Technical Reports

Carbon Footprint of High Speed Rail

  • 01
  • Nov
  • 2011
AUTHOR: T. Baron, G. Martinetti, D. Pepion
OFFICE: RPD
REPORT NUMBER:
SUBJECT: Environmental Protection
KEYWORDS: Environmentally Friendly Transportation, Energy Provision, Carbon Footprint Analysis
ABSTRACT: Many carbon footprint tools such as the two UIC tools, EcoTransIT and EcoPassenger 1 , help costumers choose the most environmental friendly way of transport, which in most cases is rail. Until now, these calculation tools have considered only the operation phase and energy provision, not the infrastructure (track system, motorways, airports) nor the construction of rolling stock, cars and aeroplanes. So, the question remains: Does the picture change if we also consider the CO2-emission from the construction of vehicles, and from construction? This study attempts to answer this question, by providing a carbon footprint analysis of four new high speed rail lines: “LGV Mediterranée” from Valence to Marseille and “South Europe Atlantic-Project” in France from Tours to Bordeaux, the newly built line from Taipei to Kaohsiung in Taiwan and “Beijing– Tianjin” in China. The emissions from the construction of the high speed rail lines considered here is in the range of 58 t – 176 t of CO2 per km of line and year. Lines with moderate space and relief constraints (for example in France) emit around 60t of CO2 per km of line and year while projects with important space or relief constraints (China and Taiwan, respectively ) are linked with a higher value of around 139 t – 176 t of CO2 per km of HS-line and year. Please note that these emissions factors are a result of modeling: Although the sources that have been selected are as accurate as possible, some assumptions and extrapolations were necessary. Therefore, the results do not claim to reflect the reality perfectly.

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