are faster, lighter, cleaner burning, and more comfortable. One of the fastest eco-friendly trains in the world is the Swedish Gröna Tåget (“Green Train”.) This train is a technological marvel. It was designed and built by Banverket (the Swedish Railway Administration) and Bombardier, and is capable of speeds of around 180 mph. The new engine design has improved its energy consumption by 20 to 30 percent of your average modern-style train. Taking the train is now back in style as a main form of transport in Sweden.
Next, the Swedes have stepped out of the Bladerunner movie and created the taxi of the future called the ECO ROBO TAXI. The Robo Taxi has no driver, minimal space for luggage and only holds two passengers. The taxi can run for 20 hours before it needs to be recharged. It also can reach speeds up to 90kmh. If you want to use the Robo Taxi you can call an operator who will then send a taxi to your location. Passengers will be able to enter their destination on a touch screen interface. This futuristic taxi is coming to Stockholm in 2011, and I am booking my ticket now just to be the first to ride in this fantastic green transport creation!
Bicycling is a Scandinavian passion and there are a literally 101 different bike rental companies located in the cities. Bicycling is a healthy, eco-friendly form of transportation and, in Stockholm, it is fairly safe. The best known bike rental service in Stockholm is CityBikes. It is known as the least expensive and it is definitely worth a try. They carry over 1,000 bikes and 80+ parking stations for the bicycles. If you wish to rent one of the bicycles at these stations, you will need either a one-time card for SEK 25, or a season card for SEK 200 (bonus: free helmet). The cards are available at SE Transportation Centers where you also buy bus and commuter train tickets. The catch is that you can only keep the bikes for 3 hours and then you must return it and you can rent another one for another 3 hours.
Sweden’s willingness to embrace change, look ahead to the future and act accordingly has made it a vibrant hub of all things green in Europe. Maybe the Swedes should hold a green summit here in the United States so we can learn about and adopt some of their innovative eco ideas.
Written by Carla Scott for EuropeUpClose.com