High-speed rail's potential for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from short haul aviation: a longitudinal study of modal substitution from an energy generation and renewable energy perspective

This paper quantifies and evaluates, utilizing a "bottom-up" approach, the effect on CO2 emissions of a modal shift from short-haul air travel to high-speed rail (HSR), based on projected passenger movements, between Sydney and Melbourne, Australia during the period 2010-2030. To date, peer-reviewed studies assessing the CO2 emissions from these competing modes of high-speed transportation have been restricted principally to a cross-sectional assessment, with a Eurocentric bias. This present comparative study seeks to address a gap in the literature by assessing, longitudinally, the CO2 emissions associated with the proposed operation of HSR against the "business-as-usual" air scenario between Sydney and Melbourne. Under the assumed 50/50 modal shift, and the Australian government's current renewable electricity target, an annual reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 14% could be achieved when compared with a "business-as-usual" air scenario. This percentage reduction represents a 62 kt reduction in base year, 2010, and a 114 kt reduction in the final year, 2030. In total, the overall reduction achieved by such a modal shift, under the assumed conditions, during the period 2010-2030, equates to approximately 1.87 Mt of CO2. Importantly, if the electrical energy supply for HSR operations was further "decarbonized", then it follows that a greater emission reduction would be achieved.


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  • Accession Number: 01493250
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 20 2013 8:50AM