Computer Laboratory


Building Monitoring

Carbon Commute

Carbon Commute

Carbon Commute is an iPhone app designed to calculate a users carbon footprint on their commute to work, when combined with the personal container architecture also being developed.

What is a Locker?

To produce accurate reports on personal energy use, it is necessary to track a users location, for example to calculate their energy use whilst commuting, at work, as well as at home. This requires personal data, and it is important:

  • To allow only reputable parties to use this information, and only for the applications the user allows.
  • To provide an environment in which third party applications can run but only provide output back to the user.

In this case, we want to allow (e.g.)the university to calculate the carbon footprint of our commute as accurately as possible, yet deny data that the university does not require, and ensure the university is only using this data for this application.

Our solution is to use a 'personal container' architecture where personal data is stored in user-specific containers, through which the university requests access to a subset of that data which users can accept or deny, and identify exactly what is being accessed.

These containers protect user data from unauthorised access- the goal is not necessarily to share less data with 3rd parties, but to make sure the user is aware of all data accesses that occur, and that they are happy to authorise them.

We have used an implementation of a Personal Container called Locker and use this to store information gathered from the Carbon Commute app, include information from many other sources, and run apps within itself to process the data and output results. Thus the University can know the travel to work carbon footprint of an individual without knowing where the individual has been.

For more information about Personal Containers, and Locker, see the Architecture section.

What is Carbon Commute?

Carbon Commute is an iPhone app that tracks a users' location during their commute to and from work, and uploads it to an endpoint hosted in that user's locker personal data store. Such a locker app can take these GPS traces, and calculate the user's carbon footprint based infered transportation methods.

The app allows the user to set his or her home and work locations, around which geofences are set. After this information has been entered, the app will start recording when leaving one and stop when entering another. The user also has the ability to restrict the time window these events occur, stop the tracking mid-journey etc.

How Do I Get A Locker & The Carbon Commute App?

See Locker Setup for instructions on creating a locker, and acquiring and downloading the iPhone app.

Please note this is an experimental service, and in particular that at the moment your locker will be hosted on University infrastructure.