Sustainable Transport Hub

Choose a low carbon transport option for everyday travel and reduce one of the biggest impacts we, the outdoor community, have on our climate and our planet. Get onboard! 

What is the problem?

The transport sector is Europe’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, contributing more than a quarter of all emissions on the continent. Within the tourism sector, transport accounts for 75% of the global emissions, of this 40% is attributable to air travel. Transport is therefore a key driver of climate change; raising temperature, shortening winters and reducing snowfall. As the outdoor community we see the impact of these changes through melting glaciers, increasing rockfall and smaller snowpacks.

Flight as transport

Emissions from air travel are a significant contributor to climate change, accounting for 40% of emissions from tourism travel. Aircraft not only create CO2 but also non-CO2 emissions such as water vapour, aerosols and nitrogen oxides. This can increase air travel climate impact by 2 to 4 times. The aviation sector’s subsidization and the exemption of jet fuel from taxes mean it is often cheaper to fly than to take the train in Europe. Short haul flights within Europe emit more CO2 per km travelled because of the increased fuel burn in take off and landing. This is a key issue when tackling unsustainable travel, as long as the travel option that emits most CO2 is the cheapest, for routes where other options exist, it will be hard to create change and reduce the impact of travel on our climate.

Bus as transport

A full single decker bus can replace around 40 cars, making buses a great option for sustainable travel where rail networks are not available. Bus transportation needs to be more dependable and efficient, with issues of access, connectivity and the ability to transport sports equipment being key challenges in increasing its use for the outdoor community. Globally only 50% of urban residents have convenient access to public transport.

Car as transport

Taking the car is currently the most carbon intensive form of land transport. At the same time, it is also the most popular choice. Road transport accounts for 75% of transport emissions, with most of this coming from passenger vehicles which contribute to around 45% of the total. The average European car in the EU emits 1.8 tons of CO2 in a year. Under-occupancy of cars increases the problem with an empty car creating 4 times the impact per passenger than a full one. Despite this, average occupancy stands at just 1.5 passengers per car.

Train as transport

Train travel is the  most environmentally friendly mode of motorised passenger transport in Europe in terms of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). In Europe there is a 9,100 km high-speed rail network and an increasing number of cross border night trains means that the train can be considered a true alternative to the airplane for cross-Europe travel.  A total of 75% of the European rail network uses electric trains reducing the local impact of air pollution and decoupling train travel from the production of fossil fuels. Taking the train is also the safest of all land transport options with a far lower accident rate than road travel. There are still difficulties with pricing, the transportation of sports equipment and complexities around tickets that cover multiple rail companies. But the train should be thought of as the greenest go to option where network availability allows.

Sustainable travels

Protect Our Winters wants to encourage the outdoor community to choose more sustainable options for everyday travel. So that we, as a community, can reduce our overall emissions where it has the biggest impact and create a positive impact on the environment.

From Passion to Action

Help protect our winters, one trip at the time! Let’s reframe our journeys to make them part of the adventure, and choose transport options that cause the least impact to the places and the lifestyles we love. Make your next mission as green as possible, whether it is to the backcountry or the office.

Reframe the Journey with POW

Cut the CO2 emissions of your next adventure.

Get off the beaten track

  • What’s influencing your choice of destination? Following the instagram hotspots or something inside of you?
  • Think about what you really want from your dream vacation. Is it deep Powder, a cultural change or a comfortable stay? Chasing the experience closer to home rather than far flung destinations can lead to the trip of a lifetime. Do you really need to go to Alaska to get Powder or can you find it in the Alps?

Can you tell which of these is Alaska and which is Norway?

Slow down and stay longer

  • One longer vacation produces less travel emissions than multiple shorter trips. So stay longer and explore the local area. Spending more time in one destination could mean a more authentic, memorable, and meaningful trip.
  • Slow down, connect with the location. What does the landscape have to offer? Find the locals, maybe they will take you to their secret spots. Protect Our Winters is active across Europe, why not connect with the local POW community.
  • Maximise time on site, leave after work on the night train, sleep, then wake up at your location.

Consider your mode of transport

  • Calculate your CO2 emissions of your journey. What is the difference in CO2 emissions between taking the train and flying? Between driving alone or taking the bus? The POW science alliance approves the figures shown below as the most up to date available. Can you choose another transport option with lower emissions for the same journey?
  • Make travel a part of your adventure, travel with friends new or old. A full car emits only 25% as much CO2 per person as driving alone. Do you have space in yours?
  • Some CO2 emissions will remain unavoidable. You can compensate for these through a process known as “carbon offsetting”. But make sure you do everything you can to reduce your impact first.

Inspiration on Sustainable Travel

Looking for some inspiration on how to travel sustainably and still get to the places you love? Check out these films and see how big an adventure you can have whilst keeping your travel impact to a minimum. If professional athletes can do it, we all can! Slow down and enjoy the ride!