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HSR exacerbates traffic congestion – more cars



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HSR exacerbates traffic congestion – more cars
Button (Professor – George Mason University School of Public Policy) 3/16
(Kenneth Button, “Is there any economic justification for high-speed railways in the United States?” 16 March 2012, https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.01.025 Journal of Transport Geography, Volume 22, May 2012, Pages 300–302) //SM
Much of the justification for HSR has involved looking at the mode from a wider social welfare function perspective with arguments revolving around non-market attributes, often involving second-best arguments concerning modal transfer from more congesting and environmentally intrusive modes (de Rus and Nombela, 2007). In terms of reducing road congestion, however, over most road systems that compete with planned HSR much travel is short distance and not between the origin and destination of the HSR service; speed requires non-stop services. HSR can add to local congestion at either end of a service because most people do not travel between city centers but make at least one specific urban trip to reach a HSR station. Put another way, most congestion in transportation systems is in the “last mile” – essentially on links on networks near the origins and destinations of trips, and focusing travel on major rail stations hardly mitigates this. In addition, there is little evidence of a high cross elasticity of demand between road and rail transportation, or between air travel and rail except in a few very particular, short haul cases (Oum et al., 2008). One reason for this is a lack of any major economies of scope in high-speedrail. It largely offers connected services, rather than networks of interconnected services with substantial amounts of on-line traffic. Its markets are thus, generally, quite limited.
Increases emissions by 15%
Hall, C.B. (June 27, 2012), "A High-Speed Rail Dream Unrealized", Crosscut, Cascade Public Media,
https://crosscut.com/2012/06/high-speed-rail-energy-america-europe. Accessed on September 3, 2022. //SM

A train carrying 130 passengers, as corridor trains do on average, is far from wholesale, however. The volume of fuel that a 3200-horsepower locomotive weighing 12 times its human payload uses to move one of those 130 passengers dwarfs what an intercity bus uses for the same result. At HSR's envisioned speeds, typically defined as a sustained 110 mph, the efficiency worsens with the additional mechanical effort needed to overcome greater air resistance. My own calculations, based on data for an actual Amtrak service, indicate that high-speed trains using today's diesel locomotives would not save any carbon emissions, and could in fact increase emissions by 15 percent or more. That's an optimistic calculation — a Danish researcher indicated the increase could be as high as 66 percent. Indeed, the most efficient speed for a train appears to be the same as a car: around 50 mph.
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