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Frequently Asked Questions

What is WWF Travel Helper?

The WWF Travel Helper, developed by RouteRank Ltd, is a search engine designed to help people find the best travel routes. As well as giving you information on travel times and numbers of connections, it will also tell you what the carbon footprint of the different travel options available. That way you can make an informed decision about what is the best way to get from A to B. Whether you are travelling on business or leisure, the WWF Travel Helper can help you manage - and reduce - both the time of travel, and your carbon footprint.

Who is routeRANK?

RouteRank Ltd is a Switzerland based company who provide the first online search engine that finds the best multi-modal travel routes including information on CO2 emissions. For more information please visit http://www.routerank.com.

Why use WWF Travel Helper?

The WWF Travel Helper helps you make an informed choice about the best way to travel, and shows you how to reduce your environmental impact of your journey.

When you travel you are contributing to significant emissions of climate change causing carbon dioxide. By using the WWF Travel Helper you can find out what the carbon footprint of each option is. That way you can make the right decision about which is the best way to get to your destination.

Current independent travel planning is also tedious, time-consuming and often leads to less than perfect results. There are a huge number of flight routes and even finding them or keeping track of them is difficult.

Travel and waiting times for airport transfers also need to be researched and considered as they can significantly impact the travel time for a route; ignoring them would be similar to ignoring airport taxes or credit card fees on flight bookings. On medium distance journeys where taking the train all the way or driving by car are alternative options - as is the case on many European journeys - finding the best route independently is more effort once again.

Aren't you actually encouraging people to travel?

No, the WWF Travel Helper is about helping people make informed choices about their journeys.

When you travel you are contributing to emissions of climate change causing carbon dioxide. Therefore the best solution is to try to avoid trips where ever possible. Ask yourself whether your business meeting could be replaced by talking over the phone or video conferencing. Or if you are going on vacation, think about visiting locations that are closer to home.

WWF recognises, however, that sometimes trips cannot be avoided. The WWF Travel Helper therefore helps you make the right choices, so you can find the travel option with the lowest carbon footprint and also offset the environmental cost of the journey.

How are the CO2 emissions calculated?

CO2 emission calculations are based on a model developed by the IFEU Heidelberg. They are based on information by the European Commission, non-profit organizations, transport providers and universities across Europe. They have been checked and verified by WWF's Climate Change Team.

The calculations account for emissions generated by transport vehicles (e.g., gasoline and diesel from the vehicle's tank), emissions generated by the extraction and conversion of energy (e.g., crude oil, coal, uranium from power plants or refineries), and emissions generated by energy distribution (e.g., tank trucks, power grid, oil tankers). They do not include emissions generated by construction, maintenance and disposal of transport vehicles (e.g., cars, planes, trains) or infrastructure (e.g., roads, airports, railway lines).

Car emissions are based on those of a mid-sized, gasoline-powered passenger car (EURO 4) with an average of 1.5 passengers. Plane emissions account for differences in capacity utilization where data is available. Similarly, train emissions account for differences in capacity utilization and consider national differences in electricity mix.

Users of the WWF Travel Helper can change their settings or preferences so as to account for different types of car. Users can also enter the exact fuel consumption of his car, which will then be used in the calculations.

How do I off-set my carbon emissions?

The WWF Travel Helper gives you the option of neutralizing the carbon emissions from your chosen mode of travel. For each travel option you can click on the 'Neutralize it' link and purchase Gold Standard carbon credits from "Climate Friendly", a WWF partner.

By offsetting you will be investing in projects that reduce the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere by your trip.

If you take the travel route regularly you also can offset all your trips in one go by simply adding the appropriate number in the provided field. Similarly, to offset more than one person on the same travel route enter the number of people.

To find out more visit the Climate Friendly website.

What are Gold Standard credits?

The Gold Standard is an independently audited, globally applicable best practice methodology for project development that delivers high quality carbon credits of premium value along with sustainable development co-benefits associated with the projects. By purchasing Gold Standard credits through Climate Friendly you can be sure that one credit bought offsets one tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, as Climate Friendly's internal processes are audited annually by a third party and credits are retired on the public Gold Standard registry each year.

The Gold Standard was created in 2003 by a small group of non-governmental organisations, one of which is WWF.

Today, the Gold Standard label receives worldwide recognition and is officially supported by 51 charities, NGOs and environmental and development organisations.

The Gold Standard is a non-profit foundation under Swiss Law and is funded by public and private donors. It is governed by representatives of NGOs, governments and the private sector.

For more information please visit the Gold Standard website.

What if I'm only making a small journey?

If you take the travel route regularly you also can offset all your trips in one go by simply adding the appropriate number in the provided field. Similarly, to offset more than one person on the same travel route enter the number of people.

Climate Friendly also offer a range of ready-made package and offset the emissions of multiple trips in one easy payment. You can even become a Climate Friendly Citizen by offsetting your carbon emissions for a whole year!

To find out what packages are available please visit the Climate Friendly shop

What flights are currently listed?

The WWF Travel Helper currently only lists direct flights. Flights involving one or more connections will be available soon.

I have found a better connection than the one found by WWF Travel Helper!

Great! The routeRANK team are constantly updating and improving their service. So please let them know at: info@routerank.com.

WWF Travel Helper does not know my departure/destination location!

The WWF Travel Helper is being regularly updated with new destinations, but there will be some areas missing. Currently it includes some 20,000 locations in 44 countries, mostly in Europe. Possible departure and arrival locations include most public travel terminals, including train stations and airports. The search also covers many bus, tram and other public transport providers.

If you cannot find your location or notice a problem with a location name, please let the routeRANK team know at info@routerank.com and they will fix it as fast as possible.

How do I use the Options and Filtering?

The options and filtering allow you to refine and personalize your search results.

  • Airport Selection: This link is only displayed when results include flights. It displays a popup window showing all the different departure and arrival airports WWF Travel Helper searched for your journey. You can then select your preferred airports and deselect airports you would not like to travel through.
  • Preferences: This section allows you to personalize your search results. Your preferences are saved and will be automatically loaded every time you visit the WWF Travel Helper.

  • Transfer Selection: This link is only displayed when results include flights. It displays a popup window showing options for transfers between airports, which include public transport or car. Note that the car option also applies to taxis (see Customize car below).
  • Customize Car: This link displays a popup window showing your car preferences for the direct car route, the departure and arrival transfers to and from the airport. When using a car for the transfers, you can set whether the car will be driven back (e.g. a friend drives you to the airport and then back home). You may also choose different types of cars for your departure and arrival transfers (see also the question What are the car options?).

How do I sort my routes?

You can sort your routes by clicking on the header of the column you would like to sort your routes by. Clicking a second time on the same column header will reverse the sorting order of the routes.

What do the symbols in the 'Travel with' column mean?

These symbols show how the route is composed. For example:
    Four different trainsOne planeThree different trains
indicates that the route comprises four legs by train, then one flight and finally another three legs by train.

WWF Travel Helper uses the following symbols:

  • Bus icon Bus

  • Car icon Car

  • Plane icon Plane

  • Shuttle icon Shuttle/Subway

  • Train icon Train

What are the car options?

The Customize car option box allows you to refine the car parameters. It is organized in three columns: the first one allows you to provide the parameter of your own car, used for the direct drive. The second and third column allow you to specifiy the kind of car you will use (if any) for the transfer to and from the airport, and can potentially be different from your own car. You can also choose there whether the car is a taxi or whether a friend is maybe picking you at the airport, in which case the car has to be driven back and the CO2 emission and the car cost are effectively doubled.

The car provided by the WWF Travel Helper assumes the following values

Small car Small car: less than 7 liters per 100km
Medium car Medium car: approx. 8 to 10 liters per 100km
Large car Large car: more than 10 liters per 100km

In addition, the WWF Travel Helper allows you to choose a 'custom car' where you can further refine the exact fuel consumption by hand.

The WWF Travel Helper is missing feature XXX! Why does it not allow me to do YYY?

We are currently working on a number of features, including, for instance, support for multiple travelers. If you know of a feature that would make the WWF Travel Helper more useful to you, please let the routeRANK team know at info@routerank.com! They will add new features according to how important you tell them they are to you.