How environmental beneficial is the high-speed rails compared to cars and airplanes? According to a prediction study on american high-speed rail system, “Americans in 2025 are projected to take 112 million trips on high-speed rail, traveling more than 25 billion passenger miles, resulting in 29 million fewer automobile trips, nearly 500,000 fewer flights, and a potential reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2.7 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent.” Similar prediction result appears on the California High Speed Rail Authority: “In 2022, when the Initial Operating Section (Merced to the San Fernando Valley) is up and running, the resulting GHG reductions will be between 100,000 to 300,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e) equivalent in the first year. That’s the equivalent of taking 17,700 to 53,000 personal vehicles off the road. Between 2022 and 2040, the cumulative reduction of CO2 is estimated to be between 5 and 10 million metric tons CO2e.” Also, train is actually more energy efficiency than cars and planes. “Trains are 3 times as energy efficient as cars and 6 times as efficient as planes on a per-passenger-mile basis.” (High-Speed Rail Works), one of the main reason is that a train can carry way more passengers (at least 100 people per trip) than a car can did (about 1.6 person per trip). And adding a passenger won’t do any increase on the original total carbon emission (of a train trip) while adding a car will double that (of a car trip). Also, the advantages of high-speed rail will become obvious in the long trip situation: According to the the article “How Big Are the Environmental Benefits of High-Speed Rail?” by EDWARD L. GLAESER, a 240-mile car trip produces approximately 157 pounds of carbon dioxide and a 240-mile plane trip produce approximately 133.7 pounds of carbon dioxide. However, on the other hand, a 240-mile train trip only produce approximately 32.1 pounds of carbon dioxide. Besides, the amazing speed of the high-speed rail can tremendously save our time and energy during a trip.
High-Speed Rail Environmental Benefitshttp://www.hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Green_Practices/environmental_benefits.html
Myths and Facts – High Speed Rail Works http://highspeedrailworks.org/overview-2/myths-facts/