Saying goodbye at airports the green way

Jan 21, 2010

Groundbreaking work is under way to establish just how big a carbon footprint is created by travel to and from airports.

The study is the first of its kind in the world to look at this issue. It also aims to pinpoint innovative measures that will cut these emissions, such as:

  • Setting up audio/video facilities at airports that can link with anyone's home, reducing the need to travel to airports to see off friends and family.
  • Situating luggage-drop facilities in city centres and train stations, making it easier to travel to airports by public transport.
  • Establishing web/mobile-based information-sharing services that promote car-sharing among users, employees etc.
The study is being carried out by a team from the Universities of Loughborough, Cranfield and Leeds, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

"Aviation is a significant source of , but it's not just the planes that are a problem," says project leader Dr Tim Ryley of Loughborough University. "Travelling to and from airports also has a big impact, but no-one has yet quantified it or identified how to reduce it. This study will address that gap in our understanding."

The study will focus on two UK airports - one international and one regional - and generate recommendations that the aviation industry, airport authorities and policy-makers can implement to reduce aviation's overall .

The study will look at every kind of journey to and from airports. It will not only take into account people catching a flight but also those seeing off or meeting friends and relatives, as well as airline and airport employees.

It will also assess the impact of different types of delivery (food, fuel etc), freight movement and other logistics associated with airport terminals and surrounding facilities.

Importantly, as well as devising and evaluating innovative ways of reducing the carbon footprint of airport journeys (using tried and tested computer modelling techniques) and quantifying their carbon reduction potential, the study will conduct market research to explore how receptive people would be to any recommended changes.

"There's no point developing and implementing a carbon-reduction measure if it won't work in the real world - perhaps because it involves people paying more than they're prepared to pay," says Dr Ryley. "So developing a realistic understanding of attitudes and motivations with respect to people's environmental behaviour will be key to delivering a practical set of recommendations."

An important feature of the project is its interdisciplinary nature, harnessing social sciences and economics alongside engineering and the physical sciences.

The study is due to deliver its conclusions by the end of 2012.

Explore further: Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Airport food improving

Nov 21, 2006

A new survey suggests airport food is becoming healthier -- at least at 13 of the busiest airports in the United States.

If it works in London's streets, it can work in our skies

Apr 22, 2009

In London, motorists pay a fee to drive into certain parts of the city during peak traffic hours, and the idea has been considered for implementation in New York as well. Now Dr. Itai Ater, an economist from Tel Aviv University's ...

Tracking your carbon footprint

Feb 25, 2008

An innovation called Carbon Hero may help reduce global warming by making people more aware of their carbon footprint. Regional prize winner in the 2007 European Satellite Navigation Competition, sponsored ...

Recommended for you

Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

17 hours ago

The work of a research leader at Michigan Technological University is attracting attention from Michigan's Governor as well as automotive companies around the world. Xiaodi "Scott" Huang of Michigan Tech's ...

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...