Vehicle tracking could cut CO2

Smart use of location and timing technology could slash fuel bills and carbon emissions for public services, businesses and even the ordinary consumer.

Satellite navigation and tracking systems fitted to road vehicles, aeroplanes and ships can help to reduce mileage, cut fuel use and encourage greener driving techniques.

According to the Location and Timing Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) – a body set up by Government to share expertise – location and timing technologies have huge potential to improve the environmental record of the aviation and rail industries.

A 747 burns about 10 tonnes of fuel per hour, meaning that cutting even a minute or two off each flight could produce huge savings.

A trial at Stockholm Airport, in Sweden, which allows aircraft to approach the runway for landing more efficiently has found that the average A330 aeroplane can save about 150kg of fuel – saving 470kg of CO2 emissions.

Private businesses are also reaping the benefits. Courier firm eCourier has developed a computer system that can track the position of all its vehicles and intelligently matches incoming orders to couriers.

Jay Bregman, founder of eCourier, said: “We have found the effectiveness on a number of different levels. The greatest impact was really on the efficiency of the vehicles themselves – the number of deliveries they are able to do in a day.”

The general public can also use their sat nav systems to reduce mileage by reducing the likelihood of getting lost and more effectively planning journey times.

But some of the KTN members have called for Government to fund schemes to raise awareness of the potential of location and timing technologies.

Colin Beatty, of the Royal Institute of Navigation, said: “I’m not particularly for subsidies but I think this whole idea of educating people is where subsidies should go.”

Kate Martin

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