Driving home for Christmas

17th December 2014

Day 9 of EAUC Sustainble Christmas is Travel and Transport

Fears of travel chaos as Christmas getaway begins early Airports and railway stations are preparing for their busiest ever festive season as the annual exodus begins a full week before Christmas Day according to the Times.

Record numbers of passengers are expected to flee Britain for a Christmas getaway this year, raising fears of travel chaos at crowded airports and railway stations.

According to new data, passenger numbers will start to swell on Thursday, a full week before Christmas Day. The next day, 400,000 people will fly out of Britain for a holiday abroad, the Independent reported. In total 5,250,617 people will depart from and arrive into the UK over the festive season to spend Christmas with loved ones.

Millions more will take to the roads to visit friends and family, while train services will also be stretched. Engineering work on the West Coast line means Virgin Trains will not operate to or from London Euston from 25 to 28 December, while many East Coast Trains services are already sold out. Source: Times

Love Miles

People often travel significant distances to visit family and friends at Christmas time – what some environmentalists refer to as love miles. These journeys matter to people, but they can be done in a more environmentally-friendly way.

1. Avoid air travel if you can, this is one of the largest carbon impacts an individual can have.

2. A lot of people are travelling at the same time – check to see whether you can share a car or take public transport.

3. There are a number of car sharing websites - sharing a journey means a lower carbon footprint for each passenger, less traffic on the roads, splitting fuel costs and hopefully getting some good company.

4. Consider whether you could replace a journey another option, such as a video chat.

Source: The Carbon Trust

Five ways to save on the road

Simple tips to stop your car burning fuel and a hole in your pocket

Nearly a quarter of the UK’s total CO2 emissions result from the 29.1 million cars on the road. That’s a monumental amount and one that could be easily reduced if everyone did their bit.

Hybrid cars and electric vehicles are growing in popularity, but even if you’re driving around an old banger or a big 4x4 there are still ways you can help. Here’s how:  

1. Slow down: driving at a lower speed is not just safer for you and your passengers, but it’s also beneficial to your petrol tank. Driving at 50mph uses 15% less fuel than driving at 70mph. (Source: AA)

2. Pump up those tyres: get into the habit of checking the pressure of your tyres particularly before long journeys. Under-inflated tyres create more resistance on the road meaning you’ll use more fuel.

3. Drive in a higher gear: the more you rev, the more petrol your car’s using.

4. Go manual: if you’re planning to rent a car or buy a new one, consider opting for a manual car as automatics use around 10% to 15% more fuel than manuals. Or, go one better and look into buying a hybrid or electric vehicle. (Source: AA)

5. The more weight in your car, the harder it’ll have to work to move. Empty your car of any rubbish and unnecessary items regularly.

Source: British Gas

How to drive in snow and icy weather

With millions of bets already being placed on whether we'll get a white Christmas, it's also important to consider driving safety. The BBC have some top tips on how to prepare your car for winter driving if you have to make a journey and what to do should you be caught out in bad weather. Find out more

Source: BBC

Winterproof your bike ride: Top tips on cycling in cold weather

Don't forget, getting on your bike at Christmas and during the winter months is still possible and a great way of getting around and seeing all the festivities up-close! Here are some top tips on how to stay happy and safe on your bike when cycling during the cold and icy winter months.

Also, it can be hard for motorists to spot cyclists at the best of times, so take extra care when cycling in dark conditions. Read tips for cycling in dark weather.

Source: Sustrans

What are you doing to be sustainable during the Christmas exodus? Head on over to Facebook to weigh in!

Travel and Transport is a Framework within Learning in Future Environments (LiFE)
> Check out more resources on 'Travel and Transport' on the Sustainability Exchange
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