Active travel is not only great for your health but also for the planet. The more people walk, cycle or jog to work, school, shops or clubs; the fewer cars on the road and the better the air quality. Public transport tends to also be included in active travel as it invariably involves some walking.
Map my emissions
This website ecopassenger.org compares the energy consumption, the CO2 emissions and other environmental impacts for planes, cars and trains in passenger transport.
Cycling has had a huge revival and increase in popularity during lockdown when cars on the roads were few and far between. With traffic now back (and sometimes exceeding) pre-pandemic levels, Cycling has once again become a bit more challenging. However, fear not, as there are free schemes that can help you become a more confident cyclist.
Look out for our introduction to cycling sessions in The Hub too.
Walking has a number of health and environmental benefits:
- it reduces your carbon footprint to zero,
- saves you money,
- gets you fit,
- decreases your stress levels
- and has been shown to improve productivity and performance at work / school.
If distances are too great to enable solely walking to work, getting off one stop early and walking the final leg of the journey to work still presents huge benefits.
If you must drive, parking your car 20 minutes from your workplace and walking the remaining distance to work will have you get to work feeling more refreshed, energised and motivated to start the working day.
Mums for Lungs are a great organisation to follow if you want more information, particularly about walking to school.
Finding your way
Upper Inc has a useful article rating thirteen different walking trip planners. Try an app like Google Maps, Footpath, or MapMyWalk that you can use to map a walking route on your phone. With these apps, you can also plan routes ahead of time. If you’re an iphone user, did you know you can select the “person icon” and be given directions for walking rather than driving?
Cut your carbon emissions by using public transport when it is not possible to walk or cycle. Perhaps travelling for a conference, training or team building event, or even on a day out or a holiday?
Most UK attractions will have a “Find us” or “How to get here” page with options for travelling by public transport. This is well worth checking out to guide your travel choices on a day out.
Traveline are a partnership of transport companies, local authorities and passenger groups to bring routes and times for all travel in Great Britain by bus, rail, coach and ferry. You can plan longer journeys on their website.
Other kinds of transport
Using cars or planes aren’t classed as active travel and emit disproportionate amounts of carbon. If you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint, reducing your use of cars and planes is recommended.
Investigate alternative methods of travel. How else could you get to your destination? Seat 61 has the ultimate independent advice for holidays by train and alternative travel like ferry or ship to Europe and other countries further afield. It’s well worth checking out to avoid booking a flight.
When you need to use the car, consider shortening your journey and walking the remainder, park and stride, or use park and ride schemes where possible.
Also remember to switch your engine off while you are parked or waiting. For each minute idling in a small car releases 19.13g carbon dioxide (CO2) and 21.49g for a 4×4/SUV sized vehicle. That’s enough to fill 150 balloons – every minute.
Most drivers idle because they don’t think they are doing anything wrong, are waiting to pick someone up or are running the heating and cooling. Hot spots for idling are schools, railway/underground stations, supermarkets/retail/shopping centres, bus stations, taxi ranks, and hospitals. So when your handbrake goes on, the engine goes off.
Mums for Lungs are a national charity campaigning for cleaner air and have lots of resources for anti-idling.
Reducing or eliminating the flights you take will dramatically help you cut your carbon footprint. Embrace a staycation or opt for an online meeting or conference if possible.
If you need to fly, look at your flight provider and what environmental impact reports they have.
Look to offset the carbon emissions of the flight you have booked too.