Environmental Benefits from Mode Substitution: Comparison of the Environmental Impact from Aircraft and High-Speed Train Operations


Moshe Givoni

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, land use - planning, ridership - mode choice, policy - environment, economics - benefits, organisation - management, mode - rail


Travel behavior, Transportation modes, Paris (France), Modes, Mode choice, Modal shift, Modal choice, Modal analysis, London (England), High speed trains, High speed rail, Environmental protection, Environmental policy, Environmental planning, Environmental management, Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Climatic changes, Climate change, Choice of transportation, Air travel, Air pollution, Air pollutants


Many studies consider substitution of aircraft services with high-speed train (HST) services on short-haul routes desirable for environmental reasons. This paper empirically examines this perception by evaluating local air pollution (LAP) and climate change impacts from a flight and an HST service between London and Paris. Comparing the emissions, the impact, and the cost of damage from the aircraft journey with the HST journey, it was found that substituting an aircraft seat with an HST seat is beneficial. These benefits are likely to occur on all routes on which aircraft and HST substitution will likely occur. In spite of any limitations in the evaluation of environmental impact, the analysis suggests that such an evaluation is valuable and provides important information.