BKK leading pioneers towards sustainable urban mobility

The transportation sector is one of the biggest emitters of CO2 emissions. Transportation produces roughly 23 percent of the global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion. To maintain global warming below the 1.5 degree Celsius target, we must reduce carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.

Companies such as BKK Budapest Transport Center are setting are addressing climate change through sustainable urban mobility in cities like Budapest. BKK’s goal is to reduce private car usage and encourage active and sustainable mobility in Budapest.

BKK Budapest Transport Center has been hosting Pioneers since they were invited by Climate-KIC to host a first cohort of Pioneers from Poland in 2017. After the successful participation of BKK in the 2017 and 2018 program, which saw them welcome 3 colleagues from Poland in 2017, and 1-1 colleagues from Estonia and Slovenia in 2018, coupled with good experience with all placed Pioneers, they joinned the program permanently as hosts in 2019. “We find this opportunity a great possibility to support BKK activities while providing a chance to the pioneers to experience our working conditions and be part of the game.” Says Patrik Tóth, an Innovation Officer at BKK. Since joining the program, BKK has committed to hosting three Pioneers and sending one placement of their own internationally. This idea came about when they were approached by Hungarian organizers who offered one participant placement to BKK.

Patrik has been working directly with Pioneers during their placement. He has served both as a mentor and project manager to the Pioneers. He mentors the Pioneers from the moment they are accepted to the company and maintains this communication throughout the placement. As these placements only lasts 5 weeks, he has established a formula over the years that he has seen work and be effective in ensuring the Pioneers make the most of their time at BKK. Patrik develops a topic and task plan for them. He allows himself to be flexible and adapts to the Pioneers interests, needs and skills—a strategy that he has discovered to be useful and beneficial, both to the Pioneers and BKK. “When I am designing topics for the Pioneers, I ensure we have side projects that are innovative, and those that are related to BKK’s core business but would otherwise not be covered during normal working hours.” He says. Once Pioneers arrive at BKK, they go through an induction process for the first couple of days. This induction process provides the Pioneers an overview of the company to understand the company’s strategy, and goals of the company. Once this is done, the Pioneers are guided through their specific projects, and finally, they are expected to produce a physical product of their project to summarize their placement at BKK. In the past, BKK have been able to publish articles based on the work Pioneers undertook during their placement. In 2018, they published an article based a bike sharing scheme analysis of Budapest a Pioneer from Estonia did.

Patrik is grateful of the opportunity he gets to work with young innovators, who are motivated and eager to learn and work.

The Pioneers bring a new approach, fresh minds and most importantly, their different viewpoint. This is most important for me because it challenges to incorporate innovative and groundbreaking ideas to our work.

Besides the short projects that Pioneers work on, Patrik also designs projects that will continue even after the Pioneers finish their placement. This allows for continuity and different Pioneers to work on different elements of the same project. For instance, this year, BKK has been working on a project called Healthy streets, whereby together with the Pioneers placed at BKK, develop a set of indicators to measure the health and livability of public spaces. Now, they are at the testing stage of the indicators, whereby they conduct tests in different streets and public spaces. In addition, Pioneers get to work with multiple personnel in the company. Once this is complete, together with the Pioneer, they will develop a report explaining the different indicators, the goal of the measurements including tested examples.

According to Patrik, the placements provide an opportunity for both Pioneers and the hosts to learn from one another. He recommends that hosts conduct exit interviews and informal chat sessions with their Pioneers at the end of their placement to evaluate the impact of the placement.