Green Technology
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Green Technology: Changing How We Travel

Without a Trace: How Green Technology is Changing the Way We Travel

Traditionally when people booked travel arrangements, they tended to focus solely on issues such as price and convenience. Of course, these factors are still hugely important. However, individuals are increasingly paying attention to the carbon footprints of their journeys too.

If you’re making travel arrangements or are thinking of a late holiday and find yourself checking the green credentials of your itinerary, you might be pleased to note that eco-friendly technology is now being integrated by a range of transport hubs and providers.

At the Airport

Airports are starting to embrace greener solutions. Last year, ACI Europe noted that more than 50% of passengers traveling throughout the continent were arriving at environmentally friendly hubs. Indeed, many European airports claim to be the very greenest of all.

One hub that surely has a good case to make is East Midlands Airport, in the UK. Over recent years, it has implemented a range of solutions, including a recycling scheme and noise pollution programs. Meanwhile, fuel for the terminal’s heating system comes from willow specially grown on the site and wind turbines contribute to its power supply. These initiatives proved so successful that the airport met its goals of becoming carbon neutral in 2012.

Another hub to have embraced green technology is Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. It uses biofuel in its buildings and aims to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2020. Meanwhile, its airport shuttle buses run on rape seed oil and it uses cabs classed as “eco taxis” too.

Of course, Europe isn’t the only continent to be responding to environmental concerns. Hubs in the US have also been putting impressive eco schemes into place.  Boston Logan International Airport is among the hubs leading the way. It uses wind turbines and solar panels, and its gates have been fitted with aircraft plug-in power options so that aircraft don’t have to run their auxiliary power units as much while they’re waiting on the ground. The airport also houses compressed natural gas fueling stations and charging stations for electric vehicles.

When it comes to recycling, Denver International Airport is hard to top. It can recycle over 20 different materials, ranging from aircraft de-icing fluid to glass and organics.

On Board

As well as airports, transport companies are making an effort to go green. Boeing has been touting the fuel efficiency and range of its flagship plane, the 787 Dreamliner. Thanks to improvements in these features, the planes now can make direct flights between hubs as far apart as Heathrow and Austin. Boeing also claims that by increasing cabin pressure in the aircraft, it has helped to alleviate the ill-effects of flying on passengers.

Back on terra firma, car manufacturer Audi has developed new traffic light recognition technology that it says can help to reduce fuel usage and emissions by cutting the amount of time cars spend idling at the lights. The system shows drivers the speed that they need to be driving at to pass through upcoming lights without stopping, courtesy of a special in-vehicle connection that links up with the town or city’s central traffic management system.

Meanwhile, Californian tech giant Google is among the firms currently working on self-driving cars. Those behind the project believe these vehicles can cut fuel usage and increase safety on the roads.

Watch this Space

Transport technology is changing all the time and many of the developments are helping to reduce environmental harm. Given the rapid pace of change and the increasing environmental awareness of travelers, it’s hard to predict what will happen next. When it comes to future travel, it’s a case of watch this space!

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  • It will be interesting to see how technologies such as solar, biofuels, carbon fibre, etc. evolve to reduce the environmental impact of travel, to improve profitability of incumbents, and to create new companies and hopefully new industries for job growth.

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