High-speed railways - a climate policy sidetrack

Höghastighetsjärnvägar - ett klimatpolitiskt stickspår

Through all shades of political opinion there seems to be a perception that large-scale investments in high-speed railways is a climate policy necessity. Against this background this report studies whether "Götalandsbanan" - a high-speed railway between Stockholm and Göteborg via Skavsta, Jönköping and Landvetter - is a cost-effective way of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide. Our work is based on a report that the Swedish National Rail Administration commissioned from the WSP consultancy. Our examination of the supporting material that has been prepared leads to three main conclusions: - Investment in Götalandsbanan in the form studied is not socially cost-effective. This does not rule out that implementing other and less costly project forms could be justified. - Rail investments are not cost-effective climate policy instruments. The reason is that despite great investment costs it is only possible to affect a very small part of carbon dioxide emissions from the transport market. One way of illustrating this conclusion is that the benefit must be SEK 8 per kilo carbon dioxide that the project would contribute to eliminating, for the project's cost-effectiveness to be changed from minus to plus. This corresponds to a petrol price of more than SEK 30. - The economic analysis of Götalandsbanan that has been presented by the Swedish National Rail Administration is of a high standard in many respects. Nonetheless, some shortcomings remain. We have pointed out deficiencies in statistical reporting of rail transport, calculations of initial capital expenditure and calculations of the costs of accidents, environmental impact and wear as well as corresponding taxes. It is not a good state of affairs to approve investments in the region of SEK 100 billion on the basis of analyses that are unclear on these points. Consequently, results reporting must be developed to make the decision-making data more transparent. This applies to both analyses of Götalandsbanan and infrastructure projects in general.


  • Swedish

Media Info

  • Pagination: 83 s, 664 kB
  • Serial:
    • VTI Rapport
    • Issue Number: 655
    • Publisher: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
    • ISSN: 0347-6030

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01150254
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
  • Files: ITRD, VTI
  • Created Date: Feb 9 2010 7:36AM