Coach travel beats all other forms of transportation in terms of its impact on the environment.
If you compare coach travel with any other form of transportation, its environmental credentials will trump all varieties except cycling and walking.
Coaches and buses are the cleanest way to travel. Whoever has their doubts ought to put the coach numbers through a carbon footprint calculator and have a good look at the corresponding figures for alternative modes of transportation, especially the figure representing the CO2 emissions per passenger. A passenger car carrying one person emits 89 pounds of CO2 per 100 passenger miles, while a full bus emits only 14 pounds.
One of the most important reasons why coach travel champions the effort to spare the environment is that it reduces congestion. The rationale here is obvious; a coach full of passengers takes up far less space on the road compared to the alternative scenario, in which the same people travel individually by car. And the broader implications of reduced road congestion have a snowballing effect; reduced road congestion allows average speeds to rise, which in turn allows engines to operate more efficiently, with lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. A direct effect of lower congestion is of course that it also produces less air pollution. Furthermore, there are fewer road accidents.
Technology plays a decisive role in making coach travel a top performer in environmentally friendly transportation options. Coach engines are constantly optimised for low emissions of diesel particles and low fuel consumption. Various engineering technologies capitalise on the combination of highly efficient engines and the latest emission reduction techniques. These innovations in engineering have achieved spectacular goals already. Today, coach travel is considered twice as efficient as rail, nearly four times more efficient than car travel, and six times more efficient than air travel. For every coach in operation, approximately 30 cars are taken off the road.
National E aims to cut fuel consumption by two per cent across the entire fleet. A further example of improved environmental credentials is improving emission levels by adding a reducing agent to the diesel used in a coach. This converts the pollutant nitrogen oxide into nitrogen and water vapour, two harmless substances. This type of innovation significantly lowers particulate emissions.
These are especially important factors in the city of London, which recently has adopted European rules for its Low Emission Zone (LEZ), requiring all coaches to meet the new particle exhaust emissions levels set by Transport for London (TfL). Coaches who do not meet these stringent regulations pay a surcharge when they access the zone. The new rules ensure coaches meet European Union standards.
The UK government has embarked on an effort to reduce carbon emissions up to 80 per cent by 2050 and the transport sector is playing a pivotal role in this, as it is responsible for 28 per cent of the UK’s CO2 emissions. The Confederation of Passenger Transport released figures showing that if only a ten per cent rise in annual coach journeys is achieved, this would translate in over 17 million fewer car journeys.
Travelling by coach, whether during a company outing or staff shuttle, a family reunion, a wedding, a school trip or a regular commute, greatly contributes to improving the environment around us. Congestion on the roads is reduced, parking requirements are eliminated, CO2 reductions are decisively significant and as coaches are generally allowed to use bus lanes, travel is swift and relaxing.