The Road to A Brighter Future

A story of travel in Greater Manchester

Emissions from vehicles make up around 1/5th of global carbon dioxide emissions, with the major source of this being cars. These CO2 emissions are having disastrous effects on the planet and are a huge contributor to climate change. Greater Manchester has a carbon neutrality date of 2038, meaning that the carbon dioxide emissions within the area need to decline massively for this to be reached. The Manchester Council and Transport for Greater Manchester have already implemented many services and schemes to help combat this. These include:

  • 100% electrically powered buses
  • Cycle lanes integrated throughout the city
  • A brand-new cycle hire scheme

The aim of my story is to educate the community of Greater Manchester on just how negatively their cars are impacting the environment as well as building awareness on the eco-friendly alternative travel methods that are available. I presented this story through a series of images, beginning with roads congested with private vehicles, which then develop to the community having a new awareness of the harms. This can be seen in the final photographs of the series, which portray the people of Manchester travelling in an eco-friendlier manner.

One of the greatest initiatives I discovered during my research for this project is The Bee Network, set up by The Cycling and Walking Commissioner of Manchester, Chris Boardman. This initiative is responsible for most of the recent and upcoming schemes regarding sustainable and accessible travel in Greater Manchester. I encourage anyone interested in reducing their carbon emission outputs to take a look at what they do.

This photograph was taken late afternoon on Fountain Street, a one-way street that cuts through the centre of Manchester. This road is notoriously busy and creates a lot of congestion as it is situated directly through the main shopping area, with many pedestrians crossing. The tones of the photo are very grey and dull, both in the atmosphere and the colour of the cars themselves. Overall, the photograph projects a negative and dismal feel, like that of a dystopia where the world is full of smog and climate change overruling the earth.

Taken in the centre of Fallowfield, Manchester, at rush hour, this image is very moody and atmospheric. The contrast is quite high, which represents the contrast between the use of the cycle lanes compared to the road. The cars are stuck in traffic, whereas the cycle lane next to them, illuminated by the headlights, is empty. The cycle symbol markings on the path adhere to the rule of thirds and add dimension to the image. This symbolises a need to shine a light on more sustainable travel methods, such as cycling, in order to cut CO2 emissions that are being released from private vehicles.

This photograph portrays several people boarding a 111 bus at Piccadilly Gardens mid- afternoon. The bus in subject is a sustainable, 100% electric bus. The purpose of this image is to portray the eco-friendly transportation methods that are available within Manchester and to encourage more of the community to take advantage of this, like many people already are. These buses are on part of a larger initiative that has the aim of reducing carbon emissions in Manchester. The colour is extremely vibrant which makes the bus seem inviting and positive. Green is often related to eco-friendliness and draws attention to the efficiency of the subject.

This photograph was taken outside All Saint’s Park, Manchester Metropolitan University, early evening. The bicycles’ vibrant colours capture the observer’s attention quickly, conveying a playful and energetic mood. These bicycles suggest that many opt to cycle around the city and choose this as their main transportation method. The message this image is trying to communicate is that there are so many amenities available to accommodate cyclists, and that more people should be encouraged to cycle their way through Manchester, rather than drive.

Taken on Oxford Road, Manchester, as the sun was setting, this is a photograph of a counter that captures the number of cyclists passing by that day. The sky in the background is blue, which represents a feeling of peace and calmness, something one might experience if choosing to cycle rather than to drive and get stuck in traffic. The colour of the numbers displayed is green, which people universally recognise as the primary colour associated with eco-friendliness. The purpose of this image is to exhibit just how many people are cycling in hopes of encouraging more of the community to join them.

This photograph was taken on one of the cycle lanes on Oxford Road. The subject of the image is the worn cycle symbol marking, which implies they have been used often since their implementation. The yellow road marking presents a leading line, which suggests movement forwards and onwards, which is what these travel initiatives are doing regarding reducing carbon emissions in Manchester. These markings contrast against the dullness of the tarmac and add some brightness to the image.