Bay Area

Study says High Speed Rail Could Lower State's Carbon Footprint

California’s high-speed rail project is supposed to vault the Golden State into a new age of transportation.

But it could also lower the state’s carbon footprint.

An ambitious study out today by researchers from UC Berkeley and Arizona State found that passengers shifting from car and plane trips to high-speed rail could potentially lower carbon emissions overall.

But the carbon drop depends on a dizzying array of factors, like how many people actually ride the train, how much of the electricity that powers it comes from from low-carbon sources, and also how rapidly cars and planes become greener themselves.

It would take time to realize these lower emissions, perhaps 20 to 30 years after construction begins.

The study appears today in the journal, Environmental Research Letters.


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