With freight and passenger activities expected to at least double by 2050, there’s no doubt that a lot will have to change to keep up with the increase in demand in the transport sector. While this might be a good sign for the economy, we cannot ignore the fact that carbon emissions and other air pollutants will also increase unless something is done to prevent or control this.
Experts have been looking at how rail transport can help to increase transport options while controlling and possibly reducing carbon emissions. Given that the world is continually becoming more urbanised, high-speed rail will be a perfect fit to match the growth of towns and other urban needs.
A Double Benefit for Complementary Railway Transport
High-speed rails could replace transport by air over short distances while freight rail could complement other means of transportation to ease mobility. As of now, the transport sector consumes half of the oil produced globally while contributing to a quarter of the CO2 emissions worldwide. However, not much attention is paid to railway transport. Yet, it could be quite an effective way to ensure energy-efficient means of transportation.
Although electric cars are slowly getting a footing in the market, rail is the most electrified means of transport. Electric trains make up for three-quarters of public transportation by rail, increasing by 60% since 2000. The most modernised regions in terms of electric railways are Japan, Europe and Russia with passenger transport being more electrified compared to freight.
As population and income continue to rise in developing countries, there will also be an increase in demand for efficient modes of transport that are also clean and faster. This is an excellent opportunity for rail to grow. Many environmental advantages come with rail transport, and countries like India have managed to leverage it for commercial competitiveness.