By Sebastien Malo
NEW YORK - A mobile application launched in dozens of U.S. and Canadian cities on Monday measures the planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions of inner-city travel, its creators said, letting concerned commuters map their so-called carbon footprints.
Some two-thirds of the world's population is expected to settle in urban areas by 2050, according to the United Nations.
The trend presents an environmental challenge, given that the world's cities account for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only will the app measure a trip's emissions and suggest alternatives,
"As you would imagine here in Canada, especially Western Canada, most people are driven by the environmental side of it," Whitworth told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The app aims to encourage users in 62 U.S. and Canadian cities to use cleaner modes of transportation, from mass transit to walking or biking, he said.
In the United States, mass transit accounts for less than 2 percent of passenger miles traveled, according to Daniel Sperling, founding director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis.
"People are starved for good information and data for good travel choices," said Sperling.
The app's suggested route is a
The app shows users after a trip how many kilograms of carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions they are responsible for, Whitworth said.
While other apps such as Changers CO2 Fit track users' carbon footprints,
Whitworth said the company also plans to sell the data it collects.