Working papers in Transport Economics
Can high speed rail offset its embedded emissions?
() and Per Kågeson
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to analyze the climate
benefit of investments in high speed rail-way lines given uncertainty in
future transport demand, technology and power production. To capture the
uncertainty of estimated parameters, distributions for the annual traffic
emissions reduction required to compensate for the embedded emissions from
the construction of infrastructure are calculated using Monte Carlo
simulation. In order to balance the annualized emissions from the railway
construction, traffic volumes of more than 10 million annual one-way trips
are usually required. Most of the traffic diverted from other modes must
come from aviation and the project cannot involve the extensive use of
tunnels. In sparsely populated regions it may be, from a climate point of
view, better to upgrade existing lines and to try to make people substitute
air travel by modern telecommunications, rather than investing large
amounts of resources in enabling people to travel faster and more often.
Keywords: High-speed rail; CO2 emissions; Embedded emissions; Infrastructure investment; Monte Carlo simulation; Sensitivity analysis; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: Q54; R42; (follow links to similar papers)
12 pages, December 6, 2011
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