Greenhouse gas emission reductions from Canberra's light rail project

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, mode - tram/light rail, mode - car, technology - emissions, planning - environmental impact


emission reductions, light rail transit, climate change, greenhouse gases, transit modal shift


Australia has one of the highest per capita rates of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the world as well as one of the highest percentages of urban dwellers, focusing attention on the need for our cities to reduce emissions. This study estimates the GHG emission reductions that will be achieved by the first stage of Canberra's light rail network, which will commence operation in 2019. Compared to a business-as-usual case (no light rail), emissions will be reduced by 18–30% along the first stage corridor, depending on the size of the modal shift from private passenger vehicles to the light rail. Each Canberran who shifts from a motorcar to the light rail will essentially reduce their emissions for the journey by 100%. The decarbonisation of the journey comes from the sourcing by 2020 of 90% of Canberra's electricity, which will power the light rail system, from renewable sources and the requirement by the ACT Government that the light rail system source the remaining 10% of its electricity from renewable sources.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.