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June 27, 2016

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) fleet employs a Green Fleet Strategy to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. CAF spoke with Bob Nichols from MTO about how a sustainability focus pays off.

CAF: Sustainability plays a significant role in the Ministry’s mandate. How is this reflected in fleet policy?

MTO: As per the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Green Fleet Strategy, the government has committed to fleet greening and reducing the environmental impact of the OPS fleet. A green fleet lessens environmental impact by minimizing fuel consumption and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A green fleet continuous cycle achieves reductions through considering vehicle and fuel specification, fleet management, and travel demand management together to deliver long-term environmental results. Much of greener fleet management is simply good business practice that focuses on two primary goals:

• Optimizing the efficiency of vehicles and equipment, resulting in decreased fuel consumption and exhaust emissions; and
• Maximizing the use of alternative fuels and/or technologies within the financial capabilities of the organization.

Recent advancements in vehicle technologies and alternative fuels have given fleet managers opportunities to improve the environmental performance of their vehicles. Since there is no one path to vehicle environmental improvement, vehicle choice should consider a number of key factors that take into account program need while strongly considering the vehicle’s environmental impact.

To achieve the reduction goals of fuel and GHG emissions for the OPS motor vehicle fleet, the Fleet Management Centre (FMC) at the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has aligned the fleet management best practices that it employs with a culture of continuous improvement that meets the objectives of the Environmental Bill of Rights, and in particular, the Ministry of Transportation’s Statement of Environmental Values (SEV).

The SEV promotes the FMC’s belief that the protection of air, water, and land resources is necessary to sustain current and future generations. To put this value into action, the FMC has advanced the reduction of transportation- related air emissions as a key priority.

The FMC transformation has resulted in the centralization of the OPS fleet under the ownership and management of the FMC with the common goal to achieve a widely respected Green Fleet program. This goal is firmly entrenched in a transformation strategy that improves the organization’s performance year-over-year as opposed to meeting an established performance bar and then maintaining that performance year-to-year.

CAF: When building your vehicle selector, what are the specific criteria vehicles have to meet for consideration?

MTO: Total Cost of Ownership Model - The OPS motor vehicle fleet as a provincial asset is a vital corporate resource. To manage it effectively, the FMC uses a “total cost of ownership” life-cycle approach to asset management of the fleet program that supports its cost-effective and efficient delivery. Taking into consideration the full life cycle costs and benefits of various alternatives, the total cost and environmental impact to the province of owning vehicles are evaluated prior to acquisition.

The lifecycle evaluation of vehicles is based on a combination of: the capital cost of the vehicle; the composite operating cost of the vehicle model; possible future disposal costs; and fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with a heavier weighting placed on fuel consumption and GHG emissions in accordance with the OPS Green Fleet Strategy. Vehicle fleet choices are:

• The best transportation solution for the identified operational need;
• The overall best possible environmental return on investment (ROI) for the province; and
• The best possible fiscal ROI for the province. Through life cycle techniques, the total costs and environmental impacts to the province of owning vehicles must be evaluated prior to acquisition.

Consideration must be given to such factors as operation and maintenance costs, capital costs and environmentally, a weighted review of emissions and fuel consumption.

This leading fleet best practice is being adopted by many fleets throughout North America and is shared by the FMC with many other jurisdictions throughout Canada.

Through this total cost of ownership model, the FMC produces an annual vehicle selector for the OPS. This selector ensures that all ministries select the vehicle class and type that is best suited for their operational requirements, while considering opportunities to rationalize vehicle size and fleet size. The selector itemizes the vehicles within each category that offer the province the best overall return on investment both environmentally and financially ensuring that ministries give careful consideration to the use of fuel-efficient, alternative fuel, hybrid technology or other technologically advanced vehicles for their vehicle fleets.

CAF: How has this policy reduced the fleets carbon footprint? How is this measured?

MTO: Implementation of the Green Fleet Strategy: The FMC employs the following best management practices in fleet management to improve the overall fleet-related fuel and emissions performance of the OPS fleet. GHG and Fuel Reduction Tracking: The FMC utilizes many fleet management best practices coupled with a continuous improvement philosophy to reduce the overall fleet-related fuel consumption.

For the period ending 2014/15 the results showed that we reduced fuel use by 43 per cent. This represents a reduction of 9.8 million litres, which translates to an approximate reduction of 21,211 metric tons of GHG. It is estimated that these reductions have generated fuel cost savings of approximately $10.6M.

CAF: What are the best practices the Ministry employs to help achieve its sustainability/carbon reduction objectives?

MTO: To help achieve our sustainability/carbon reduction objectives the ministry employs the following key strategies: -Total Cost of Ownership Modeling -OPS Motor Pool Strategy -Adoption of Alternative Technologies -Research and Development -Education and Awareness CAF: What has been the biggest unexpected benefit the Ministry has experienced through this process?

MTO: FMC Achievement: The FMC has made tremendous achievements in the greening of the Ontario Public Service (OPS) Fleet. These achievements have contributed to a more efficient and sustainable government fleet that support the OPS Green Fleet strategy and its fuel and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets.

NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accreditation: In April 2015, the FMC on behalf of the OPS became the first Canadian organization to receive a NAFA Sustainable Fleet Standard accreditation at the programs highest level -- Tier 4.

The accreditation program recognizes the efforts and actions that the FMC has implemented in its drive to meet and exceed the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions as prescribed in the OPS Green Fleet Strategy.

The NAFA Sustainable Fleet Accreditation Program measures a fleet’s real actions and progress against meaningful sustainability metrics. These sustainability metrics have been set as reduction rates in emissions and fuel use, and improvement rates in efficiency, the rates stem from national and global goals against which fleets can take action.

The FMC and the OPS Fleet are now recognized as sustainable fleet leaders throughout North America.

The FMC was a recipient of a NAFA Fleet Leadership Award for; “Excellence in Fleet Leadership”, an award that is annually presented to one fleet in North America. This award can be attributed to the many best practices and innovative processes that the FMC employs on a daily basis.

CAF: Remarketing is an important part of any fleet operations. How have the vehicles that are employed by the Ministry been received at disposal by buyers?

MTO: The ministry does not manage the disposal of vehicle assets directly – this service is provided through a vendor. The following is a quote from the vendor, which speaks to the disposal of fleet assets:

“The vehicles from the Province of Ontario are very desirable to both the public and dealer buyers and are a big draw at the auction,” said Stu Ralph, Owner/Partner, North Toronto Auction. “This can be attributed to a combination of the vehicle life-cycle that is employed and the selection of vehicles that the province uses. Buyers know that the province’s vehicles are well maintained and cared for, and the expectation is that the vehicles will continue to provide safe and efficient transportation.”

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