High Speed Train

At a time when the EU attempts to reduce transport negative impact on the environment, meeting demand for long distance travel becomes more and more problematic. To address this problem, EU and some national governments have opted for a revitalization of European railways and the development of new lines for high-speed trains (HSTs) with the hope that mode substitution (from air to rail) will allow to meet demand for long distance travel at a lower environmental cost. Yet there is little known about the interaction between HSTs and air services. Most of the scientific literature focuses either on air or on rail transport, but almost not on the relationships between both. Moreover, research up to now does not take into account the impact of air transport liberalization on the quantitative and geographical development of air services and on their increasing affordability, particularly with the boom of low-cost airlines. Yet, this dynamic is changing in terms of competition and complementarity between rail and air services.

In this context, the aim of this research is to investigate the synamic between airplanes and high-speed train modes in Europe in order to evaluate the potential for HST development to cut air transport flows and the conditions required to support it.

By refusing the traditional premise according to which HSTs reduce air supply out of hand, four objectives are set. First, leading a critical analysis of the literature on the relationships between HSTs and air services, providing a new vision linking both modes. Second, analysing all European HSTs services to determine the extent to which HSTs were able to reduce the supply of air services from 1981 to 2010. Third, analysing the factors determining the extent to which HST services can reduce air transport services, accounting also for regulatory frameworks. And finally determining the policy and planning implications of the results for the future development of European air and HST networks.

Further Information

For more information and output from this research project, please contact Dr Frederic Dobruszkes.