North Yorkshire student, 12, creates new app to help rail users reduce their carbon footprint

A tech savvy North Yorkshire youngster has designed a new green smart app to help rail travellers tackle climate change

David Fernandes 12, a boarding student from Ripon Grammar School, has received national recognition for creating a smart app which helps rail travellers track and reduce their carbon footprints.

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David said: “Like many of my friends, I am keen to do my bit to help the environment.

Pictured David Fernandes, 12, a boarding student from Ripon Grammar School. The talented youngster was awarded a prestigious Faraday Challenge prize for his idea, aimed at helping Network Rail minimise its impact on the environment. Photo credit: Submitted picture

"While aware that train travel is the most environmentally friendly way of travelling, I am concerned that having the technology to operate zero carbon trains is still decades away."

The ingenious creation entitled David’s ZeroCO2 Train smart app, was recently awarded a prestigious Faraday Challenge - an annual competition for science, technology science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) creations.

This year entrants were asked to produce a design to help Network Rail sustainably manage the increasing numbers of passengers using their network and minimise their impact on the environment.

“This was a great opportunity to research and better understand how science can help us solve some of the biggest challenges we face,” David said.

Pictured, Leeds city skyline of modern architecture and rail tracks in the foreground, Leeds, England. David's new app aims to help rail travellers reduce their carbon footprint. Photo credit: Adobe.stock

As well as impressing during a presentation in the 11-15 year old category, judges also said David's idea "went above and beyond" expectation.

“The idea of the app is so good and so well-researched it deserves to win a prize,” said a spokeswoman for the panel of experts from the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Keen to use technology that could have a direct impact on train travel and help the global challenge of holding global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, David said he wanted to encourage consumers to use trains as their main form of transport but also empower them to do their bit to help the environment in order to achieve a zero-carbon train travel journey.

His proposed secure app allows commuters to use their e-train ticket (or scan their paper-based ticket) to be automatically validated at the start of each journey.

The app will show the customer the total carbon produced for each journey, also cumulative monthly journeys as well and annual projections based on their travel profile.

Customers can then offset their carbon footprint by supporting a range of UK based carbon offset projects, ranging from solar power to tree plantations that the app would recommend.

David said: “The most valuable part of designing ZeroCO2 Train was to show that technology can help us tackle climate change."

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