Junior Account Executive, Elemchi Nwosu, reports on her recent insight into sustainable travel and transport in Bristol…

On 26 March, Copper heard some ground-breaking ideas about sustainable travel at Go Green’s latest business breakfast. Almost 100 people met at Brunel’s SS Great Britain to see presentations, pitches and exhibitions discussing environmentally friendly transport initiatives. Bristol’s population has grown rapidly over the past decade and so has the number of people using public transport (for example, 20% more people are using buses this year compared to last year). Increasing strains on the city’s transport capacity are making people seek less environmentally costly ways to get around.

Speakers included James Freeman from First Group who introduced the infamous Bio-Bus, otherwise known as the ‘poo bus.’ Powered by a gas that is generated from treating human and food waste, the Bio-Bus is running as a trial to investigate the possibilities of gas-powered transport and its benefits to the environment. Freeman explained that a “poo-powered journey not only emits 30% less CO2 than a standard diesel bus, but produces odour-free emissions.” The Bio-Bus started operating in Bristol on Wednesday 25 March on selected journeys on Service 2.

Dr Suzanne Audrey from Bristol University gave practical advice on encouraging colleagues to take a healthier but often less preferred option – walking! One suggestion was for businesses to reduce staff parking spaces and, using the money saved from this, to promote walking through subsidised walking shoes, wet weather clothing, free umbrellas or rucksacks, locker facilities and washing facilities.

Offering incentives for employees to walk or cycle is something Copper has already embraced – all staff can sign up to Green Rewards’ ‘JUMP’ scheme which rewards people for taking positive steps and motivates them to do more by awarding credits for walking and cycling (amongst other activities) which can be spent in the Green Rewards online shop or donated to charity.

Ian Barrett, CIC Director & Chair of Project Liaison Group for the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, adopted a more macro-economic view by outlining Bristol’s ‘Good Transport Plan’ (keep an eye on the website for updates as this project takes shape).

Numerous activities were available for attendees to trial. Exhibitors displayed green travel products such as electric cars and bikes (which were all free to test-drive) and car clubs and cycle couriers promoted their services. Cycle courier Velopost is a great example of fossil fuel-free delivery service. Already operating in Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh, Velopost is committed to removing all excess fossil fuel costs in postal delivery whilst keeping the cost to the recipient very low. Corporate-focused charities like Life Cycle UK were also present. Aspiring to create a healthier workforce, Life Cycle UK encourages individuals, schools and businesses to make cycling part of their everyday lives through cycle training and maintenance services. A charity representative insisted that “additional benefits include increased staff productivity, reduced stress and improved punctuality.”

Copper certainly enjoyed a glimpse of Bristol’s transportation future. It is clear that numerous innovations are coming through to deliver a carbon-free transport system, but in the meantime, we as individuals can make a conscious decision to help by travelling in the most environmentally friendly way available to us.

For more information, visit the Go Green website and follow @GoGreenBristol on Twitter.