1. What is meant by Out-of-Town Travel? Out-of-town travel includes all trips taken outside your community for vacations, visits to friends and family, shopping, entertainment or personal business. Out-of-town travel does not include business trips. Business trips are taken for commercial purposes and are not counted as part of your personal greenhouse gas emissions.
2. What is meant by trip distance? Trip distance is the total round trip distance traveled. Round trip distance is the total distance you travel for one trip, from when you leave your home to when you return to your home. Trip distance is also a deciding factor for Third Party Car Insurance premiums. Remember to enter the number of round trips you take IN ONE YEAR!
3. How does my mode of travel affect emissions? Our climate calculator works similar to a car insurance calculator - where their are many inputs such as time of travel, distance travelled, places of travel. Your mode of travel (the type of vehicle you travel in) can make a big difference in terms of your greenhouse gas emissions. There are several vehicle types you can choose in the Climate Change Calculator:
What you will notice when you look at the list of modes in the Climate Change Calculator is that the type of car or cars you have will be shown at the bottom of the list. The Climate Change Calculator automatically takes the information about your car(s) that you provided in the "user definition" screen and places it in the list. The different modes shown will produce different amounts of greenhouse gas emissions for every kilometre travelled. For example, air travel produces about 149 grams of greenhouse gas emissions for each passenger travelling one kilometre. Rail travel produces about 128 grams of greenhouse gas emissions for each passenger travelling one kilometre, and bus travel about 64 grams. On the other hand, two people travelling in a small car produce about 130 grams of greenhouse gases for every kilometre travelled, in a mid-size car, 158 grams, and in a mini-van, sport-utility vehicle or big car, 230 grams. If there are three or more people travelling by car, the emissions per person drop substantially, down to levels below most others modes of transportation. Try switching modes for trips that you have taken in the past. For example, if you lived in Canada and you flew to Florida for a holiday, pick the "more than 2400 km" category and enter one trip. Then choose "air" as your mode of transportation and see what your personal emissions are for this trip. Then change your mode to "car" and then to "bus" and see how your personal emissions change depending on which mode of travel you use.
4. How are my out-of-town emissions calculated? The amount of fuel needed to fly an airplane or move a train, bus or car one kilometre is fairly well established by scientific study. For each trip distance category, the average distance is taken. For example, trips in the "less than 500 km" category are assumed to be 250 kilometres in length. The trip length is then multiplied by the amount of fuel needed to move the vehicle type you chose one kilometre. The amount of fuel used is then multiplied by an "emissions factor" - the known amount of greenhouse gases produced when, say, a litre of gasoline or jet fuel is consumed. The emissions to move the vehicle are then multiplied by the total number of trips taken in the distance category. Finally, total emissions are then divided by the number of occupants in the vehicle. For out-of-town travel, average vehicle occupancies are assumed. For car travel, the assumed occupancy is two people. For aircraft, trains and buses, average fuel consumption per passenger kilometre travelled have been established through research/
These numbers have been applied in the Climate Change Calculator. Remember that the Climate Change Calculator is showing only your share of total greenhouse gas emissions generated by the vehicle you used for the trip. If you chose more than one mode, total emissions for each vehicle type are multiplied by the fraction of total trips taken by that mode. These numbers are then added together to arrive at your total personal emissions from travel in that trip distance category. This process is repeated for each trip distance category. Then the emissions are added together and shown on your personal emissions bar at the top of the screen.