Why Technology Is Invaluable For Pushing Sustainable Travel

Travel is back on the agenda. Since the onset of the pandemic, sustainability and the need to tackle climate change is at the forefront of everybody’s mind, especially post-COP26. So what can we all do about it and how can technology help us make better decisions?

What constitutes sustainable travel?

It seems easier to hop on a flight or get in the car when planning to travel. However, more often than not the cheapest, fastest and greenest option is rail. Rail emits 80% less than a car. At the moment that would-be travellers weigh up the pros and cons, rail needs to shout louder about its benefits. Enter: tech.

Technology to help us all

These days you can offset your carbon emissions by creating a climate positive trip, for example, purchasing through Trainhugger, which plants a tree for every rail booking, or by using a car-sharing app to reduce one’s footprint.

Whoosh’s Real-Time Journey Dashboard, which is currently available onboard many UK rail operators, seeks to solve customers’ anxieties regarding rail. For example, a quarter of rail customers complain of crashing websites or apps getting in the way; one in five say they are served up incorrect or outdated info; and for more than one in 10 (15 percent) the information they want simply does not seem to exist.

The Dashboard, accessed via QR codes, delivers these demands as real-time updates bespoke to each journey direct to customers’ smartphones. Even better, train operators can entice more people onboard with the results of Whoosh’s carbon calculator which compares the consumption between rail and car and emphasises the benefits of this form of transport. Compare this with the surprise traffic jam, the unforeseen puncture, or the delays at an airport and rail should be winning on ease of travel. But it’s not, at least not yet.

A better journey equals sustainability

Sustainability is a lifestyle and moral discussion, which society is currently working through. However, as work through this process, the rail industry should continue to accelerate its use of technology to help passengers enjoy every step of their journey, so they continue to choose rail. If rail becomes more efficient, cheaper and more comfortable then these reasons will push consumers towards the train.

Meanwhile the sustainability conversation will help pull them away from other more polluting forms of transport. Both the planet and Britain’s Railways have been waiting far too long. Let’s act now, use tech and make sure we all end up on the right journey.


Written by Edmund Caldecott, CEO at Whoosh

Edmund Caldecott