Smart technology delivers carbon savings for COP26 transportation

With over 30,000 official delegates and support staff expected at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021, how will the City and its wider environs cope with such mass movement of people?

In 2010 the Sustainable Earth Institute, through Dr Andrew Seedhouse from the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, created a Smart Ticketing R&D Digital Venture – SWSAL, to make sustainable transport access more accessible and streamlined for customers. The company was spun out as a standalone business in 2016 and now supports over 2 million UK smart card holders.

The COP 26 organisers at the Scottish Government, asked Andrew for assistance to develop, test and implement the COP26 Travel Pass as a recyclable multi-modal and multi-operator Smartcard to provide low carbon, low impact travel for all 30,000 COP delegates.  

As a UK first, the COP26 Smartcard seamlessly integrates, multi-modal transport access to all local rail, underground, tram, bus and ferry services throughout all of Scotland for the duration of COP26 conference, on a single digital platform.  

Developed around the ITSO Specification, the UK technical standard for interoperable smart ticketing, the Smartcards will capture every journey per delegate, per operator, per mode, to ensure everyone’s travel is seamless across the network and all operators are correctly reimbursed for the £6m+ journeys expected, whilst saving up to 850 tonnes of carbon over car and taxi travel through modal transfer during the event.  

Developed using a UK based supply chain to minimise carbon generated by freight mileage, and fully recyclable, the cards are designed to complement existing proposals on walking and cycling. These measures will eliminate the need for delegates to use cars and taxis whilst attending the conference - enabling delegates to practice what they preach and minimise their travel based carbon footprint.

If only we could stop them flying to Scotland as well!

<p>Sphere - smart technologies</p>
<p>Travel pass graphic for Sphere</p>
<p>Sphere - smart technologies bus</p>

Leading the way in responding to the 2050 goal for maritime net zero

Plymouth is set to become the first city in the UK to install a network of shore-side e-charging facilities. This follows in the wake of the city launching the UK’s first marine electric passenger ferry and electric water taxi in 2020. Both innovations driven by the Government’s target of a 50% reduction in emissions from the maritime sector by 2050.

A consortium of city partners, led by the University of Plymouth, have joined forces to create Plymouth’s Marine e-Charging Living Lab (MeLL), developing a network of charging facilities around Plymouth Sound that can be linked to the National Grid. Additionally, an array of sensor technologies will be developed to assess the environmental and operational impacts of e-charging.

The project has received more than £570,000 funding as part of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, funded by the Department for Transport and is delivered in partnership with Innovate UK.