True value of rail

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - benefits, policy - environment, place - australasia


Australia, Economic analysis, Economics, Modal shift, Modal split, Rail transport, Transport costs


Understanding the true value of rail in Australia requires that the benefits from rail transport which are not captured in prices and which accrue to the community at large are identified and quantified. In this report some of these social, environment and economic impacts of rail transport are identified and quantified. The analysis indicates that, for passenger journeys, every trip made on rail rather than road can reduce costs to society by between $A3 and $A8.50, depending on the city. For freight the savings are estimated to be around 95 cents for every tonne kilometre (this translates to around $A150 for a normal container transported between Melbourne and Brisbane). These estimates are based on congestion, accident and carbon emission costs and so benefits from social inclusion, reduced infrastructure maintenance costs and fuel security could also be added.


Permission to link to this report has been given by Australasian Railway Association, copyright remains with them.