HiBike on the Inverness Campus golden bridge

HiBike at Inverness Campus

It’s the week before COP26 and my journey to work has just begun. I am on the train and cannot see anyone else in my carriage. Speaking to the conductor, I am the only passenger on the entire train. Mind you, it is 7am and not many people are rushing into the office these days. It has now been a little over 3 months since I started as Travel & Transport Manager for Inverness Campus. I am experimenting with different commuting options from Strathspey to Inverness. Last night I checked the weather forecast, had a look at Traveline Scotland  and decided I would try out the train (for the first time since the pandemic).

What a time to be working in the sustainable travel sector. Never before has climate change and sustainable travel been so high on the agenda. And rightly so, transport accounts for around a third of all of Scotland’s greenhouse gasses. But COVID-19 has resulted in new ways of working, where, for some, the commute now involves a walk downstairs to the kitchen table or home office. However, many people, like myself, are looking forward to a blended approach of home and office working so we need to think about our journey back to the workplace.

The move towards greener travel is a complex challenge with many moving parts. We have become addicted to the combustion engine and private vehicles offer a really easy solution for everyday journeys. For some, they are the only option, as how else are you supposed to drop the kids off and make it to work or catch the train if there is no railway line on the island. Even if public transport is an option, it can often be less convenient, more expensive and at times is just not as pleasant as sitting in your own vehicle – although I am quite enjoying having the train to myself! There are benefits though, lots of them. I am typing this from the train (because I don’t have anyone to talk to!) but in all seriousness my commute this morning has given me the head space and time to think about this blog. I am staring out the window watching the world wake up rather than focussing on the A9. I feel more awake after my 10min (sprint!) cycle to catch the train and I am actually looking forward to riding an Electric Hi-bike for another 10mins to get from the station to the Campus. I am also going to grab some breakfast in town, something I have not done for a long time.

This region is helping lead the way towards more sustainable travel - whether that is Low Carbon Aviation in Orkney or the new Hi-Bike scheme which is also launching in Lochaber. I spotted a couple of car club vehicles in a local carpark the other day. They are part of the pioneering GO-HI App which interlinks different forms of transport through your smart phone. I am on my own journey towards sustainable travel and living in general. New options like this are really making me question if I will need to renew one of my older vehicles if/when it eventually packs up. By 2030, I won’t have an option to buy a new fossil fuel powered vehicle anyway, but I am excited about the future developments with hydrogen and electric vehicles to make them more accessible for everyone.

Since starting this job, I have been amazed by the number of people and local organisations working together towards the ambitious net zero targets. Whether that is to support businesses or individuals in their own journey towards more sustainable travel. It is going to take a huge collaborative approach, from local communities through to world leaders, to support and enable people to make a change.

Before I go onto the next leg of today’s journey, which at this rate might be another sprint cycle, I must mention that a number of local organisations are working together to showcase Low Carbon transport technology this Friday at Inverness Campus. Low Carbon Day will involve a range of demo vehicles including Hydrogen vehicles, EV’s and Ecargo bikes as well as information stalls and activities. It will be a great opportunity for the region to showcase new technology and for local organisations and the wider public to learn about new developments. Make sure you pop along if you can. If you need any support or want to share your own experience with sustainable transport, please get in touch……

Want to start your own journey to sustainable living and working?

Visit our net zero advice and support section. 


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