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Carbon Aware Travel CHoices in the climate-friendly world of tomorrow

State of the Art - Background

The facts illustrating increased energy use and the resulting environmental impacts of transport are well known; the solutions, however, are less clear. Technologies are being developed throughout Europe providing opportunities to move towards a more sustainable future. However, there remains a need for a trusted and easily accessible resource which enables travellers, policy-makers, operators, etc. to determine appropriate actions to address the growing environmental challenge.

Individuals, businesses, municipalities and governments need to make informed choices to change their own behaviours but the options available to them, and the potential impacts of these options, are less clear. This is particularly the case in personal trip decision-making, where the increasing awareness and desire to travel responsibly is often clouded by a lack of trust in whether or not a behavioural change is in fact 'worth it'. The example of carbon calculation is particularly pertinent. Many users of such tools become disillusioned as the calculation is not transparent, based on accurate or reliable information, and is often not consistent across calculators.

Furthermore, citizens and other stakeholders are increasingly asking themselves if they should bother changing their actions if larger forces at sway elsewhere are dwarfing or negating the positive impacts of their own lifestyle change.


The vision of CATCH is for it to become the natural place to look for mobility-related greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction advice and information. In order to achieve this, it will develop and disseminate a trusted and credible open knowledge platform which:

- enhances awareness of the environmental impacts of mobility and potential solutions to their management;

- enables travellers to make timely and informed climate-friendly travel choices;

- empowers public transport operators, city managers and other mobility stakeholders to more readily and accurately incorporate environmental opportunities and challenges into their planning and innovation processes;

- identifies/forecasts the changes in climate-friendly behaviour resulting from the introduction of financial measures or incentives targeted on GHG reduction;

- links the knowledge platform to fiscal measures provided by taxes, charges and carbon trading schemes to ensure that the combination of such measures and the knowledge platform encourages behavioural change;

- ensures that new mechanisms for funding and impact (e.g. carbon offset and trading, clean development mechanism) will be exploited, integrating the global dimension of GHG reduction with individual behavioural change;

- enhances the transparency and public understanding of government and corporate climate change policies, thereby increasing trust.

Description of Work

Detailed understanding of target audiences and the factors which will impact their behaviour is the bedrock upon which the knowledge platform will be built. The detailed content of the platform - the combinations of information and knowledge which will trigger real behavioural change - will be ascertained in user-requirement grounding and innovative platform-designed charrettes.

The knowledge engine will provide a single source where information from disparate sources can be effectively managed and syndicated for delivery to consumers/users. This should result in adding value to the way that information can be exploited and handled in order to meet the stakeholders and users' strategic requirements.

The capability of analysing data to provide information for improved planning, logistics, feedback and so on will also be incorporated. This has already proven itself useful for other applications such as operational logistics and the utility to analyse behavioural data, for example. Feeding the output back to the stakeholders should help in the overall process of urban planning.

The research into concepts of an exchange platform currently used in the financial sector and e-business area will be investigated here in prototyping some ideas for a carbon trading exchange.

Expected Results

A range of deliverables from individual work packages will be presented from CATCH. The overarching substantive outputs will be:

- The CATCH platform, which will be delivered via a dedicated user website. This will provide the main interface for the user and the platform, and is the most appropriate media for the Virtual Environmental Travel Assistant.

- The Virtual Environmental Travel Assistant itself, which will allow travellers to understand the impacts of their current and potential behaviours on carbon output. It will utilise validated and trusted data and calculations, and make use of appropriate triggers to bring about effective change. This will adopt visualisation tools of future scenarios of GHG changes.

- The Awareness and Advocacy Tools and Innovation Resource, which will be in the form of an online search for a range of key documents and information sources, and will utilise an interactive message board.

- The CATCH knowledge engine consisting of a GHG and performance database and a support database.

- An exploitation plan based on the work of an ongoing Green Business Design Workshop, which will explore new organisational and financial models for carbon reduction in mobility and the role of the platform within this.

- Dissemination activities including four Interest Group Conferences and a Final Conference as well as related activities.