Will trains remain the greenest from of public transport?February 22nd, 2011 by Barry Potier
The rail industry should aim to cut CO2 emissions in half by 2050, the chief executive of ATOC said at the ‘Sustainable Transport: ‘greening the transport sector’ conference in London last week.
The industry bills itself as the greenest form of public transport but in order to live up to this reputation a series of measures need to be implemented, Mr Roberts said. The railways are currently the largest single user of electricity in the UK taking up about 1% of the total demand. Roberts talked about making the industry more energy efficient and as an example highlighted the need to reduce the amount of electricity lost in transmission.
He also pointed out that at present almost 10% of CO2 emissions are attributed to stations and depots and this area needs to be tackled as a matter of urgency.
High speed trains have a huge role to play in encouraging people to use rail instead of cars and planes for domestic travel. But in order to maximise this opportunity there needs to be a long term rolling programme of electrification.
There have already been a lot of measures taken to reduce the environmental impact of rail travel, but if the industry wants to remain the greenest option it needs to do even more to reduce carbon emissions. Car manufacturers are working hard to release environmentally friendly vehicles and could challenge rail’s green advantage if the industry becomes too complacent.
It’s all very well having a green rail network but will these moves be enough to encourage people to use it? At the beginning of the year many people ended their love affair with the railways when prices went up. How can the train operators entice you to abandon your car and travel by rail?
Tags: ATOC, carbon footprint, CO2, CO2 emissions, Environmental responsibility, green travel, High Speed Rail, HS1, hybrid vehicles, plane v train, rail industry, rail network, Railways, sustainability, sustainable transport