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  • Writer's pictureEveline Vouillemin

Sustainable Travel News - Vol.2

Updated: Jul 11

Welcome to our second sustainable travel roundup, created in collaboration with Flight Free UK, where we will share some of the most recent updates, news, and developments shaping the future of eco-friendly travel.

This month's stories highlight how direct trains between major European cities could be more than tripled using existing tracks, a new scheme to help disabled people have greater access to cycling and Oxford's plans for a new pedestrian and cycle bridge.

Eurostar promises to power its trains with 100% renewable energy by 2030

In its latest sustainability report, Eurostar laid out its ambition to power its trains with 100% renewable energy by 2030. It details plans to reduce energy use, source renewable power, minimise waste and promote train travel as a greener alternative to flying.

Find out more on the Euronews website.

New 6-hour Madrid-Lisbon train to launch in 2027

The Portuguese Cabinet has just approved a plan to create a high-speed AVE line between Madrid and Lisbon, which will bring that journey time down to just three hours and will be direct. The high-speed train will cut the travel time to six hours in 2027 and to three hours in 2034, once the entire track is fully running.

Find out more on the Olive Press website.

Oxford’s £10m pedestrian and cycle Thames bridge approved

Oxford City Council has given planning permission for a £10m pedestrian and cycle crossing across the River Thames in west Oxford. The scheme will provide a link for people from the west and south of the city to and from the city centre. It also ties into the redevelopment of Oxford station in the city’s west and will help to reduce congestion in and around Oxford city centre.

Find out more on the Interchange website.

Animation of the design for the pedestrian and cyclist bridge across the river in Oxford.

Direct trains between major European cities could be more than tripled using existing tracks

Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe has analysed 990 routes between 45 major European cities, and found that just 114 routes (12%) are served by direct train connections. There are another 305 routes (31%) where a direct connection would be possible using existing tracks, but the route is unserved.

69% of the 990 total routes are served by direct flights, demonstrating that Europe’s transport infrastructure still encourages people to fly rather than take the train despite aviation’s far more damaging environmental impacts.

Read the full report here.

Arriva Rail London trials Luna to help British Sign Language users

Arriva Rail London (ARL), which operates the London Overground on behalf of Transport for London (TfL), will trial an innovative solution – Luna – to help British Sign Language (BSL) users access essential information whilst travelling on the London Overground network.

Luna translates digital information listed online into BSL and transmits it directly to the user through their smart device via a personalised digital sign language avatar. This will be trialled across five London Overground stations from July until September 2024.

Find out more on the Rail UK website.

Cycling is now more popular than driving in the centre of Paris

More people now travel by bike than by car in the centre of Paris, according to a new report. The study by urban planning agency Institut Paris Region (IPR) found that Parisians use bicycles for 11.2 per cent of their trips inside the city centre whereas people use cars for just 4.3 per cent of journeys.

Find out more on the Euronews website.

Row of cyclists on tree-lined street in Paris.
Photographer: Patryk Kosmider | Shutterstock

Accessible cycle loan scheme arrives in London

Sustrans, Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels have launched the scheme Wheels4MeLondon, funded by the Motability Foundation which will provide free cycle loans for disabled people.

The scheme will offer a free, month long, accessible cycle loan for people across London, free delivery, a training session, insurance against theft or damage, and cycle collection when finished.

Find out more on the Wheels For Wellbeing website.

Free public transport in Montpellier has led to 20 per cent more journeys

Montpellier made public transport free in December 2023 and has now released its first figures showing how the scheme is going.

Journeys by public transport have increased by more than 20 per cent since the French city made buses and trams free for all residents five months ago. Officials say the number of people using public transport jumped by 23.7 per cent in the first three months of 2024 compared to the same period in 2019.

Find out more on the Euronews website.

GWR extends Long Weekender ticket with thousands more routes

GWR's rail ticket that offers fully flexible weekend travel, giving passengers the freedom to travel on Fridays or Saturdays and return on Mondays, has now been extended.

With thousands of additional route options available, this ticket transforms weekend getaways, making spontaneous adventures more accessible than ever.

Find out more on the Rail UK website.

View out of a train looking at green hills and trees.
Photographer: Tim Dunn

Suffolk’s new medieval cycle trail

Suffolk, England, has a new medieval-themed cycle trail, the Wolf Way, stretching some 400 miles over existing bridleways, byways, gravel tracks, cycle paths and quiet backroads.

It was inspired by Norfolk’s Rebellion Way, opened in 2022. But while Rebellion was developed by Cycling UK with funding from the European Regional Development Fund Experience project, the Wolf was put together by two local enthusiasts Sharon Calton and Chris Bower who run a website with information about the trail and points of interest along the way.

Find out more on The Guardian website.

By Eveline Vouillemin ©

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