Students host high profile transnational conference on sustainable travel

FBL students impress at thought provoking conference
Date: 14.05.2014

Students from BA (Hons) Tourism and Travel Management and other creative industries courses hosted a high profile transnational conference on the significance of zero and ultra low emission vehicles for sustainable travel. Over one hundred delegates from industry, governments and academia in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK contributed their expert views drawn from state-of-the-art research.

The conference showcased the work of the EU-funded ‘E-Mobility Network’ in which London Metropolitan University is proud to be a partner. It highlighted the benefits and challenges of converting to of plug-in and hybrid electric vehicles (EVs) that can significantly reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in cities. As they are not dependent on fossil fuels, EVs can be powered by renewable energy through the grid and can be very cheap to run.

Cases included Transport for London’s diesel-electric hybrid ‘New Routemaster’ bus, hydrogen fuel cell taxis, and Ultra Personal Rapid Transit: the futuristic driverless ‘pods’ at Terminal 5 Heathrow. Workshops discussed the outcome of EV trials, and the prospects for converting mainstream users to the new ‘greener’ vehicles: a ‘once-in-a-lifetime change in the technology of travel’.

Highlights included a lively debate by video-link with the American EV campaigner Paul Scott, and the departure of rally-teams in four all-electric Tesla S sportscars from the conference venue. They drove through the Channel Tunnel, visiting all seven countries and successfully completing their mission to arrive in Oslo in less than 80 hours!

Tourism and Travel tutor Dr. Stephen Shaw - who has authored over 50 books and articles on sustainable urban tourism - chaired the conference. Stephen commented: “The transnational research and practical demonstrations provide a valuable toolkit to understand the all-important challenge: how can we continue to travel without degrading tourism destinations and other places that we love? What solutions can be found before the damage becomes irreversible and global in its extent?” 

The conference was also featured in the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport journal (July 2014).