The French rail system (SNCF) has added a calculator for travel carbon emissions, offering up the ability to compare prices and carbon loads for travel by rail, air, or personal vehicle. L’Ecocomparateur enables one to know how long the trip will take and the consequences: for the pocket and the climate for that trip. Will you be willing to take a few hours longer in travel to save $50? How about if that will also cut your travel emissions load by 200 lobs or more?
The trip, Toulouse-Paris, for example comes up with these figures:
Train: 57.90 Euros; 5 hours, 13 minutes; 9 kg CO2
Plane: 222.20 Euros; 1 hour, 30 minutes; 180 kg CO2
Car: 201.47 Euros; 6 hours, 46 minutes; 272 kg CO2
Time priority, this says take the plane. Money and carbon load: enjoy your train ride.
Now, the behind the scenes rule sets for the analysis are worth exploring. (See here for the methodology for calculating emissions.) The system actually has a bias against trains (and cars) because there is no calculating for the difficulties and hassles for traveling by plane. By experience, one can arrive at the Gare (train station) in Toulouse 2 minutes before the train and get on board (almost missed that one). The days of running through the airport like OJ Simpson, without a huge security line, are long gone. Add another hour to the flight simply for the security issues. In addition, the train leaves/arrives in center city and the car at the doorstep, the plane far out of town, requiring additional transport, additional time and money to get where you’re going. Thus, oddly, the SNCF has given some advantage to the planes.
Hat tip to AutoBlogGreen.