European city study shows the green effects of active transport

How much can walking or cycling to work reduce your carbon footprint? Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at the impact on the urban environment

Once we venture out of our homes and back into the workplace, how can we consolidate sustainability gains made during the pandemic and reduce the environmental impact of moving around the city?

According to a study of seven European cities,  walking, cycling and e-biking instead of taking the car or other form of motorised transport, even just one day a week, will have a significant impact on reducing an individual’s carbon footprint.

A team from the University of Oxford’s Transport Studies Unit with researchers from Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy found that shifting to active transport could save as much as a quarter of personal carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from transport.

‘Increases in active mobility significantly lower carbon footprints in European cities…’

The study is the first analysis of the carbon-reducing impact of city-based lifestyle changes, and forms part of the EU-funded project PASTA: Physical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Approaches. Published in the journal Global Environmental Change, it reveals that increases in active mobility significantly lower carbon footprints, even in European cities that already have a high incidence of walking and cycling.

The study followed nearly 2,000 people in seven European cities: Antwerp, Barcelona, London,  Rome, Vienna, Zurich and Orebro in Sweden. It analysed data collected on participants’ daily travel behaviour, journey purpose, as well as information on their home and work or study location, whether they have access to public transport, and socio-economic factors.

Lead researcher Dr Christian Brand, from the University of Oxford, said: ‘We found that those who switch just one trip per day from car driving to cycling reduce their carbon footprint by about 0.5 tonnes over a year, representing a substantial share of average per capita CO2 emissions.  If just 10 per cent of the population were to change travel behaviour, the emissions savings would be around 4 per cent of lifecycle CO2 emissions from all car travel.’

The largest benefits from shifts from car to active travel were for business travel, followed by social and leisure trips, and commuting to work or place of study. These results also showed that those who already cycled had 84-per-cent lower CO2 emissions from all daily travel compared with non-cyclists. As work patterns look set to vary from the pre-pandemic daily commute, we must take care to stay out of our cars.

Listen up: the future sound of the workplace

In our latest WORKTECH webinar on 11  February 2020,  one of Europe’s leading authorities on workplace acoustics – Jesper Kock, vice president of research and development at Danish sound company EPOS – was interviewed by Jeremy Myerson of WORKTECH Academy. The discussion centred on a new research report on acoustics, productivity and the future of work, published by EPOS with WORKTECH Academy.

Kock and Myerson explored the future of employee communication and the role of voice in an increasingly hybrid workforce. Kock explained the science behind listening, and that constant noise distraction can cause brain fatigue, which in turn can dampen productivity. Interactive polls during the discussion suggested that communication between teams is a key challenge for many organisations. Kock and Myerson discussed the impact of the right acoustic equipment on performance and communication and how organisations can capitalise on acoustics to boost employee productivity. Watch the full webinar here. 

Smart thinking: learning from the experts

At this privotal time in the world of work, many organisations are looking to smart technologies to provide the silver-bullet solution to get employees back to the office. However, the technology market has so many new products and innovations that it can be difficult to know where to start.

WORKTECH’s Smart Buildings virtual conference on 24-25 February 2021 aims to sift through smart building technologies to provide organisations with a starting point to implement their digital journey. It will shine a spotlight on the 22 Bishopsgate development in the City of London, which aims to be the most people-focused, smart office development in the capital, through multiple discussions with the people who masterminded the project from its inception to its technology integration.

The event will showcase the full spectrum of 22 Bishopsgate’s many innovations and digital firsts, as well as exploring some of the key global trends and technologies that will transform the future of real estate. Join the discussion live and pose questions to the pioneers behind 22 Bishopsgate, industry experts and workplace visionaries. Find more information here.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our virtual platforms. This edition is posted 17 February 2021.
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