Innovative Monitoring of CO2 for Transport – IMC4T

Context of Transport Climate Action

About 19% of global energy use and 23% of energy- related carbon dioxide emissions are associated with transportation. Furthermore, it is projected that transport and related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will rise by nearly 50% by 2030 and probably by more than 80% by 2050.

Sustainable development of urban areas is a massive and complex task. To quantify future GHG emissions for urban areas when land-use and traffic patterns constantly change, modern monitoring techniques for transportation are needed. Using mobile phone signals increases the accuracy of monitoring transport while reducing costs at the same time.

This project is being led by the GHG monitoring platform of Climate-KIC, Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate innovation to mitigate and adapt to climate change (


This project explores the feasibility of new approaches to greenhouse gas measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) in the transport sector, using mobile phone signals to gather quantitative information on traffic flows. The project builds upon a previous study conducted under ‘ Climate-KIC’, the EU’s main climate innovation initiative; the MRV study project identified the use of mobile phone signals for quantification of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector as a very promising way to collect this information, supported by an interesting possible business case. Preliminary findings indicate that the new MRV trials can dramatically improve the accuracy and cost‐effectiveness of existing MRV approaches, which usually rely on expensive traffic and passenger surveys. Potential applications for the new MRV approach range from GHG inventories at city level to market-based instruments that can provide a credible, precise and cost-efficient method to quantify GHG emissions from particular transport projects such as a new rapid transit bus system or the introduction of a new subway line.

By reducing the cost of collecting data, projects in the transport sector become more attractive for cities. This new transport monitoring solution is being developed under the Climate-KIC flagship program LoCaL (Low Carbon City Lab) where, at the same time, innovative climate finance instruments, such as results-based financing and ‘green bonds’, are being put to the test. It is expected that this combination of a sound monitoring method and effective climate- change financial measures will raise interest in and prompt action on low carbon transport projects in emerging countries.


A project using mobile phone signals to collect GHG traffic data ll be implemented for the first time in a pilot project in 2016 and, it is hoped, it will serve as a role model for other cities. Several cities across Europe have expressed interest in taking part in this 2016 pilot project but the chosen city(ies) is not yet confirmed.

The project implementation is partly funded by Climate-KIC, Europe’s main climate innovation Initiative, as well as by three project partners: South Pole, LSCE and Teralytics.

Climate-KIC is Europe’s largest public-private innovation partnership focused on climate change, consisting of dynamic companies, the best academic institutions and the public sector. Climate-KIC is one of three Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) created in 2010 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The EIT is an EU body whose mission is to create sustainable growth. Climate-KIC supports this mission by addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Zurich-based South Pole Group began as a project-driven company focusing on developing and selling high-quality carbon credits. Today, it is one of the world’s leading providers of climate solutions. No other firm in the world has developed as many successful emission reduction projects and offers as wide a range of services and solutions. The South Pole Group helps public and private sector organizations develop climate change policies and strategies. Areas of expertise cover every key area of sustainability and climate change, including but not limited to: forests and land use, water, cities and buildings, as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Laboratory of Climate Sciences and the Environment (LSCE) is a joint research program involving the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA), the University of Versailles Saint-Quentin (UVSQ) and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in France. LSCE researchers are recognized worldwide for their expertise in the areas of measuring greenhouse gases, flux modeling of greenhouse gases, and quantification of these fluxes with inverse modeling. LSCE technicians, engineers and researchers travel the planet taking samples which record past climate variations (in sediment, water, ice, air, rocks and organic material) or installing instruments to monitor the current environment.

Teralytics is the world’s largest technology platform, which can provide crowd location analytics. It has an almost unique capacity to accurately analyze mobile carrier data at scale, and can produce real-time anonymized crowd demographics and population density data based on millions of people worldwide. Built by an elite team of top PhDs and data scientists in Switzerland, Teralytics’s objective is to help cities, retailers, and infrastructure investors make better planning decisions.


Reducing monitoring costs makes the implementation of transport projects more attractive. Costs are not only reduced, but at the same time accuracy is increased. It helps cities to gain a more precise picture of real -world emissions and vehicle fleet performance; it also enables them to get better access to sources of financial support. Under the Climate-KIC flagship program LoCaL several methods are being examined to help cities install innovative climate –change financial instruments such as results- based finance and green bonds.

In addition to emission -reduction achievement, the implementation of this new transport monitoring procedure can be seen as having positive socio-economic impacts such as reduced congestion, improved air quality, and enhanced efficiency and competiveness of transport at city level.

Potential for scaling up

Once the transport monitoring technology is successfully implemented within the 2016 pilot project, this will help to get further cities on baard. Teralytics can extend its specialist capacity to deal with big data to work on using mobile phone signals around the entire globe. South Pole is also an international operation and has offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Thailand, countries where most of the emission increases from transport are expected to take place. It is hoped that through partners (within LoCaL) such as ICLEI (local governments for sustainability), the Gold Standard and the WWF,, the take up of this technology in other parts of the world can be achieved more easily.

Selected references

–        Low Carbon City Lab – Climate-KIC (Jan/2015 – ongoing):

The Low Carbon City Lab (LoCaL) is an innovation platform led by the South Pole Group (under the Climate-KIC) with the aim of becoming an important catalyst for green growth opportunities and climate change mitigation in cities and urban areas around the globe. LoCaL provides funding, planning, capacity building, design and performance monitoring services to city authorities, utilities, businesses and other relevant stakeholders willing to engage in climate change mitigation action at city level. LoCaL’s integrated approach is key to galvanizing citizens, investors, corporate and public authorities into action and to enabling transformative impacts within such a big, complex and multi-faceted matter like green growth and emission reductions in urban areas.

The technical scope of LoCaL covers GHG inventories at city level (with a particular focus on the GPC standard), low emission development strategies for cities, policy and mitigation action design as well as climate-change finance at city level. The program addresses cities in industrialized as well as developing countries. The city of Recife in Brazil, for example, is already part of the program.

–        Teralytics project in Singapore (2014 – ongoing):

Teralytics is helping transport planners at the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to implement a more precise way of analyzing travel patterns in order to optimize road capacity. To obtain a more precise picture of travel patterns Teralytics is able to zoom in on demand in localized regions.









Global, Mitigation, Passenger, Technology, Finance


South Pole Group, LSCE


Denis Jorisch Frédéric Baron