Global tourism leaves a huge carbon footprint to the tune of 8% of total greenhouse gas emission in the world and we are at a time and age where people are sensitive to the tangible effects of climate change.
According to studies, short flights emit more carbon dioxide than long haul flights as a majority of the emission is during take-off than cruising. If you make a comparison between premium and economy travel, the former has more environmental impact due to a lower number of seats in premium seating areas. As aviation contributes 2% of the global carbon emission, it is a point at which effects can be mitigated. The International Air Transport Association predicts that passenger numbers will double to 8.2 Billion in 2037. Studies suggest that flights have the highest impact, per trip, on the environment followed by single-passenger cars, bus, carpooling and rail followed by Eurostar trains.
Statistically, short flights emit 254 grams of carbon per person while a bus emits 104 grams at 2/5th the emission. However, if we were to contemplate the time and cost of options, we can compare a short flight between London and Paris with the Eurostar train. While a flight would cost about 45 Euros with a commute time of 1 hour and 15 minutes, Eurostar costs as little as 52 Euros and a travel time of 2 hours if planned well in advance. I believe that these two options are comparable when it comes to these important parameters of time and cost. And this would be at 1/46th the carbon emission, where short flights emit 254 grams of carbon and Eurostar trains emit 6 grams per person. The average traveller must be presented with this reality.
With the advancement in Artificial Intelligence(AI), it can find widespread application in travel planning. We are modelling a solution where the AI assistant scans billions of data points to present options with varying amounts of carbon emission. As an extension of efforts, the algorithm will dispense a range of alternative modes and schedules of travel to a destination to lower the environmental impact of their travel.
People are looking to reduce the impact of their travel on the environment and this solution would be sustainable use of material and resources in infrastructure. A demonstration of this is Greta Thunberg choosing to sail in a zero-emissions yacht to the United Nations Climate Conference than fly to New York.