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Low Carbon Means of Everyday Transport

This blog is the latest in our LCA series which looks at lifecycle analysis assessments of different means of everyday transport. The 4 means of transport were considered:
• Bicycle
• Bus (public transport)
• Electric Car
• Diesel Car
We looked at the carbon impacts of 1 person travelling 20km via each of the above means of transport.
As shown in the figure below, the option that emits the least amount of carbon is the bicycle, followed by bus, electric car and diesel respectively. The differences between the options, especially in relation to the bicycle are significant, for instance, travelling the same distance via a diesel car emits nearly 29 times more carbon for the exact same journey! Even accounting for road wear, bike maintenance and manufacture, this option comes out on top. With the cars, these impacts are certainly higher, as you may expect. Moreover, with the bus option (public transport), the associated carbon burdens of manufacture, maintenance and road wear are spread across the passengers travelling on the bus, and so are much lower. 

As an example, if 4 people that car share a diesel car, then each passenger would have a lower impact than travelling on a bus doing the same journey, demonstrating the benefits of car share. Two people sharing an electric car journey would have individual impacts close to that of the same bus journey. Buses running on Hydrogen or electric would be lower impact still. For car owners, rethinking the approach to journeys, and instead looking at walking, cycling, travel by bus or car sharing could deliver multiple benefits to the individual, the environment, other people and potentially save money!

So, what is your predominant method of everyday transport and what are your thoughts on balancing this with climate change? Could this change your commuter habits? To discuss any technical aspects of the models, or how an Lifecycle Assessment might be beneficial to you feel free to get in touch with our team!