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Energy consumption and work-travel trips: London, Birmingham, and Manchester, 1981-2001

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  • Geography
  • Environment And Development Studies
  • Engineering


The changing modal composition and volume of work travel in London, Birmingham, and Manchester and their resultant energy consumption implications are considered in this research. Essentially, the mechanism is to calculate the passenger km travelled by mode and then to apply mode-specific energy consumption parameters to calculate energy consumption. By classifying work-travel trips according to their travel mode and their location and orientation (within, out of, and into town) it is possible to determine where the major forces for commuting change are and, more important, assess the implications of these forces for energy consumption. Average energy intensities per person trip are not the same everywhere or for every energy-consuming mode; furthermore, the magnitude and direction of change in average energy intensities are not the same either. Many of the trends seem to be moving rapidly away from positions of energy sustainability. The data are derived from the 1981 and 2001 special workplace statistics of the Population Census for small areas, and from fuel consumption technical parameters calibrated by engineers. One important objective of the paper is to understand the relative importance for energy consumption of changing travel modes for work journeys and changing trip orientation caused by urbanisation trends.

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