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Greener Travel

Transportation is the life-blood of any economy. And yet, our city centres are faced with increasingly clogged arteries.

Air pollution and congestion caused by cars are serious problems that many cities worldwide face each day. Many governments across the world are introducing measures to tackle this problem, yet the solution could be relatively simple. Drive less. Every year, we drive more miles than we did the year before. If we stop this trend, by making a real effort to use our cars less, then the impact would be very substantial indeed.

The greener way: Public transport

Public transport is a great option. It helps relieve traffic congestion, provides personal mobility and freedom and very importantly helps reduce air pollution.

Public transport is an immediate means of helping our environment and conserving energy. If just 500 people used public transport to get to work for one day a week, instead of driving, they would prevent 300 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

Greener trains

Virgin Trains' Pendolino trains are environmentally-friendly with massive energy savings, because incredibly they return power to the grid every time they brake. Pendolinos will use 'reverse thrust' traction motors to slow down, generating up to five Megawatts of electricity for the National Grid and reducing dramatically the creation of dust by frictional disc brake pads. The energy which is saved by returning power back to the grid, is astonishingly enough to:

  • Charge 4,722,980 mobile phones

  • Cool 297,297 refridgerators

  • Boil 440,000,000 kettles

  • Power 100,733 showers

  • Light 1,810,029 low energy bulbs

  • Makes 3.5 billion pieces of toast in a year

  • Heat 587,607 irons

  • Power 11,825 homes

Pendolino trains emit 76% less carbon dioxide than a car or a plane (on domestic flights).

For example, travelling from London to Glasgow by the Pendolino train will leave a carbon footprint of 17.6 kgCO2; by car will leave 73.6 kgCO2; and by plane 83.1 kgCO2.

Car sharing

Car-sharing helps reduce the total number of cars on the roads. And that means less traffic, less pollution, and less dependence on fuel for all of us.

Car sharing is a system under which either through cooperative ownership or through some other mechanism, multiple households share a pool of cars and sometimes other vehicles. Typically, the participants in such a scheme, live in the city and most of whose transportation needs are met by public transport, walking, or cycling. Some households use a car share as an alternative to the hassles of owning (or parking) a second car.

Car Sharing is the "missing link"
in our urban transportation systems. The biggest determinant to vehicle use is vehicle ownership. Car Sharing helps people kick the car-owning habit, without going cold turkey, and with the financial reward of saving money.

Car Sharing should be an important option in every major urban centre. While not a magic bullet to solve all traffic and air quality problems, especially commuter-related issues, it is an important new tool that can deliver real benefits.

The sad truth is that your car emits as much carbon dioxide as your entire house. There is a way however to help reduce this amount, and that is to improve the fuel efficiency of your car. This can have an enormous impact on climate change. In fact paying attention to fuel efficiency in your car may be the single biggest thing you can do to prevent global warming.

Steps you can take to make your car more fuel-efficient.

Get your car tuned up. Just a simple tune-up often improves fuel efficiency by half. If 100,000 of us went out and got our cars tuned up, we could save 124,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Slow down, don't race your car's engine. This can save on fuel (saving you money) and have a big impact on the environment.

Electric and hybrid cars

The one consumer decision most people make which impacts the greatest on the environment is the choice of car we drive.

With the production of electric and hybrid cars, motorists can now choose between purchasing a conventional car or a "green" car.

Electric cars are truly zero emission cars because they have no exhaust and no evaporative emissions from fuel systems. Even taking into account the typical CO2 production of the electricity suppliers, it is still lower than any conventional car. If most of us could swith to electric then oil consumption and dependence on imported oil would be greatly reduced.

In simplest terms, a hybrid vehicle is one that combines two or more sources of power that can directly or indirectly provide propulsion power. A hybrid combines a gasoline engine and an electric motor to provide adequate power with minimal fuel useage and low emissions. Hybrids do not need to be plugged into an electric outlet in order to be recharged. They charge themselves by using energy normally lost during braking or when the car is running idle, and can also be charged by the car's petrol engine.

The advantage is that the petrol engine can then be quite small, since power is obtained from not one but two sources.


If you can cycle instead of drive, even better. While cycling is not for everyone, and each individual's ability and speed varies, the benefits of cycling are clear. With congestion getting worse each year and the damaging effects of greenhouse gases becoming more and more pervasive, bike commuting is a highly efficient alternative. Most people do not consider commuting by bicycle a viable transportation option. Only those who have tried it really know how fast, easy, fun and inexpensive bike commuting can be.

Cycling provides such a different mindset that the frustration which is commonly felt whilst driving is replaced with a sense of freedom and also a gratifying feeling of knowing that you're not only helping to save the environment but that you are also getting very fit in the process.


If you can walk instead of drive, even better still. The cleanest and greenest form of getting around will always be walking.

When compared to driving, it also offers a chance to see the world at a slower pace, enjoy fresh air and have more contact with a wide variety of sights, sounds and smells. Window-shopping or even finding loose change are all possibilities when one walks. Walking strengthens local economies in areas of dense commercial development; eases traffic congestion; reduces pressure for limited parking space; and prevents pollution.

Greener holidays

Aeroplanes produce more greenhouse gases than any other form of transport and that means your overseas travels have an effect on the environment. Everything we do takes energy and produces waste… it leaves a mark. The amount of a mark left is the size of our carbon footprint. When it comes to our carbon footprints, the ones that we create from our travel and tourism habits are quite large ones.

Reducing this footprint when we want to take our holidays boils down to changing old habits and our way of thinking. Do we really need to fly abroad two or three times a year? Have we explored all the holiday possibilities in our own country? Have we thought about travelling by train rather than flying? - many countries are accessible by ferry and train. If everybody thought of these questions, answered them and acted on it, then we could all as individuals make a big difference in reducing our carbon footprint and thereby helping to save the planet.


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