The Use of Information and Communication Technologies and Renewable Energy in Europe: Implications for Public Transportation

The Use of Information and Communication Technologies and Renewable Energy in Europe: Implications for Public Transportation

Ivana Nincevic Pasalic
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5996-6.ch009
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help in cutting up to 20% of global carbon emissions by assisting consumers, different industries, and the public sector in energy savings and energy efficiency improvement. This chapter explores the relationship between ICTs and the development of renewable energy in European countries. In the first part of the research, the author conducted a cluster analysis to measure the differences in the use of ICTs in Europe through information society indicators. The results of the clustering (hierarchical and K-means) showed the existence of four clusters, and the increased differences between clusters from 2015 to 2020. The second part of the research confirms the existence of differences between clusters in the share of energy consumption from renewable sources, and the differences proved to be statistically significant. The results are discussed in terms of implications for public transportation, concluding that local governments must start and/or keep using ICTs for urban solutions for the future to be greener and sustainable.
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help reduce up to 20% of global carbon emissions by 2030 as a result of assisting consumers, different industries, and the public sector in energy savings and energy efficiency improvement. This potential is based on the use of smart and innovative ICTs to reach energy efficiency in transport, energy, real estate and other sectors. It is important to mention the smart cities development that is based on integrated ICT infrastructure that creates efficient solutions for supplying systems for transport, water, energy and other infrastructure. Implementing the comprehensive global sustainability action plan requires ICTs, which can help in a reach to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (Heuberger, 2017).

Advances in ICTs and their increasing prevalence are changing the way users use services. Innovative digital technologies such as robotics, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, open and big data, artificial intelligence and other technologies require organizations to continually evaluate and adjust their way of working in terms of changes in strategies, organizational processes, operational models, products and services (Berman, 2012; Ross et al., 2016). Analyzing the impact of ICT on public and private sectors, Gatautis et al. (2015) conclude that ICT enables better quality of service delivery, increased business efficiency, reduces costs and leads to greater business transparency. The great ICTs contribution is that it assists in its own energy efficiency improvement (as the work of ICT also generates gas emissions), but it also helps other sectors and industries to become energy and green-efficient.

The development and use of ICT and consequently e-government varies considerably among the EU Member States. In 2020, the highest share of users who used the websites of public authorities to obtain information was recorded in Denmark (89%) and Finland (85%), in contrast to Romania where only 10% of citizens received information from public authorities through their websites (Eurostat, 2021). Looking only at this indicator, it is clear that there are large differences between countries within the European Union. According to many studies, the digital divide is present in European countries (e.g. Cruz-Jesus, Oliveira & Bacao, 2012; Zoroja & Pejic Bach, 2016; Yera et al., 2020) which negatively affects the overall development of the information society (Vu, 2020; Toader et al., 2018). This mainly refers to the “digital divide” between the north and the rest of the EU, or north and south and west and east (Van Dijk, 2009; European Parliament, 2015), i.e. between more developed economies and those that entered the transition somewhat later (e.g. Zoroja (2011) in her research works on the division into developed and post-communist countries of Europe).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cluster Analysis: A type of analysis that groups similar objects together in a cluster, away from other objects not similar to them.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs): Broad range of technological resources and techniques that are used to create, transfer, store, share, and exchange information.

Digital Divide: Signifies disparities in access to digital technologies.

E-Government: The practice of providing public services to different stakeholders on a central, regional or local level using the internet.

Public Transportation: A form of transportation that is available to the general public.

Renewable Energy: The type of energy that comes from natural sources that replace themselves, its use doesn’t produce greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban Environment: This signifies an urban area that may consist of cities, towns, and suburbs.

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