Connecting Active Travel and the Climate Emergency

By Julia Thorley

Published: March 13, 2024

Person holding sign saying No Planet B

3 minute read

You probably know that choosing active and sustainable ways to travel is better for all of us. Fewer vehicles on the road can lead to safer journeys, reduced congestion and cleaner air, which means better social, physical and mental health for everyone. But alongside this, there is also a great opportunity for us all to adapt our behaviour to reduce our carbon emissions and help tackle the worsening climate emergency.

Individual choice

None of us can solve the climate emergency on our own, but we can work together to address the issue, alongside the need for economic well being. Nobody can do everything, but each of us can do something.
The most obvious solution is to drive less. Transport is the largest source of carbon emissions and it is something we can all potentially do something about on a daily basis.

Bike on the road crossing.

Could you leave your car at home for those short trips and choose active travel instead? You might be surprised how close places are when you’re on foot or two wheels and you don’t have to follow the one-way system! Get yourself a backpack, some panniers or a traditional basket on the front of your bike. Lead by example. If your friends and family see you walking and cycling, they might be tempted to join you.
If you can’t avoid driving, consider combining two or three short trips to reduce overall journey time. Another option is to car share to cut the number of vehicles on the road. 

Tips for drivers

  • Adopting eco-driving techniques can reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Become a smooth operator! Use a light foot on the pedals, and avoid unnecessary acceleration and fierce braking. 
  • Don’t sit with your car idling. You’re wasting fuel and churning unwanted emissions from your exhaust pipe. Turn off your aircon, too. It makes your engine work harder.
  • Reduce unnecessary weight in your car. When was the last time you cleared out the clutter in your boot? Take off your roof box, roof rack or cycle carrier when you’re not using it, to reduce drag, fuel use and emissions.
  • When the time comes to replace your car, consider switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle (EV). If this isn’t an option, consider using so-called ‘premium’ fuels, which contain active cleaning agents to remove dirt from the engine, which could improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.
  • Whatever vehicle you drive, try to have it serviced regularly for maximum efficiency. Even something as simple as keeping your tyres at the correct pressure can bring advantages.

Business Solutions

If you are an employer:

  • Could you offer incentives to members of staff who choose active or sustainable travel?
  • Could your business accommodate flexible working hours so more people can use public transport to get to work?
  • Could you install showers for cyclists who come from a distance?
  • Can you encourage your suppliers to use EVs or those powered by alternative fuels?
  • Could you install charging points in your car park?

Where economic tools are effectively used to encourage positive behavioural changes, businesses can make a definite contribution to the health of our environment, while also improving the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees.

We All Have a Part to Play

As individuals, we have some control over how we travel. However, sometimes it’s out of our hands. Even so, we can all lobby for improvements to make it easier for us all to choose active and sustainable travel.
For example, talk to your local councillors about the provision of cycle paths that are properly installed and maintained and that connect the places where people want to go. Ask your employer for more charging points for electric cars. If the bus service is out of sync with school or office hours, talk to the service provider and ask for what you need.
If you work for a local authority or service provider, work with your colleagues, customers and service users to bring about the change that is needed to create feasible and sustainable solutions.

Take Action

Whatever your reasons for choosing active and sustainable travel, and whether you’re acting as an individual, employer or local authority, Here at Brightwayz we have plenty of information and resources to help reduce your 'travel' carbon footprint, and to help others to do the same.


Electric Vehicle Charging Bus driving through the town Bright Bike rack at a local hospital

Here at Brightwayz social enterprise we love to provide information and tips to help you, your colleagues, friends and family travel in safe, active, sustainable ways for everyday journeys.

Our unique range of products is here to help support your active travel campaigns and 100% of profits from sales is ploughed back to support the work we do. Take a look at our range here and find something to help you inspire others to travel in good ways.