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Public Transport

Climate Impact:

What you can do

Use public transport for the majority of your commute to work or school.

Who's doing it?

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Climate impact

Emissions released when using public transport are far lower than when taking a car.  Driving a car to work produces more than 4 times the carbon emissions as catching the train [1].

Swapping half of your daily commute from car travel to train travel could prevent 0.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions (based on UK averages). See impact calculations.


Additional benefits
  • Often cheaper than taking a car

  • Reduce local air pollution

  • More time to read or work during your journey

  • Not always possible to use public transport to get to work

  • Use Citymapper (where possible) to find the quickest and cheapest public transport options.

  • If your form of public transport has an app, download it to ensure you know the latest times and travel updates.

  • Plan something you'd like to learn or read or watch during your commute.

Facts and further information
  • In the EU, 44% of all transport emissions are from cars, 28% are from other road transportation (mostly heavy duty trucks), 14% from water navigation, 13% from aviation and less than 1% from rail travel [2]

  • Carbon dioxide emissions from diesel cars are similar to emissions from petrol cars. However, diesel cars emit more of the toxic gas nitrogen dioxide and more fine particulate matter, which increases the risk of respiratory problems and cancer respectively.

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Impact assessment

Average UK daily commuting distance [3] = 17.6 miles

To ensure a 'majority' of a commute is replaced with public transport, we will look at the reduction in emissions from swapping half of the average commute (8.8 miles) from car travel to train travel.

Car travel (only passenger) emissions per km [1] = 171g CO2e
Emission from 8.8 miles of car travel (171x14.2) = 2.43kg CO2e

Domestic rail travel emissions per passenger per km [1] = 41g CO2e
Emission from 8.8 miles of train travel (41x14.2) = 0.58kg CO2e

Daily difference in emissions when switching 8.8 miles of car travel with train travel (2.43-0.58) = 1.85 kgCO2e 

Number of working days in a year = c. 250

Annual emissions saving from switching 10 miles of car travel with train travel (250x1.85) = 462.5kg = 0.46 tonnes CO2e*

*Note - actual emission reduction of swapping car travel with train travel will vary based on many factors. These include, but are not limited to, distance of commute swapped to public transport, type of public transport taken, type of vehicle driven previously, number of passengers in car previously and style of driving.

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