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Getting from A to B with less CO2

Responsible Heathrow case study

Heathrow is committed to making every journey better by providing excellent passenger experience; this means making sure 70 million passengers get to 180 destinations smoothly each year.

With almost 200,000 passengers and 76,500 employees moving around the airport every day, a seemingly simple journey between the car park and the terminals presents real challenges. Not only do the hundreds of bus and taxi journeys running between the passenger car parks and terminals each week create congestion and local air quality impacts, their emissions contribute to our carbon footprint.

Affectionately known as the Heathrow Pod, The Personal Rapid Transport system has been developed to provide transport between the business car parks and Terminal 5 that is quicker, easier, cleaner (and more fun!) than the existing bus transfer system.

The 21 driverless Pods can carry up to four passengers and their luggage on each 5 minute, virtually silent journey. Capable of transporting 500,000 passengers every year, the Pods are helping us manage congestion and air quality impacts by eliminating more than 50,000 bus journeys annually; after just 2 years, the pods have travelled close to a million miles and saved the equivalent of 213 tonnes of CO2.

The first of its kind in the world, the system is also getting the thumbs up from our passengers. The journey is on demand at the touch of a computer screen, so average waiting time for a pod is 10-15 seconds and 80% of passengers have zero waiting time. Journey time to and from the Terminal is also around ten minutes (60%) less compared to the original buses.

The success of the Pod at Heathrow has proved that similar solutions can help solve problems in airports and urban environments around the world, with development plans in Bristol, the former Olympic Park, as well as for projects in India, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brazil.