UITP Climate Leader Declaration: Brisbane Transport, Australia

Context of Transport Climate Action

Brisbane Transport in Queensland, Australia, has a fleet of around 1200 city route buses. Brisbane City Council is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2031.

To achieve this the council will:

  • measure emissions including those from landfill, electricity use, the vehicle fleet, buses and ferries
  • reduce emissions through behavior change and the use of more efficient technologies. For example, switching lights and computers off when not in use, retrofitting efficient lighting and purchasing more efficient vehicles
  • continue to use renewable energy sources such as Green Power
  • purchase independently verified carbon offsets for emissions that cannot be avoided
  • engage residents and businesses to help reduce environmental impacts.

The council takes the threat of climate change seriously and has taken a proactive approach to the issue.

Sustainable actions

Council has also put in place the following public transport actions to help work towards their carbon neutral target.

Reducing the impact of travel


The greenhouse gas emissions from Council’s bus fleet are expected to fall as fuel efficiency initiatives are implemented. Additionally, each full bus equates to taking 40 cars off the road, which reduces both emissions and congestion across the city, while also providing mobility options to all members of the community.

The council has around 1200 buses in the fleet, with almost half running on compressed natural gas (CNG). It uses new generation, high-efficiency Enhanced Environmentally-friendly Vehicle (EEV) diesel engine technology for all new buses.

Bus upgrades

The on-board software settings of over 500 of council’s bus fleet will be modified by introducing:

  • adapting the gear selection profiles to better meet terrain conditions;
  • automating the idle shutdown after five-minutes;
  • disabling the kick-down (an accelerator pedal feature mostly designed for highway driving).

Trials are also underway on the use of low-rolling resistance tires that have decreased tread depth and have reduced energy loss (due to a particular rubber compound additive to restrict heat generation within the tire). Additionally, a program is being developed to integrate eco-driving techniques and technologies to alert drivers of uneconomical and inefficient driving practices.


In August 2006, the council established the Climate Change and Energy Taskforce.

The taskforce’s purpose was to advise the council on how to prepare and respond to:

  • climate change
  • increasing energy use
  • rising petrol prices and
  • peak oil

The council has adopted 22 of the recommended actions from the final taskforce report.

The Brisbane Plan for Action is being implemented and has influenced a range of Council programs. More about these actions can be found in Brisbane’s Plan for Action (Read about these actions in Brisbane’s Plan for Action).


Brisbane Transport, the bus operator, has a target to reduce fuel use by 10% by 2017. It has already made real gains in reducing fuel consumption with the use of progressive, smart transmission functionalities on buses and the introduction of eco-driving. These measures have realized fuel savings of more than 3%. Trials are on-going with tires that will last up to 50% longer, and also improve energy use.  In May 2015 Brisbane Transport’s buses became 100% low floor and wheelchair accessible, allowing easier access for all passengers.

Potential for scaling up

Brisbane Council is a member of the International Association of Public Transport, and these initiatives were included in their Climate Action and Public Transport (UITP) report tabled at the 2014 U.N. Climate Summit in support of the UITP Declaration on Climate Leadership initiative.

The Declaration can help scaling up efforts through the UITP network by sharing with them members experience and technical expertise of leading initiatives which can help bring inspiration and support better cooperative action at all levels.

Selected references










Australia, Mitigation, Passenger, Busses, Technology


Brisbane Transport