Counting and Cutting CO2 Emissions With WWF Travel Helper

WWF and Swiss firm routeRANK have launched an online European travel planner designed to help fight climate change.

The WWF Travel Planner will give users information on travel times and connections, but will also reveal the carbon footprint of each option.

Whilst WWF hopes it will encourage travellers to choose the lowest-carbon option, it will also allow users to neutralise the carbon emissions of all modes of transport .

Travel websites usually only consider one transport means at a time, but the WWF Travel Helper addresses the entire route and fully integrates road, rail and air transport into a one-stop shop.

Aimed primarily at consumers and individual businessmen and women, the WWF Travel Helper can be accessed via http://travel.panda.org.

"There is a lot of demand for an easy-to-use, online search engine that not only tells you all the different ways of getting from A to B, but also tells you the cost - and the carbon emissions - of each alternative,” said Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, WWF Director of Corporate Relations.

"Whether it is for work or leisure, the WWF Travel Planner powered by routeRANK will help people to better understand, manage and reduce the financial and environmental costs of travelling.

"For a conservation organisation like WWF it will also be an indispensable tool in helping us walk the talk on tackling climate change."

Visitors to the site will be able to key in their departure and destination points, and will be given a list of all the available routes and the corresponding schedules, expected travel times including connections, and detailed CO2 emissions information.

WWF and routeRANK are now looking to develop more sophisticated, custom-built versions of the programme for corporations and government departments. Customised versions will also provide more detailed door-to-door routing options, management reporting tools and integrated booking and carbon offsetting features.

“RouteRANK is an intelligent tool that will allow users to make an informed, carbon-conscious de-cision for specific journeys and travel routes,” said Dr Klaus Töpfer, former Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“This system will make possible informed travel choices, which are not only cost and time-efficient but also benefit the environment.”

Users will be given the option of neutralizing the carbon emissions from their chosen mode of travel. With a mouse click green energy credits will be purchasable from “Climate Friendly”, a WWF partner.

The WWF Travel Helper automatically calculates the emissions generated by your trip and the cost of compensating for them through investing in new renewable energy projects around the world.

“Current independent travel and transport planning is time-consuming, tedious and often leads to sub-optimal results that waste fuel, money and time,” said routeRANK chairman Jochen Mundiger.

“routeRANK allows for a three-fold contribution to reducing emissions by providing the first comprehensive comparison of CO2 emissions from integrated air, road and rail travel; by educating the general public with information on the emissions generated by their personal travel routes at the moment of booking their trip; and by raising the awareness of available public transport options, in particular for airport transfers.”

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