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Title: Assessing carbon dioxide emissions of high-speed rail : the case of Beijing-Shanghai corridor
Authors: Chen, P
Lu, Y
Wan, Y 
Zhang, A
Issue Date: Aug-2021
Source: Transportation research. Part D, Transport and environment, Aug. 2021, v. 97, 102949
Abstract: This paper provides an ex-post assessment of net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed rail (HSR) by including both mode substitution and traffic generation effects with a life-cycle approach. We are among the first authors to examine the emissions effects of a long-haul HSR and to consider the effects of avoided infrastructure expansion and vehicle manufacturing due to traffic diversion. We find that avoided infrastructure expansion plays a limited role in offsetting CO2 emissions from the construction of an HSR infrastructure, but the reduced demand for passenger vehicles can offset a larger share of emissions from the manufacturing of HSR rolling stock. Initially, too much traffic was diverted from ordinary-speed rail (OSR) to HSR, increasing emissions at the operation stage. As traffic diverted from road and air increased, the net emissions at the operation stage turned negative, offsetting emissions from infrastructure construction and vehicle manufacturing.
Keywords: Carbon dioxide emissions
High-speed rail
Life-cycle assessment
Mode substitution
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Journal: Transportation research. Part D, Transport and environment 
ISSN: 1361-9209
DOI: 10.1016/j.trd.2021.102949
Rights: Crown Copyright © 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
© 2021. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
The following publication Chen, P., et al. (2021). "Assessing carbon dioxide emissions of high-speed rail: The case of Beijing-Shanghai corridor." Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 97: 102949 is available at
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