Mabrian study finds Europe could save 1m tonnes of CO2 a year by opting for rail

Mabrian study finds Europe could save 1m tonnes of CO2 a year by opting for rail

1 million tonnes of C02 is a 48% reduction

Travel Intelligence services company Mabrian Technologies has carried out a study on the potential impact of replacing domestic air routes of less than two and a half hours, and a maximum of 500km, with high-speed trains.

The study analyses the savings in CO2 emissions if regulation that has already started to be implemented in France were to be applied in multiple European countries.

According to the report, which analysed the total air schedule for 2023 on domestic routes with ground distances of less than 500km, there are 554 routes in Europe, which will produce around 2.3 million tonnes of CO2 this year, carrying around 44 million passengers.

It found that by switching to use of high-speed trains could reduce this environmental impact by an average of 48%. 

This would equate to a saving of more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 in one year, equivalent to more than 200,000 cars running continuously for 12 months.

For the comparative calculation of emissions, Mabrian looked at the type of electrical energy and its sources and which power the railway system in each European country, following the methodology published by theEcoPassengerreport.

The study reveals five of the European countries that would achieve the greatest CO2 savings if this transition were to take place. Spain is top and would save 360,000 tonnes of CO2 per year if these routes were replaced by high-speed trains.

Germany, is in second place, with a saving of 238,000 tonnes and France is next with 193,000 tonne. Italy would save 189,000 tonnes and finally Sweden would save 159,000 tonnes per year.

The three countries with the greatest potential CO2 savings from the transition to rail are Sweden, with 97.13% of the total CO2 produced by aircraft per year; Austria, with 92.79%; and France, with 89.73%. 

This analysis focused on domestic air routes within each country, so Mabrian findings suggest potential savings would be much greater if all air routes of 500km or less linking different countries in Europe were also considered.

Finally, the study also highlighted the limitations of implementing this initiative. 

The cost of implementing rail infrastructure to cover these routes would require significant investment, so not all countries may have the resources to finance it. 

The company said “long-term profitability and the capacity of these new infrastructures to absorb a very significant demand would also have to be considered.

"While this analysis may seem unrealistic or unachievable, at Mabrian we believe in demonstrating the efficiency of decisions through data,” said Carlos Cendra, marketing director of Mabrian.

“With this analysis, we have quantified the potential savings from taking steps in that direction.

“However, the context and the difficulties of this change suggest an intermediate situation in which the train gains prominence, but aircraft continue to meet part of the demand".