Shuttle on the Go:
What is the best route for sustainable transportation in Costa Rica?
To improve his environmental footprint, a Costa Rican tour operator must choose how to provide transportation services, considering economic, environmental, and social constraints.
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Tourism is booming in Costa Rica and contributes over 7% of its GDP. This has led to tremendous competition in the tourist services space. While Costa Rica has an electric grid dominated by renewable energy sources, over two-thirds of the country's greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuel-based transportation. Strategies to reduce vehicle emissions are therefore of high value in reducing transportation emissions, a situation that is similar in most developing nations. Ride-sharing and electrification are two strategies that can make a significant impact in lowering transportation-related emissions. The owner of a tourism company, Donde Javi Tours, approached Sustainability Without Borders in 2018 to help his company improve its carbon footprint. Javi is in a position to make a business-side change by offering shared rides, compared to conventional one-vehicle-per-client services, and/or using electric vehicles. However, any switch should make economic sense and would be dependent on costs, infrastructure availability, laws, and client behavior. Using the company owner as a focal point, this case presents the various considerations that might go into making a decision to improve transportation sustainability in developing nations such as Costa Rica.