Mode Shift as a Measure to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Forecasts indicate that it is not possible to reduce total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport to fulfill the target of two degrees global warming with technology means alone. It is possible to reduce GHG-emissions for all modes but still rail will be the most efficient mode by 2050. Rail has a modest market share in the European Union (EU) in comparison with ‘best practice’ rail systems in the world. There is a big potential if the rail system is developed with new high speed rail and freight corridors as well as an upgraded conventional network and intermodal systems. This paper presents an estimation of the effects of a partial mode shift to rail transport applying world's ‘best practice’ by the year 2050. It is shown that such a mode shift to rail can reduce EU transport GHG emissions over land by about 20%, compared with a baseline scenario. In combination with low-carbon electricity production a reduction of about 30% may be achieved. A developed rail system can thus substantially contribute to the EU target of reducing GHG emissions in the transport sector by 60% below 1990 levels. To enable such a mode shift and to manage the demand for capacity, there is a need for investments. This will also maintain and increase mobility for passengers and freight transport.


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  • Accession Number: 01491414
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 9 2013 9:13AM