Switching from a car to a bicycle at least once a day can reduce an average citizen's carbon emissions from transport by 67%, as per a research conducted by University of Oxford transport professor Christian Brand.
After an in-depth study of commuting data from more than 3,800 people across seven cities, the findings show that that even if not all car trips could be substituted by bicycle trips, the potential for decreasing emissions is still very high. In fact, trips for recreational purposes such as shopping or social visits which are significantly shorter, have more potential for a shift toward walking or cycling.
The study further states that if even 10% of the population chooses to replace one car trip each day with a bike trip, overall transport emissions can be expected to be decreased by about 10%. If the same percentage of the population chooses to substitute one car trip with one trip by public transport, transport emissions on individual level would be 19% lower.
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The findings to the research that is one of the few to have comprehensive conclusions on the climate impact of transport choices, is a work of over two years. Habits of various individuals in Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Rome, Vienna, Zurich, and Orebro in Sweden were tracked to reach to this conclusion. Participants of the survey completed almost 10,000 detailed one-day travel diaries, with over 34,200 trips logged in total.
Some results varied across cities as there area differences in terms of climate, geography, urbanization level and income. But most other data remained consistent across the spectrum.
The study also found that carbon emissions from cars were more than double of those from public transport while cycling caused less than 5% of public transport emissions. Cycling does not emit greenhouse gases but the researchers also accounted for the emissions that arise from manufacturing and disposing of these bikes.
(with inputs from Bloomberg)