Image: routeRANK website
Available in Europe Only (For Now?)
Many of us are familiar with sites like Google Maps, Mapquest, Yahoo! Maps, etc... They can provide driving directions, or even directions on how to take public transportation in the case of Google Transit. But routeRANK, a new European website, beats all of the others when it comes to making greener travel easier. Read on to find out why.The best way to understand how it works is to see for yourself. If you click here, you'll be taken to an example page. Make sure to come back after you've had a look!
Okay. So what you saw is a list of different options to get from one destination to the other. Depending on how far you're going, options will vary. Could be driving up to an airport, taking a plane, then taking the bus, etc. Different columns tell you how much that would cost, how long that trip would take, etc. So far, nothing special.
So What's Different About routeRANK?
One of the column is called "CO2". You can see an estimate of how much CO2 would be emitted if you picked that option (so for example, taking the bus might have a lower CO2 emission than driving or taking a plane), and you can rank all the results by CO2 emissions.
How do they calculate CO2?
CO2 emission calculations are based on a model developed by the IFEU Heidelberg. They are further refined using information from the European Commission, non-profit organizations, transport providers and universities across Europe.
The calculations account for emissions generated by transport vehicles (e.g., gasoline and diesel from the vehicle's tank), emissions generated by the extraction and conversion of energy (e.g., crude oil, coal, uranium from power plants or refineries), and emissions generated by energy distribution (e.g., tank trucks, power grid, oil tankers). They do not include emissions generated by construction, maintenance and disposal of transport vehicles (e.g., cars, planes, trains) or infrastructure (e.g., roads, airports, railway lines).
Car emissions are based on those of a mid-sized, gasoline-powered passenger car (EURO 4) with an average of 1.5 passengers. Plane emissions account for differences in capacity utilization where data is available. Similarly, train emissions account for differences in capacity utilization and consider national differences in electricity mix.
Users can customize their car by choosing the fuel type (petrol or diesel) and car type (small, medium, large, or custom car). The custom car option lets the user enter the exact fuel consumption of the car, which will then be used in the calculations.
That seems pretty good. Not perfect, but no carbon calculator is, and it's certainly better to have a ballpark estimate than none at all.
Not being in Europe, I can't try routeRANK, but if you are and give it a try, please tell us your opinion of it in the comments below. Thanks!
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