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Getting There Greener

right downtown, rather than depositing you miles from cities and transit. Passenger trains produce an average of 0.43 pound of carbon dioxide emissions per passenger-mile. However, America has two distinct types of train service: that in the Northeast Corridor (from Washington, DC, to Boston), which runs on electricity, and the rest of the Amtrak network, which operates on diesel. Northeast Corridor trains average 0.37 pound of CO2 emissions per passenger-mile while all other Amtrak trains average 0.45 pound—about 20 percent more.36 These emission rates are quite good compared with, say, a typical car with one passenger, which emits 1.08 pounds of CO2 per passenger-mile. Perhaps even more important, however, is the fact that a train often offers what amounts to a carbon “free ride,” as it is an underused travel mode in many areas of the country. (For more information, see Appendix A.)

Ride the Rails in the Northeast to Cut Carbon and Congestion Trips along the eastern seaboard between Washington, DC, and Boston are best made on rail. Some of the

nation’s busiest roads and airports are located in this region, from Logan Airport in Boston to New York City’s Kennedy and LaGuardia to Philadelphia Airport to Dulles outside Washington, DC. Congestion can mean that travel by car and plane gets plagued with delays. Many features of the Northeast rail corridor make it an ideal travel option. Not only does the region have an electric rail system, but the proximity of a number of major metropolitan areas—not to mention coastal areas—allows you to keep your travel distance down while tapping an enormous variety of vacation options. It’s a perfect example of merging travel mode and distance to curb your vacation carbon count.

See the Cities, Take the Train, Cut the Carbon The Northeast Corridor is not the only place to take a multicity vacation by rail. Indeed, even if you fly to a different region of the country, you may still have the opportunity to take rail to see multiple sites (Figure 13). California, for example, offers intriguing possibilities. With service to nearly 200 California cities (with the aid of connecting bus service), Amtrak can transform vacation travel in the Golden State. Instead of enduring

Figure 13. Amtrak’s U.S. Routes

Source: www.amtrak.com.

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Getting There Greener - Travel Report  

While the idea of "green" vacations has attracted recent attention, most information focuses on what to do when you get to your destination,...

Getting There Greener - Travel Report  

While the idea of "green" vacations has attracted recent attention, most information focuses on what to do when you get to your destination,...

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