Urban high-speed rail helps Australia's megacity sustainability

Urban high-speed rail requires much less energy per passenger-km than conventional transport modes. Being electric, renewable supplies offer further opportunities for greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions. This abstract proposes that high-speed rail within a sprawling large city would win market share from other transport modes. The purpose of this paper is to stimulate innovation and encourage discussion about extending the strategic thinking about congestion and emissions to include high-speed rail systems that connect metropolitan and inner regional locations-rather than restricting the technology's potential to intercity and interstate travel. A four-step transport model indicates that savings in travel time and oil-based fuel expenses can overcome modest rail fares and so win modal shift, especially for longer commuter journeys. These benefits are greater for lower-density megacities, which suffer more urban sprawl. Preliminary train-timetable analysis suggests that the proposed capacity is adequate for the growing population. Brief commuter times can be sustained for decades. Desktop modelling of GHG emissions from vehicle operation, assuming today's mix of electricity generation technology, shows that energy consumption drops sharply and that GHG emissions are comparable or considerably less than competing transport modes. Further reductions in GHG emissions could be achieved using renewable electricity generation. Economic modelling suggests that the fare revenue alone recovers all operating costs and over half of capital costs. The conclusion suggests there is enough upside or realistic promise in urban high-speed rail to include it as a serious strategy to reduce Australia's transport emissions and congestions issues over the coming century. Australia is the world leader in urban sprawl. She is well placed to pioneer urban high-speed rail.

Media Info

  • Pagination: 1011-1028
  • Monograph Title: WEC2019: World Engineers Convention, 20-22 November 2019, Melbourne, Victoria
  • Serial:
    • Issue Number: 7

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01745492
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB Group Limited
  • ISBN: 9781925627251
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2020 11:52AM