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Alternative railway futures: growth and/or specialisation?

Alternative railway futures: growth and/or specialisation?
Alternative railway futures: growth and/or specialisation?
Recent centuries have seen a succession of transport technologies, each offering improvements in speed, carrying capacity and/or operational flexibility. Having overcome many physical barriers to freedom of movement, humanity now faces two major, related challenges: dwindling reserves of fossil fuels, and anthropogenic climate change. In these circumstances, rail transport has significant potential advantages over the more energy-intensive modes of road and air.

Railways dominated 19th century land transport, peaking in importance in the early 1900s. Market share then declined in the face of competition from road transport and aviation, although rail retained significant passenger and freight transport roles. Major improvements in railway operating efficiency were introduced later in the 20th century, including: the switch from steam to diesel and electric traction; containerisation and focus on long-haul, unit-train freight operations; and the development of high-speed passenger rail services in Japan and Europe, enabling rail to compete successfully with air travel over distances of up to 800 km.

The UK Government’s Foresight Programme commissioned a report entitled Intelligent Infrastructure Futures, for which four scenarios were developed of how society might be in 2055. These scenarios are: ‘Perpetual Motion’, ‘Urban Colonies’, ‘Tribal Trading’ and ‘Good Intentions’, each having its own implications for the future of transport. This paper considers the implications of each scenario, and of the underlying/overriding issues of peak oil and climate change, for the possible role and significance of rail transport in meeting our transport needs in the mid-21st century and beyond.
0966-6923
1570-1579
Armstrong, John
5fafa91e-39c1-4d1d-a331-564558aaa638
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b
Armstrong, John
5fafa91e-39c1-4d1d-a331-564558aaa638
Preston, John
ef81c42e-c896-4768-92d1-052662037f0b

Armstrong, John and Preston, John (2011) Alternative railway futures: growth and/or specialisation? Journal of Transport Geography, 19 (6), 1570-1579. (doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2011.03.012).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Recent centuries have seen a succession of transport technologies, each offering improvements in speed, carrying capacity and/or operational flexibility. Having overcome many physical barriers to freedom of movement, humanity now faces two major, related challenges: dwindling reserves of fossil fuels, and anthropogenic climate change. In these circumstances, rail transport has significant potential advantages over the more energy-intensive modes of road and air.

Railways dominated 19th century land transport, peaking in importance in the early 1900s. Market share then declined in the face of competition from road transport and aviation, although rail retained significant passenger and freight transport roles. Major improvements in railway operating efficiency were introduced later in the 20th century, including: the switch from steam to diesel and electric traction; containerisation and focus on long-haul, unit-train freight operations; and the development of high-speed passenger rail services in Japan and Europe, enabling rail to compete successfully with air travel over distances of up to 800 km.

The UK Government’s Foresight Programme commissioned a report entitled Intelligent Infrastructure Futures, for which four scenarios were developed of how society might be in 2055. These scenarios are: ‘Perpetual Motion’, ‘Urban Colonies’, ‘Tribal Trading’ and ‘Good Intentions’, each having its own implications for the future of transport. This paper considers the implications of each scenario, and of the underlying/overriding issues of peak oil and climate change, for the possible role and significance of rail transport in meeting our transport needs in the mid-21st century and beyond.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 18 August 2011
Published date: 1 November 2011

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413983
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413983
ISSN: 0966-6923
PURE UUID: dd6d12ec-d328-4654-81fb-72955af286c1
ORCID for John Preston: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6866-049X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Sep 2017 16:31
Last modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:42

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